1.1 Background of the Study
Labour management which is a subject area in the curriculum of industrial relations and areas of practice in vocational education in the business world was born in North America in the late 1910s and 1920s. In the beginning, a plethora of names were used to describe this subject area. Names that were commonly encountered include employment management, labour management, personnel management, personnel administration, labour relations and industrial relations.
Traditionally, labour management was considered as a relationship between employees and employers, but in recent times, this has become a burning issue consisting of the relationship between workers, employers and social environment of the organisation. It is a dynamic social process that makes a social dialogue possible among employees, employers and the organisational social environment.
David (1997) opines that labour management include aspects of industrial life such as collective bargaining, trades unionism, discipline and grievance handling. Industrial disputes, employee participation in management and the interpretation of labour management relations which aims at reaching an agreement for all employees and workers in a given company or work place. Usually, it focuses on issues such as wages, working hours, promotions, benefits, allowances, conflict management, health and safety of employees and other terms. Labour management aims to protect the interests of labour and management. It targets the highest level of mutual understanding among all sections in the industry which take part in the production process. It seeks to prevent industrial conflict and works for harmonious relations, a key factor progress. The objectives of labour management variables are: increased productivity, enhanced worker efficiency, elimination or reduction of the number of strikes or lockouts by provision of reasonable wages, improving healthy living and safe working environment through the provision of basic amenities to the workers.
According to Nel, Gerber, VanDyk, Haasbroek, Schuhz, Sono and Wemer, (2004) employers have various expectations within the workplace, and for organisation to address and meet these expectations a thorough understanding of the variables that motivates workers is needed. Labour management variables play important roles in achieving goals or the objectives of the academic institutions in Nigeria through ensuring that the Business education teachers are in place with respect to organisational influences.
Aliyu (1998) asserted that business education teachers can be found in post-primary, tertiary or professional educational institutions. Anyanduba (1987) stated that business education is education for business and about business; while Ulinfun in Aliyu (1998) postulated that it is the education for business or training in business skills, which is required for use in business office and clerical occupation, and business policy analysis. Aina (1986) defined business education as the total knowledge skills and attitudes that are required for successfully promoting and administering a business enterprise.
In furtherance of the objectives of business education in equipping its recipients with an all round education to possessing appropriate skill, knowledge and making them self-reliant, the person responsible for these endowments is the business educator (Olusola 2002). The business educator, therefore, can be said to be that person or teacher who equips his students with the necessary talents to succeed in the world of business: cognitive, effective and psychomotor skills inclusive. Business education teachers involves teachers that train students the fundamental, theories and processes of business and management courses in all levels of academics for self-reliance and employment creation.
Many factors affect the job performance and productivity of business education teachers. Among them are intrinsic and extrinsic levels of job satisfaction, and it is only a satisfied worker that can be productive and committed to his job. Babatunde (1992) believes that only satisfied teachers will be more stable and productive; and Agbunno (1994) asserted that job performance of teachers is the measure of how much the educator offered and has turned out people who are intellectually, morally, emotionally, attitudinally, culturally and above all functionally and relevantly equipped for useful living within the society.
George and Jones (2002), postulated that job performance may contribute to workers being satisfied with their job only if they are fairly rewarded for good performance. Perception maybe that workers’ motivation can be confused with their job performance and that both are distinct aspects of behaviour in an organisation. Ehiametalor (1990) indicated that the teaching profession has witnessed negative forces that tend to affect its image adversely. It must be emphasised that labour management variables, which are also motivational factors relating to staff job performance are problems bedevilling education and the teaching profession. Labour management variables are problems which are of nation-wide concern that affects all level of educational institutions and deserves national urgent attention.
The business education teachers in Abia State do not exist in isolation rather in a social system which has its own expectations and whenever these teachers perceive iniquity in their social exchange with their organisation (educational institution), negative behaviours could be exhibited, such as low productivity and performance. The relationship, therefore, between the administrators or employers of business education teachers need to be cordial, as it is a saying, that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. The students that are to be products of such institutions where there are problems with the labour relations due to poor payment of wages and other incentives that motivates teachers’ performance will suffer primarily and the society at large. Therefore, the principal concern of this study is to determine the relationship between the labour management variables and job performance of business education teachers in Abia State.
