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1.1Background of Study

In every business organization, the performance of the employees is important in achieving organizational goals. The success of every business organization can therefore be attributed to performance appraisal. Performance appraisal is one of the basic tools that make workers to be very effective and active at work. A critical look out on this may bring about the need for motivation, allowances, development, training and good human relationship in an organization.

The output of every organization depends on how well and how much the performance of the employee is appraised and evaluated. Productivity can therefore be defined as “quality or volume of the major product or services that an organization provides”. In short, productivity is what comes out of production. Managers of every business organization are charged with the responsibility to motivate their employees to achieve organizational goals. The efficiency and effectiveness of any work place whether the private or the private sector, largely depend on the caliber of the workforce. The availability of competent and effective labour force does not just happen by chance or accident but through an articulated recruitment exercise (Peretomode and Peretomode, 2001) and performance appraisal.

The whole essence of the management activities of an organization culminates into the system of performance appraisal adopted in that organization. This, in turn, reflects the extent of the individual contributions and commitment of the employees in different hierarchical levels toward the achievement of organizational objectives. It goes without saying that an effective performance appraisal system can lead an organization to take strides towards success and growth by leaps and bounds. Conversely, an ineffective performance appraisal system can seal the fate of an organization by creating chaos and confusion from top to bottom in the administrative hierarchy. As a consequence the chances of success and growth of that organization are doomed.

The Nigerian economy has been plunged into a state of economic decline since the early 1980’s, following the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), by Babangida’s Administration. Since then, productivity improvement has become a major challenge facing all work and business organizations and the Nigerian economy as whole. It has therefore become imperative for government and all stakeholders to evolve adequate measures that would improve productivity in Nigeria. It is on account of this, that most, if not all of the past leaders, have tried in one way or the other to carry out at least one reform measure in the private sector in order to enhance employee performance and productivity.

The nonchalant attitudes of private sector workers towards their duties and responsibilities have become a matter of great concern to the government at all levels and other well meaning Nigerians. There has been a persistent private outcry in the mass media indicting private sector employees for their negative attitude to work which has lead to low productivity and declining revenue.

Igbokwe-Ibeto (2011) observed that “people do not take their work seriously in many instances because people do not like what they are doing”. This nonchalant attitude to work is independent of geo-political zones, rural-urban residence, religious affiliation, sex or age. This opinion if properly examined suggest that in many cases, they see themselves as birds of passage, such notion and feeling is even worsened by the fact that performance appraisal and productivity management is not taken serious in most organizations.

A segment of Nigerian scholars such as, Okoro (2003), Oko (2004) and Arhuidese (2006)well tutored in Nigerian history have traced the genesis of the negative attitude to work prevalent among Nigerian to the event of colonial era. They argued that during the struggle and fight against colonialism, many nationalist using various approaches and strategies tended to give the impression that government as an institution and its agencies should be impoverished and vandalized. The private sector for example, was seen as a “white man’s job” and anything done to frustrate its operations is well intended. The notion, they argued have spread into all spheres of work in the present day Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

For a research work to get underway, some difficulties must be felt in a practical and theoretical situation. In other words, there must be a felt difficulty succeeded by efforts to find solutions to the problem. Efficiency and effectiveness in the Nigerian private sector has been a subject of controversy and debate by all and sundry. Inefficiency, ineffectiveness, red-tapism and low productivity are all common features of private sector. It is in line with this that Umo (2003), after examining the attitude to work of Nigerians concluded that Nigeria’s ambition for rapid industrialization, economic prosperity, social and political stability will singularly and collectively be frustrated if the current poor work attitude of Nigerian private sector is not urgently and positively improved”. The above opinion if properly analyzed, shows that improved or positive attitude to work in the Nigerian is an antidote for industrialization and economic stability and development in Nigeria. Performance appraisal as an important human resource (HR) strategy for achieving better employee performance and productivity is hardly taken serious by many organizations’ and most especially the Nigerian private sector. In fact, private sectors Managers see performance appraisal as a ritual and an academic exercise.

This prevailing anomaly in the private sector has provoked a series of studies geared towards ameliorating the ugly situation which scholars have attributed to the familiar challenges of the Nigerian federation. These problems according to Mukoro (2005) citing Fajemirokun, Briggs (2007) Igbokwe-Ibeto (2011), and Tonwe and Oghator (2009) comprises ethnicity, religious strife, corruption, colonial history, governance/leadership style, the military involvement in politics, dishonest performance appraisal and federal character principles. A number of reasons have been identified as being responsible for this ugly situation and a number of solutions have also been suggested, but the problem remained endemic and persistent in the Nigerian private sector. Their performances are still below expectation, their productivity is far below average, efficiency and effectiveness is virtually nil.

This study therefore, aims to further interrogate this catalogue of problems by having a look at performance appraisal in the Nigerian private sector so as to determine its effectiveness or otherwise using the First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Enugu Zonal office as a case study.

1.3Objectives of Study

The main objective of this study is to determine the extent to which performance appraisal can enhance employee performance and productivity. Other specific objectives include:

1.                  To examine the extent to which private sector managers utilize performance appraisal strategies to improve employees’ performance and productivity.

2.                  To examine whether there is a relationship between performance appraisal and employees productivity in the Nigerian private sector.

3.                  To determine how individuals objectives and corporate objectives can be integrated to achieve better employee performance and productivity enhancement in  First bank of Nigeria.

4.                  To determine the extent to which organisational climate can influence workers behaviour towards better performance or otherwise.

5.                  To suggest on how to overcome identified problems in the system, thereby proffering strategies for performance appraisal to become more effective and efficient while embarking on performance appraisal excise.

1.4Research Questions

To investigate the problem of performance appraisal in Nigerian private sector, effort will be made to beam our search light on the following research questions.

1.                  Do private sector managers use performance appraisal in improving workers performance and productivity?

2.                  Is there any relationship between performance appraisal and employees’ performance and productivity in Nigerian private sector?

3.                  Is there any correlation between performance appraisal and attitude to work by employees of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN)?

4.                  Can organisational climate influence workers satisfaction, performance and productivity?

1.5Research Hypotheses

This study is geared towards testing the following four tentative statements or research hypotheses for the purpose of this research.

1.                  Organizational productivity is not dependent on effective performance appraisal.

2.                  2. There is no correlation between performance appraisal and attitude to work by employees.

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