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1.1 Background to the Study
Cooperatives, as economic enterprises and as self-help organizations, play a meaningful role in uplifting the socio-economic conditions of their members and their local communities. Over the years, cooperative enterprises have successfully operated as locally owned people-centred businesses while also serving as catalysts for social organization and cohesion (Birchall, 2003). With their concern for their members and communities, they represent a model of economic enterprise that places high regard for democratic and human values, employee empowerment and respect for the environment.
As the world today faces unstable financial systems, increased insecurity of food supply, growing inequality worldwide, rapid climate change and increased environmental degradation, it is increasingly compelling to consider the effects of corporate leadership on employee empowerment .The cooperative sector, especially in developing countries, also presents itself as an important element that can contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals ( Urutyan, 2012).
Cooperative in the form of credit unions, building societies and cooperative banks, by focusing primarily on the needs of their members, have displayed prudence and avoided the excessive risk-taking that plagued many large global financial institutions (Smith and Ross ,2006).
Cooperatives can contribute to the achievement of the MDGs by because of their inherent characteristics. This is because cooperatives are economic associations, they provide the opportunity for poor people to raise their incomes. Also, they are democratic , each member having one vote and they empower people as well as pool risks at the level of the enterprise and offer micro-insurance they increase security (Birchall, 2003).
In addition, there is increasing evidence indicating that cooperative societies also contribute directly and indirectly to meeting several of the other MDGs , such as primary education for children, gender equality and reducing child mortality. The cooperative enterprise also presents an important model as many of the world’s poorest and disadvantaged face social exclusion, lack of access to opportunities and growing economic inequality(Smith and Ross ,2006).
Credit cooperatives also play an important role in the formation of small and micro businesses. They can affect the kind of financial ‘deepening’ that the World Bank envisages, as they consistently reach the poor in a sustainable way (Smith and Ross ,2006).
The word “empowerment” is one of those terms that a lot of people use in so many different ways that it has almost ceased to have meaning. “Empowerment” generically means to give power to someone. Specifically in the context of corporate, business or institutions, it is one of the basic functions of management. A CEO or a Chancellor is ultimately responsible for the efficient and effective functioning of their organization, but in a larger organization that individual can only do so much and has to rely on others to do their jobs too (Ongori, 2009) .
Empowerment is really only the first and most basic requirement. Other emotions associated with working, such as morale or engagement, have to be built on actually being able to do the job. However, it is management’s responsibility to provide certain things to an individual before they can really expect that they will be able to do their job.
Empowerment in the workplace is an often-misunderstood concept. Employee empowerment is a term that many managers and organizations think they understand, but few actually do, and even fewer really put into practice(Chand,2003).
Many managers feel that by empowering employees, they relinquish the responsibility to lead and control the organization. This is not the case. Empowerment is actually a culmination of many of the ideas and tenets of employee satisfaction that are discussed and analyzed frequently in a variety of books and periodicals focused on the subject.
For a corporate organization to practice and foster employee empowerment, the management must trust and communicate with employees. Employee communication is one of the strongest signs of employee empowerment in an organization. Corporate organization management must be willing to communicate every aspect of the business to its employees in an open and honest manner. This communication may include: elements of the strategic plan, financial performance, key performance indicators and daily-decision making (Baird and Wang, 2010).
Effective employee empowerment not only has positive implications for employee satisfaction, but also many other organizational facets, such as member service and member retention (Ongori, 2009).
Empowering employee’s leads to organizational encouragement of entrepreneurial traits and prompts employees to make decisions, take action, and foster their belief that they can take control of their own destinies. This belief leads to self-motivation and a sense of independence that is translated into greater loyalty and extra effort for the organization. Empowered employees come to believe that they control their own success through their efforts and hard work, which in turn benefits the success of the entire institution.
The most important factor in effective employee empowerment is bilateral communication. Employee surveys and evaluations show repeatedly that empowerment and communication rate highest in regard to employee satisfaction in an organization. Companies or organizations committed to employee empowerment provide more information in greater detail than the average company (Chand,2003).
Empowering employees to increase their satisfaction and the organization’s performance will require a greater amount of communication than ever thought possible. This will require management to invest in increased amounts of time communicating to employees and allowing for feedback. In addition, it will require that management honestly evaluate the communication styles and methods that are being used in the institution to ensure the most efficient processes possible (Baird and Wang, 2010).
Communicating and sharing information accomplishes several objectives that are not only important for the empowerment process or employee satisfaction with the organization but also for overall effective corporate leadership performance.