Yesufu (1982) noted that wage constitutes the kernel of the employment contract and therefore, is the basic element in industrial relations. To the employee the amount of the wage or salary determines not only the standard of living of himself and his family, but to a large extent, his social status also. Additional or fringe benefits, such as transportation allowance, leave allowance, Christmas bonus, etc., compare with basic pay, generally tend to rank low in the estimation of the employee, although they may occasionally generate heat or even storm. Apart from what one would expect to be the normal reaction of government as an employer in wages issues, the state is continuously concerned about wages trends because of their impact upon the national economy. Where the great majority of the labour forces are wage and salaried employees, as in Nigeria, even a small general increase in wages, which is not matched by a corresponding increase in productivity, could be inflationary and reduce the workers job performance and country’s competitive position in the world markets. No employee could work or offer his services for long at starvation of wages.
Inyang (2004) cited in Mckenna (2006) postulated that equitable reward and policy practices concerning fair pay are determinants of employees’ motivation that leads to higher job performance. Business education teachers’ job performance refer to effective functioning in teaching practices that are capable of generating the desired student’s performance outcomes and achievement of other institutional goals through systematic collection of evidence about lesson planning, instruction method, assessment method, attitude of the teachers and as well contribute to success of the general program accomplishment of the institution. Underlying these practices in our education is based on the ability of the management to provide a healthy working environment, it is said that a healthy worker is a happy worker and a happy worker is usually linked to productivity. Health issue could make or break the success of an organisation.
Udeze (2000) clearly stated that health in this instance is looked at as total physical and mental stability. He also noted that well organised healthy working environment program contributes to an efficient labour force by reducing absenteeism and labour turnover, therefore, it is only when management sincerely support the healthy working environment programme with sufficient time and interest, adequate appropriations of funds and facilities that the job performance of business education teachers will reach at least the peak. Having a good, sound working environment is integral to providing the workers with a sense of wellbeing and satisfaction about their workplace.
An undertaking or an industry which is prone to a high accident rate generally tends to be characterised by high labour turnover and instability, low productivity and consequently, high labour costs and reduced profitability. There will also be true of industries which are hazardous to health; this has always risen to industrial unrest.
In the words of Yesufu (1982), union leaders want the best for their members, good wages, healthy and safety conditions of work, more holidays. This is demanded because they know the employer (in this case a public corporation) is financially capable of providing for them. They have no intention of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. The better the conditions they give them, the more they shall be able to meet their organizations objectives.
It follows that however conceived; collective relations must somehow seek and strike situation on the one hand, and those of the worker and the employer on the other. Accordingly, the nature of these objectives both of the worker and the employer shall first be examined as a basis for the better analysis of the problems of personnel administration as well as the purposes. Forms of collective machinery that should best promote their mutual interests. Today, union collective bargaining goes beyond working condition and wage terms of employment, to include so many other issues concerned with equity and fairness as well as the social obligations of the employers, Hence, it is concerned with the overall relationship between labour and organised labour.
Breakdown in negotiation can also lead to industrial conflict, these and other factors can lead trade unions to declare a trade dispute or conflict with their employers. Robbins (2000) defines conflict as a process in which an effort is purposely made by A to offset the efforts by B by some form of blocking that will result in frustrating his or her interest. The concept of conflict being a result of behaviour is an integral part of human life and existence. Whenever there is interaction, there is conflict. Chandan (1987) observes that because people differ in their attitudes, values and goals, conflict among them becomes unavoidable. Accordingly, the management is concerned with not so much with eliminating conflict which of course would be impossible, but to contain it and manage it for organisational and individual benefit.
Although management and labour are really one group, but often they experience an uneasy relationship over conditions of service or other issues. While employees often think they have legitimate grievances, their complaints sometimes receive menacing frowns from management, a situation which often results in conflict. Fajana (1995) sees industrial conflicts as the inability of the industrial relations parties to reach agreement on any issue connected with object-employer/employee interactions. For Business Education teachers’ job performance to be high there is need for dependence on their leader’s approach to labour conflicts and its management. Generally, conflict management is said to consist of interventions designed to reduce excessive conflict or in some cases, to increase insufficient work related conflict (Thomas, 1992).
Work related conflict management objectives cannot be accomplished in our institutions with the prevailing leadership patterns. Leadership is defined as the process of influencing the activities of a group of people by a leader with efforts towards goal achievement. Nworgu (1986) opines that it involves a force that militate actions in people by the leader. Nwadiana (1998), in colleges of education, it could be described as the ability of the provost to get things done with the assistance and co-operation of other people including the lecturers. The effective teacher may have to deal with individual and institutional goal.
