1.1 Background of the Study:
Human Resource Management (HRM) is topical in every discourse which aims at understanding how best to motivate and secure employees’ commitment. This is because effective human resource management practices are indispensable to the growth and continuity of any organisation. They could also lead to the achievement of employees’ commitment in carrying out assigned tasks, retention of committed and talented employees, and the provocation of organisational citizenship behavior (Bernard 1934, Katz and Kahn 1978). Ajuogu (1995) describes human resource management practices as the embodiment of many components such as realistic job information, job analysis, career development, supervisor-support compensation etc. As rightly stated by Hodgett (1982) anytime, everywhere, employees are the most important resources of business. In fact, the success or failure of business is determined largely by how well employees do their work and how well their work is coordinated with other jobs. One of the main tasks of many business operators and company owners is to help their workers to be committed to their work (Babura, 2003).
An important goal of HRM is to motivate employees and enhance commitment as a means of improving performance and retaining talented people in an organisation, thereby enhancing employee’s discretionary behaviour (Purcell et al. 2003). Discretionary behaviour refers to the choices that people often make about the way they do the job and the amount of effort, care, innovation and productive behaviour they display. Employees who show positive discretionary behaviour are usually highly valued by their organisations. It is, therefore, the responsibility of management to encourage and retain such employees through motivation. This is necessary because when an employee quits an organisation, he leaves with some valuable organisations’ business portfolios. Besides, organisations incur extra cost in recruiting, training and maintaining a new staff.
For organisations to survive in very competitive business environments, they need to design effective human resource management (HRM) practices that encourage a high performance from employees. Researchers have linked various human resource management practices to employee commitment (Batt and Valcour, 2003; Pfeffer and Veiga 1999; Mowday, 1998; Dessler, 1999; Benkhoff, 1997). But, there seems to be a gap on the empirical knowledge available on the link between HRM practices and employees’ commitment in Nigeria, especially in Akwa Ibom State (AKS) Civil Service. This study was designed to investigate that gap.
1.2 Statement of the Problem:
Human Resource Management (HRM) practices are viewed as investments in human capital development that could enhance the employees’ commitment. Shahnawaz and Juyal, (2006), regard commitment as an immediate and, perhaps, the most critical outcome of human resource strategy. In their model, employees’ commitment is seen as the key factor in achieving competitive performance. For Hendry, (1995), commitment means the enhancement of the individual and his/her skills, and not just what it can deliver to the organization. Allen and Meyer (1990) defined it as a psychological state that binds the individual to the organisation. Thus, researchers and scholars have maintained that in order to achieve the above orientations, management must pay attention to employees’ commitment, because it is the foundation of organisational behaviour (Mowday, 1998; Organ and Ryan 1995; and Meyer and Allen, 1984).
Studies have found positive associations between facets of organisational commitment and different discretionary and extra role behaviour (Meyer and Herscoviteh, 2001), including organisational citizenship behaviour (Organ and Ryan, 1995). Work-family policies, for example, have been identified as having a positive association with organisational commitment of employees (Cappelh and Rogovsky, 1998; Allen and Push 1998; Tremblay et al 1998). Compensation has been found to be positively correlated with organisational citizenship behaviour and commitment (Park et al, 1994; Abassi and Hollman, 2000; Trevor et al, 1997). Lack of career development has been found to significantly affect organisational commitment of employees (Miller and Wheeler, 1992), while job analysis has been found to be significantly correlated with organisational commitment of employees (Hoon et al, 2000). Realistic job information has also been found by Pitt and Rausesham (1995) to be associated with organisational commitment, while Firth et al. (2004) found emotional support from supervisors and self esteem as mediating the impact of stressors on stress reactions, job satisfaction, commitment to the organisation and organisational citizenship behaviour.
However, employees’ commitment has been a challenge in the Nigerian Civil Service. Civil Servants are often described as exhibiting a care-free work attitude characterized by low productivity, poor dedication, laziness, absenteeism, lateness, negligence and outright inefficiency (Babura 2003). These negative work behaviours were observed in spite of the established HRM practices.
Therefore, much as relationships between HRM practices and employees’ commitment (EC) have been identified by researchers in different parts of the world, no such relationship has been examined in Akwa Ibom State Civil Service. This study, therefore, sought to know the associations between HRM practices and the employees’ commitment with a view to ascertaining the applicability of these associations in AKS Civil Service.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study was to examine the relationships between selected HRM practices and the employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service. The specific objectives include to;
(1) determine the relationship between realistic job information and employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service;
(2) assess the relationship between job analysis and employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service;
(3) investigate the relationship between career development and employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service;
(4) establish the relationship between supervisor-support and employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service;
(5) assess the relationship between compensation and employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service; and
(6) determine the joint effect of realistic job information, job analysis, career development, supervisor-support, and compensation on the employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service.
1.4 Research Questions:
This study sought answers to the following research questions:
(i) is realistic job information significantly correlated with employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service?
(ii) to what extent is job analysis associated with the employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service?
(iii) does career development correlate with employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service?
(iv) to what extent is supervisor-support related to employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service?
(v) is there any influence of compensation on employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service?
(vi) is there any significant joint influence of realistic job information, job analysis, career development, supervisor support and compensation on the level of employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service?
1.5 Research Hypotheses:
In this study, the following null hypotheses were formulated:
(a) Ho1: Realistic job information is not significantly correlated with employees’ commitment in Akwa Ibom State (AKS) Civil Service.
(b) Ho2: Job analysis is not significantly associated with employees’ commitment in Akwa Ibom State (AKS) Civil Service.
(c) Ho3: Career development is not significantly correlated with employees’ commitment in Akwa Ibom State (AKS) Civil Service.
(d) Ho4: Supervisor-support is not significantly related to employees’ commitment in Akwa Ibom State (AKS) Civil Service.
(e) Ho5: Compensation does not significantly influence employees’ commitment in Akwa Ibom State (AKS) Civil Service.
(f) Ho6: There is no significant joint influence of HRM practices (such as realistic job information, job analysis, career development, supervisor support and compensation) on employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service.
1.6 Significance of the Study:
The outcome of this research would help to identify those human resource management practices that can enhance commitment among the employees in AKS Civil Service. It would also help Human Resource managers to effectively strategize for enhanced employee commitment in their different fields of endeavour. Moreover, the findings can help in creating curiosity among researchers for further inquiry into this aspect of management.
1.7 Scope of the Study:
This study was restricted to an examining the relationships between selected HRM practices and employees’ commitment in AKS Civil Service. Only previously tested HRM practices such as realistic job information, job analysis, career development, supervisor support and compensation were included in the study.