Leadership is a subject that has long excited interest among scholars and managers of men and resources. The term Leadership connotes images of powerful dynamic persons who command victorious grieves, direct corporate empires from top gleaming skyscraper of shape the course of nation (Yukul 2001). Interest in this subject existed as long as people have been studying human behaviour. In fact leadership behavior arises where two or more persons gather for political, economic, social or religious purpose.
Mekeaghar (2007) attested that leadership is not the giving of
direct, rather it is the facilitation of directedness, it is an activity of a group which cannot actually be separated from the dynamic interaction of the communal process of envisioning. As such, leadership entails responsibility of self and others, not only in the identified leader but also in each member of the group within which leadership implies not only the interrelatedness of persons but also their common direction. In actual fact, leadership is more than power or authority, it actually implies some degree of voluntary compliance by followers ( Mekeaghar ,2007).
Peters (2001) stressed that in administration of Organization activities today’s business, leadership is a subject of profound importance and of critical relevance to our day to day activities. The success or failure of enterprises, the ability to support families (and employee families), and a sense of self-worth and achievement, all have direct links to the performance of corporate leaders. Leader decisions change companies and lives because leadership is both the adhesive that binds a work group together and the catalyst for employee motivations (Peters, 2001).
The organization that exists today is dramatically different from that which hitherto, existed or which will exist in the future, because technology, the customs have all changed and will continue to change. Today, the market place is global, the customs are more demanding, the capabilities to communicate, especially via the Internet, is growing exponentially. Besides, employees are even withholding their allegiance until incorporated into the decision making process.
Leaders recognize that while the fundamental principles by which they do business in changing rapidly (Ferris,2006). Today, job requires more thinking, more customers services, more initiative and more skills application, physical labour is obviously less required. It is a completely different world requiring different leadership techniques. The leadership as the eyes, ears, heart and soul of the organization constantly scans the emerging changes in the world and redefines the business in order to increase its viability overtime.
The approach of leaders is simply a matter of personal style. Some are autocratic, or democratic and many offer a combination of styles. They always like to do anything they want at any time without consulting anybody while some are democratic, in the sense that they will do anything. Many offer a combination of styles. Most successful corporate leaders adopt the approach that meets the needs of the organization and business structure at hand. At times, the approaches has do overlap. Some select a dominant approach, using it as the compass and ruler that direct all corporate decisions and activities (Farkas and Wetluafer, 2006).
Fem’s (2007) is of the view that corporate organization in the past had the top three or four executives,who make all the decision and then supervised the implementation process. But in today’s turbulent world, it is impossible to control from the top. It is unreasonable even to try. This is because today’s administrative processes is highly competitive. The way to survive is to reshape to the need of the rapidly changing world. If a company does not meet the needs of its competitors with organizations are reshaping themselves to change quickly in order to meet the needs of their customers.
Organizations leaders know they cannot throw many act every problem; the needs highly committed and flexible workers. Peters(2001)maintain that despite the acceleration technology/authoritative revolution, our organization must become more dependent on people who are responsible for the companies, success than ever before, especially with the front line staff with customers. He emphasizes that this go way beyond, “the people are our greatest asset” statement that appeared in the mission statement in the seventies and eighties. The essence behind today’s deep roofed belief is that in today’s world, technologies and production come and go.
Natural resources throughout the planet and commercial power continues to shift from manufacturing to services, therefore the employee plays a vital role in the organizational success. He insists that, there is no limit to what the average person can accomplish if well trained, well supported and well paid for primary source of volume added not a factor of production to be optimized, minimized and/or eliminated.
As we are in the 21st century leaders will have to be highly flexible and have a broad range of skills. In order to lead and keep good people, leaders must be articulated, energetic and empowering, modern thinking about power is that more power is gained by empowering others.
Successful empowerment will typical require feedback on performance form a variety of sources, an environment that is leant of mistakes, widely distributed information, that is to learnt of mistakes widely distributed information, generalist managers and employees, flat structures and less bureaucracy. In the service industry, managers describe their primary sources of competitive advantages as being the people. As such people are the single most important asset. Only a system of distributed decision making can provide flexibility and motivation for people to maintain peak performance levels.
Nigeria Union of Teachers is a major trade union in Nigeria. It was formed to create a united front for practitioners of the teaching profession in the country. Major objectives of the union covers the improvement in economic conditions of teachers, an avenue for bringing forth ideas about the educational development of the country from the perspectives of teachers and general economic security for teachers in the country. The union was formally inaugurated in 1931, it came about partly as a result of vulnerabilities exposed by the great depression, which led to cuts in teachers salaries and a seemingly lack job security.