Leadership pattern of the Head of Department, Dean, Provost, Rector and Vice Chancellor of any institution, Principals, executive councils of National Union of Teachers (NUT), is one with the most dynamic effects considering individual and organisational interactions in academic institutions. In other words, whether the school managements are able to execute functions with collaboration of the teachers depends on the management’s pattern and capability, such patterns as autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, free train, and situational contingency patterns of leadership.
In the school, the principal, administrator, etc (school management) team and the teachers are functional operators and are empowered with the administrative, leadership and instructional functions involved in the achievement of set objectives within the system, with the foregoing, the ill applications of the labour management variables in the academic institutions reduces the performance of teachers. It is against this background that this study is designed to investigate the relationship between labour management variables and job performance of Business education teachers in Abia State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Nigerian secondary school teachers and their unions have been characterised by profound challenges of building relationship with the government; teachers in recent past complain to their employer (government) that their wages do not commensurate with their job; demanding for salary increments, working under unhealthy and unconducive working environment. All these and many more have risen to labour actions; and caused poor instructional activities, lukewarm attitude to work and turn result to abysmal performance of students in Abia State, and have generated high level of discomfort to parents and the entire society.
Business education teachers are not immune to these threats and challenges of labour relations within the work place. Currently, National Union of Teachers (NUT) and even Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP),College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) continue to have disagreements with their employers due to unresolved issues of benefits to boost their conditions of work. These challenges have an impact on the educational system and job performance of the business education teachers, which attract their engagements in the area of collective bargaining. Consequently, the prevalence of industrial actions due to poor labour management variables between business education teachers and their employers continue to wane quality teaching and learning in secondary schools. Teteh (1999) states that academic institutions in Nigeria, especially Colleges of Education, have shown that many teachers neither perform their role well nor show positive feelings towards their responsibilities at work.
Bendix (2001) who made similar observation focused on leadership patterns and joint consultation concentrated on democratic leadership patterns as well as conflict management; her recommendations are yet to make noticeable impact to the system. Recent occurrences like regular strikes and lockouts in educational sector still indicate that all efforts in regards to boosting job performance of Business education teachers are yet to introduce the required impact in educational institutions in Nigeria.
This then calls for questions such as, what are the labour management variables. Does these variables relate to the teachers job performance? It is, therefore, the researcher’s belief that the ill application of wages, healthy working environment, union collective bargaining, work related conflict management and leadership patterns in secondary schools in Abia state are the major obstacles that most adversely affect the job performance of Business education teachers. From the above submissions, it therefore becomes necessary to examine the Relationship between labour management variables and job performance of Business education teachers in Abia state Nigeria.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between labour management variables and job performance of Business Education teachers in Abia state. Specifically, the study sought to:
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be highly beneficial to various academic groups and classes of persons. The study would be of assistance to the Federal and State Governments, School Management and administrators, different organisations and future teachers. The result of this study would be of beneficiary to the development of Nigeria education system. It would also provide information and guidance to policy makers, and enable them to make better policies on fringe benefits in organisations and also help them know appropriate leadership pattern that is conducive for running such institution, and so that the performance of the staff may be enhanced. It is hoped that teachers who are the programme implementers would adopt the recommendations of this study for better job performance.
The school management and administrators would use the findings of this study as seminars, conference and workshops themes for the development of various categories of staff. This study would be of great benefit to organisations as the ideas herein would go a long way in bringing harmonious relationship between employers and employees. It would help future teachers, some of whom would become Education Administrators and curriculum planners know the relationship between labour management variables and teacher’s job performance and attitudes to teaching as these are among the critical factors in the teaching profession. Finally, researchers would also benefit as the study would provide some literature materials on the subject of this study.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study:
1.6 Null Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were tested at .05 level of significance.
Ho1: There is no significant relationship between payment of wages and job performance of Business Education teachers in Abia State.
Ho2: There is no significant relationship between healthy working environment and job performance of Business Education teachers in Abia State.
Ho3: There is no significant relationship between union collective bargaining and job performance of Business Education teachers in Abia State.
Ho4: There is no significant relationship between work related conflict management and job performance of Business Education teachers in Abia State.
Ho5: There is no significant relationship between leadership pattern and job performance of Business Education teachers in Abia State.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study was delimited to Labour Management Variables and Job Performance of Business Education teachers in Abia State secondary schools. This investigation was also delimited to the five Labour Management variables; payment of wages, healthy working environment, union collective bargaining, work related conflict management and leadership pattern.