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This research titled “The effect of bureaucracy on employees productivities. A study of Enugu State water corporation” was carried out to determine the extent to which the management of Enugu water corporation had allowed employees to participate in decision making. The researcher also investigated the extent to which the hierarchical structure and set rules in Enugu State Water Corporation had enhanced employee’s productivity. The research was a survey research. The researcher sampled 346 staff of Enugu State Water Corporation. Questionnaire was the major instrument of data collection; out of 346 questionnaires that were distributed, 320 questionnaires were returned. Frequency table, simple percentage and chi-square formula were used in data analysis. The findings of the research revealed that the Management of Enugu Water Corporation had not allowed employees to participate in decision making and the strict hierarchical structure and set rules in Enugu Water Corporation had not enhanced employees productivity. Hence, the researcher recommended that the Enugu State Water Corporation should adopt democratic style of leadership as that would create an avenue through which employees and subordinates could be free to make suggestions that would contribute to the growth of the Corporation. Also, Enugu State Water Corporation should learn to delegate authority to subordinates as that would help them feel belonged and also put their best in performing their assigned roles.
1.1 Background of the Study
Bureaucracy is an administrative or social system that relies on a set of rules and procedures, separation of functions and a hierarchical structure in implementing controls over an organization, government or social system. Although some form of bureaucracy is necessary for large, efficiently run organizations, there is much debate over whether the theory is every manifested in practice. The point here is that bureaucracy brings about delay in decision making, does not allow for innovation and response to emergency situation. There by showing that, the manner in which an organizational structure is set up and administered can have a direct effect on company productivity.
Hence, it can be said that, employees’ participation in decision making and in the administration of an organization promotes employees productivity. Strict application bureaucratic principles brings about delay in service delivery, under exploration of employees’ talents, expertise and intellectual abilities. Thus, Igweobi (2009) stated that, the solid foundation of any successful company is its people. Employees represent a source of knowledge and idea, but oftentimes that resource remains untapped. Involving employees in the managerial, administrative process and decision-making processes not only empower them to contribute to the success of an organization, but also saves the company time and money, increase productivity and reduce outsourcing. Also, Oduma (2006) stated that, the increase in responsibility expands employee skill sets, preparing them for additional responsibility in the future. Employees participation in decision-making process irrespective of their rank in an organization leads to job satisfaction, employees commitment and increase rate of circulation of information that can lead to the realization of the corporate objectives of an organization.
Observably however, some administrators and managers of some organizations believe so much in the strict application of bureaucratic principles that they do not allow employees and subordinates to participate in decision making processes and in the day-to-day administration and management of the organization. Some of them hold the erroneous believe that allowing employees to carryout certain job responsibility will make them understand the secretes of the organisation and which might result in the subordinate taking over their position from them. Again, Umeogu (2010) observed that, this kind of situation is mostly observed in government parastatals and public enterprises, where directors and managers are so stringent with performance evaluation, appraisal and monitoring process that, to them allowing employees to participate in the decision making process might weaken their authority to control the employees. But, on the average, the impact of employees’ participation in decision making process on employee performance and productivity is so immeasurable and invaluable to the growth of any organization.
Enugu State water corporation is one of the state government parastatals that provides public utility, essentially water to the inhabitants of Enugu State. According to the hierarchy of authority in the corporation, there must be director of the corporation, administrative staff, executive staff, clerical staff, messengerial staff etc. Hence, the extent the corporation supplies water to the public effectively and efficiently could be dependent on the extent to which the director and other key managers in the corporation relate or communicate with other employees in terms of decision making, assignment of responsibilities, roles and in the general administration of the corporation. Hence, in this research, effort would be made to investigate the extent to which bureaucracy affects employees productivity in Enugu State water corporation.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The spread of democratic value to virtually every society today has brought the need to examine the implications of this trend to other spheres of life. With respect to business and economic sector, employees are faced with the dilemma of how to cope with authoritative management in the work places while living in a democratic society which guarantee basic fundamental freedom. In addition, the denial of workers active involvement in decision making is held to be one of the major causes of the problems which are manifested daily in the work lives of the modern employees. According to Anyanwu (2010), the refusal of work organizations to recognize the human factor in industrial production through greater involvement of employees in its managerial processes, administration and decision making tend to create several human problems in this setting. Bureaucratic structures can discourage creativity and innovation throughout the organization. No matter how ingenious a business owner is, it is virtually impossible for a single individual to generate the range of strategic ideas possible in a large, interdisciplinary group. Another implication of bureaucracy is that front line employees may receive less satisfaction from their jobs in the rigidly bureaucratic organization.