The use of irregular and unpredictable educational codes for teachers and salary cuts led to an increase in teachers associations mushrooming in various southern Nigerian cities, particularly in Calabar, Lagos, and Abeokuta,Ondo e.t.c. The various associations, however, realized that harmonizing the objectives of the groups to bring about a united front will create a powerful vocal union for the interest of the teachers
The Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) being one of the foremost sectors in the services industry was selected for the study. The roles of Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society in the macro-economic policies of a nation especially the employee empowerment cannot be over emphasized. Cooperative society have been selected for this study because of their capital formation role through financial intermediation. The Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society was selected for this study based on structures, age and size. The study is to assess the leadership styles adopted in the NUT cooperative society and the relationship between leadership style and corporate performances, to determine whether the employees are empowered or not and the correlation between employee empowerment and employee performance. It is also aimed at determining the relationship that exists between employee improvement, leadership style and organizational performance and the overall impact on the stakeholders. This research work therefore will analyze the effects of corporate leadership on employee empowerment using NUT cooperative society, Akure as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In organizations administration today, performance depends on corporate governance, which in turn depends on employees, who are considered as the most important asset. Proponents of employee empowerment believe that it will result in optimal organizational performance while others believe it is a noble cause but are lost on the empowerment ethics. This becomes a serious problem as most corporate leaders in a dilemma on whether or not to embrace empowerment and if they do, how do they manage the empowerment mechanics. As this problem persists, the organization may be under utilizing the workforce, losing monetarily and by extension making the society worse off.
Therefore this research work analyzed the effects of corporate leadership on employee empowerment by using NUT cooperative society, Akure, as a case study.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are as follows:
i) To determine the governance style relevant in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society, Akure ,Ondo state.
ii) To determine the relationship between leadership style, and employee performance in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society, Akure ,Ondo state.
iii) To determine whether the employee is actually empowered in cooperative societies
iv) To determine the relationship between employee empowerment and organizational performances in cooperative societies
1.4 Research Questions
The research work provided answers to the following questions.
(i) What is the dominant/prevalent governance style in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society, Akure, Ondo state?
(ii) To what extent is the effect of employee empowerment on the employee performance and the overall organizational performance in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society, Akure, Ondo state?
(iii) Are employees truly empowered in NUT cooperative societies?
(iv) To what extent is there a relationship between the employee empowerment and organizational performance?
1.5 Statement of Hypothesis
Here, Hi and Ho below represent the alternative hypothesis and null hypothesis respectively.
Hi: There is a relationship between the employee empowerment and organizational performance in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society, Akure, Ondo state.
Ho: There is no relationship between the employee empowerment and organizational performances in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society, Akure, Ondo state.
Hi: The employee are truly empowered in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society , Akure, Ondo state.
Ho: The employees are not truly empowered in Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative, Akure, Ondo state.
1.6 Scope of Study
The study is limited to only Nigeria Union of teachers (NUT) cooperative society, Akure south Local Government area , Ondo state which comprises of a total number of 365 members .The study intends to covers as many effects of governance style and employee empowerment as possible as it affects organizational performance.
1.7 Limitation of Study
Omission and misinterpretation by the employee of the cooperative society as a result of lack of proper understanding of the questions asked, forgetfulness or deliberate misinterpretation reduced the degree of accuracy of the research work.
The problem of insufficient data as a result of an availability of information from the required source also posed a challenge to this study..
1.8 Significance of the Study
In effects the study is relevant to the extent that it identifies the effects of leadership styles and employee empowerment on organizational performance.
This study is very important in several respects. Firstly, there is opportunity for the management of organizations to benefit from this study. This is because leadership styles and employee empowerment has become a regular and frequent feature of corporate organizations. By investigating the effects of leadership styles and employee empowerment the study reveals how the effective leadership skills and how employee can best be empowered.
Secondly the study is also beneficial to government. As leadership styles and employee empowerment occur at organizational level so do they occur in the public sector level .The findings of this study will be very useful to the government in formulating effective strategies for employee empowerment in the public sector.
Thirdly, the study is also important to employees in both the private and public sector organizations. This is because it will show how their intra and interrelationships can leads to their empowerment.
Fourthly, union leaders also benefit from the study. This is because the findings will show how they can use their positions in helping to ensure sustained harmony in corporate organizations.
The cooperative society have to take advantage of effective leadership style and employee, empowerment to remain competitive and render the best service to their members. It will also prepare, the NUT cooperative society for the greater tasks ahead to satisfy members and beat competitors.
Finally, the study is useful for academic purpose. This is because, the knowledge of this study gives students the opportunity to carry out related studies by using this project report as a reference material.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Corporate: relating or belonging to a corporation
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