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AN APPRAISAL OF THE INFLUENCE OF INFORMAL GROUPS ON WORKERS PRODUCTIVITY IN NIGERIA PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

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AN APPRAISAL OF THE INFLUENCE OF INFORMAL GROUPS ON WORKERS PRODUCTIVITY IN NIGERIA PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

 

ABSTRACT

The title of this research project is “An Appraisal of the Influence of Informal Groups on Workers Productivity in Nigeria Public Sector Organisations: A case study of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozalla Enugu”.  The need for this research work arises as a result of the dynamics influence of the informal groups on the organizational productivity.  The researchers in conducting the research work developed four research questions for guide the study.  The researchers used both primary and secondary sources of data collection with structured questionnaire as the major instrument used.  The population for the study is 1223 staff of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozalla Enugu.  In order to reduce the figure to a researchable size, Yamani statistical formula was adopted to arrive at the sample size of 301.  After the collection of the distributed questionnaire 214 copies were used for the final analysis which was the good number of the instrument returned by the respondents.  The simple random sampling technique was used to select the same for the study, and the data collected were presented and analyzed with frequency, percentage and table.  The study revealed that the Management of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu recognize the informal groups to a high extent.  The study also revealed that the activities of the informal groups influence productivity of the organization to a very high extent.   Again the study identified the need for affiliation among the work members, to provide assistance to the group members, to achieve personal and group goals of the employees, to protect members against management, to promote communication among members, to check on authority or management on group basis and to fill accomplished and satisfied by themselves as some of the reasons for forming informal groups by the employees.  Also the study identified participation of management in the informal groups activities, and the involvement of the informal groups in decision making as the two major and effective ways of channeling the activities of the informal groups positively to organizational productivity.  Based on these findings, the researchers recommended that the public sector organizations in Nigeria should recognize the informal groups in their various organizations to a very high extent, through participative management.  The researchers recommended for proper monitoring of the informal groups activities by the management.   Again the researchers recommended that the management should encourage the workers to form the informal groups as it help to provide some motivational needs of the employees which otherwise would have been the function of management. And finally, the researchers recommended that management  participation in informal groups activities and the involvement of the informal groups in decision making remain the best measures to channel the informal groups activities to organizational productivity.

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Informal groups exist in almost every organization.  They are as real as the formal organization structure, but function independent of it.  With their own leaders, values and behaviours.  They can exhibit strong cohesion, and group members will assist and support each other. In return they expect loyalty to the group and its norms.  If they are not included, or do not endorse managements’ policies, they can work against the success of an initiative. Many well intentional, properly conceived reform or improvement has failed because the informal did not accept it.  If the groups perceive managements rules to be unfair, it may resist actively or passively, visibly or invisibly, and then devise clever ways to impose its own preferred norms.  For example, management may expect each workers to personally sign in and out daily. If informal group culture says that workers should cover for colleagues when one is late or leaves early, you will have difficulty enforcing this rule. Cole (2004:196), pointed out that these informal groups involve in conspiracies and atrocious practices and lead to hostility and vengeance which no resolution methods can easily identify and rectify as it mostly happens out of gossiping. Nwatu (2012:22), observed that these informal groups formulate an implicit code of ethics or an unspoken set of standards, establishing acceptable behaviour that is  against the organizations standards.  The informal groups may also have established norms below that set by the organization, exercising control its members regarding the amount of output. Informal groups have a powerful influence on the effectiveness of an organization and can even subvert its formal goals at times.  But the informal groups role is not limited just ton resistance.

The impact of the informal group upon the large organization depends on the norms that the informal group sets itself.  So the informal group can make the organization more effective at times. Informal groups can also be a force for goof, formal policies, procedures, and standards cannot alone keep a modern organization functioning smoothly, so informal systems help get the work done.  One communication manager was responsible for gathering and writing organizations best practices”, nit she had neither staff nor a formal process to collect these stones.  Her informal network of friends stepped up to provide the information she needed. Given all these, this research work on appraisal of the influence of informal groups on workers productivity in Nigeria public sector organizations.  A case study of University Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozala Enugu, is essential to understand the dynamics of informal groups and how to channel them positively.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Organizations face situations when their management teams do not meet the production standards without any apparent reason.  The staff is well trained, resources intact and expectations reasonable.  Then what prevent employees from performing up to the mark?  The most possible reason is informal group dynamics sabotaging the managements action plan. Informal groups device implicit set of rules, standards and ethics that regulate individual behaviours in that groups.  In simple terms, the embers make a tacit agreement regarding how they should behave.

These unspoken norms influence their approach to work and control the amount of output they produce.  They provide the impetus to counteract coercive directives and subvert the management goals.  Informal groups also create many other problems.  It may act as a barrier to organizational change.  Conflict may also arise between the members of the informal group and the management which may result in industrial disputes.  Sometimes, its members may experience a conflict due to the diverse roles they have to play as members of the organization work group and the informal group. Yet, management sometimes fail to recognize the activities of these informal groups to their own peril. In spite of its demerits, informal groups benefit the organization in many ways.  They help in the development of an effective organizational system and reduce the workload of managers.  Informal organizations also provide employees with an outlet to express their anxieties and problems, improve job satisfaction, and reduce employee turnover.  Yet management sometimes ignore them.  The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozalla Enugu is not an exception to this statement.

This study will therefore, focus attention on other questions of interest such as, to what extent has the management of  the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu been able to recognize the informal groups in the organisation?  To what extent do the informal group activities influence organization’s productivity?  And what are the reasons for forming informal groups by the employees? It become imperative or necessary to research and conduct on appraisal on the influence of informal groups to provide answers to these questions.

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