Again, directors of government parastatals like Enugu State water corporation tend to demonstrate through their actions that allowing employees to participate in decision making process might weaken the authority of the management in controlling, evaluating, appraisal and monitoring employees performance. But they fail to realize that, not allowing employees to participate in the decision making process can educe the level of employee productivity. This is because, a worker is a social being who brings his personality, hopes, aspirations, anxieties, feelings and attitude to the work place. When he finds that his work does not provide him with the opportunity to realize his potentials, he tends to engage in negative behaviours like absenteeism, apathy, low commitment and low productivity.
The following questions were posed by the researcher:
i. To what extent has the management of Enugu water corporation allowed employees to participate in decision making?
ii. To What degree has the hierarchical structure and set rules in Enugu water corporation enhanced employees’ productivity?
iii. To what extent has the management of Enugu water corporation made effective use of employee participation in decision making to enhance organizational growth?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to ascertain the effects of bureaucracy on employees’ productivity in Enugu water corporation. Specific objectives include:
(i) To determine the extent to which the management of Enugu water corporation has allowed employees to participation in decision making.
(ii) To find whether the hierarchical structure and set rules in Enugu water corporation have enhanced employees’ productivity.
(iii) To investigate the extent to which the management of Enugu water corporation has made effective use of employee participation in decision making to enhance organizational growth.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
The following are the research hypotheses of this study”
Ho – The management of Enugu water corporation has not allowed employees to participate in decision making.
Hi – The management of Enugu water corporation has allowed employees to participate in decision making.
Ho - The hierarchical structure and set rules in Enugu water corporation have not enhanced employees’ productivity.
Hi - The hierarchical structure and set rules in Enugu water cooperation have enhanced employees productivity.
Ho – The management of Enugu water corporation has not made effective use of employee participation in decision making to enhance organizational growth.
Hi – The management of Enugu water corporation has made effective use of employee participation in decision making to enhance organizational growth.
1.5 Theoretical Framework
The research employs the human relations theory of management. The human relations theory is a school of management theory stressing the importance of understanding human motivation in the work place. According to Thompson (2004), the human relations school believes that employee motivation is a result of recognition, encouragement and rewarding of individual contributions. Its advocates were F.J. Roethlisberge, W.E. Moore and E. Mayo in the USA and G. Friedmann in France. Human relations theory developed as a response to Taylorism. Rejecting the biological and mechanistic approaches to F.W. Taylor’s “scientific management”. The Human relations theory prosed the implementation of methods of dealing with workers as socio-psychological beings. Robbins (2005) succinctly explain the human relations theory in his following words.
The theory believes in the human aspect of a business and how to utilize humans as a valuable resource. Without people, your business would not exist, so consider restructuring your organization with a focus on employee relations. Spend time and money to invest in developing employees and see higher productivity and more success within your organization.
Also, Zhao (1997) identified the believes of the human relations theorists to include:
i. Workers are human beings, so they must be treated like human beings and not like machines. Managers should try to understand the feelings and emotions of the workers.
ii. An organization works not only through formal relations but also through informal relations. Therefore, managers should encourage informal relations in the organization along with formal relations.
iii. Workers want good communication from managers. Therefore, managers should communicate effectively with employees without feeling of ego and superiority complex.
This theory is most suitable to the topic of this research because, a stringent application and practice of bureaucratic principles in an organization might be scaring for employees. It might prevent them from bringing out their hidden talents, potentials and expertise which will improve their productivity. Hence, if the management and Director of Enugu State Water Cooperation will adopt the human relations theory of management, employees of the corporation will be motivated to work thereby increasing their productivity and organizational growth.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This research will be significant or beneficial in the following ways:
The research will serve as a source of reference for further studies, especially for undergraduate students in public administration and other related discipline.
The research will make recommendations that will help to promote the productivity of Enugu state water corporation and other similar parastatals.
The research will serve as both educative and entertaining material to members of the general public and those in the academic world.
The research will contribute further to what scholars have written on the concept of bureaucracy, employee productivity and impact of bureaucracy on employee productivity.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research is focussed on the study of the impact of bureaucracy on Employees productivity in Enugu State water corporation.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
Some factors pose limitations to the completion of the research. They include:
(i) Financial constraint: The researcher faced challenges in raising the fund required for sourcing both the primary secondary data and information needed for the completion of the research.
(ii) Distance: Shuttling from Abakaliki to Enugu state to gather facts from Enugu State water corporation was very stressful, time consuming and capital intensive.
Respondents’ Disposition: Some of the respondents were reluctant to give out information about Enugu water corporation without being give some gratifications and this was also very challenging.
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