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CIVIL SERVANTS’ ATTITUDE TO WORK AND EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY BY POLITICAL LEADERS IN SELECTED MDAs IN LAGOS STATE (2010-2014)
- Background to the Study
It is the duty and responsibility of a democratic government to provide protection for the citizens through the creation of armed forces to keep the citizens of the country safe from internal and external aggressions. The government also owes it a duty to provide public services by ensuring that at least the minimum need of the citizens are met such as education, health-care and other infrastructural facilities including the provision of economic stability through employment and favourable trade environment (Gomez, 2014).
It must, however, be understood that government is an artificial person who is required to carry out its functions through physical people. In Nigeria, therefore, we have the Legislative arm of government which makes the laws for the good governance of the citizens. These laws are to be implemented by the executive arm of the government while the judiciary is saddled with the responsibility of adjudicating and interpreting the laws made by the legislature.
In carrying out its duties, the executive arm of government relies on its civil servants. Civil servants are employees of government whether at federal, state or local government level, who are engaged primarily to assist the career politicians (President, Governors, Ministers or commissioners) in formulating and implementing government policies. Based on their knowledge and experience, they provide professional and technical advice on the policies being made by government. As such, the importance of the civil servants in assisting the government to deliver quality service to the citizens cannot be overemphasized considering the fact that they advise the government on matters of policy formulation and decision making. Once the decision has been made, it is their duty to also implement same. It must be noted that the success or otherwise of any political leadership is measured by the electorate through the level of amenities and socio-cultural infrastructures provided for the use and convenience of the citizens by the leadership. Yet, it is the civil servants that the political leadership makes use of to provide these amenities. If the civil servants do not deliver effectively, it is the political leadership that the electorate hold responsible. The best policy statement by the political leadership is not better than the paper on which it is written until it has been successfully implemented. And that is the specialty of the civil servants. It is therefore in the best interest of the political office holders to ensure that the civil servants are encouraged to develop the right attitude towards their work.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In the distribution of functions under a democratic system of government, it is the responsibility of the executive arm of government to implement the programmes of the ruling political party. In carrying out this all important responsibility, the executive arm relies very much on its civil service. The Lagos state civil service which was established in 1967 is not an exception in this case. The state’s civil service can be referred to as the engine room of the government. The service, being a permanent arm of the administration vis-à-vis the ever changing political leadership, and being blessed with experts in virtually all fields of endeavour, is ably equipped with the wherewithal to provide the much needed essential data and critical information that enables the government to make informed decisions and policies. After the policy decision has been made, it becomes the responsibility of the civil servants to effectively implement same. The Lagos state civil servants are therefore “powerful and strategically positioned” in the scheme of things. As such, the success or otherwise of the political leadership is a flection of how effectively the civil servants carry out their duties. The political slogan during the Babatunde Fashola Administration in Lagos state had been “Fashola is working; Lagos State is working!” The slogan bears witness to the fact that the government programmes were adjudged by the citizens to be well implemented to their satisfaction. But the fact is that the Fashola that was seen to be working was actually doing so through the state’s civil servants who were giving him the much needed support and were working in tandem with the state government’s objective of quality service delivery to the electorate. Considering the assessment of the Nigerian civil service by Arowolo (2012) as an institution riddled with “corruption, inefficiency, favouritism, nepotism, kick-backs, mismanagement, mediocrity, etc., one begins to wonder how the civil servants under the Fashola Administration were able to assist the government to achieve such success.
It must be noted however, that how well these civil servants carry out their duties depends to a large extent, on individual personal disposition. This means the type of attitude they have (whether positive or negative) towards their work, the level of their job satisfaction, and the extent of their commitment to their employers (the state government). All these, in the long run, bear a relationship to how effective their service delivery will be. It is the respective individual performance that ultimately culminate in the overall achievement of the Fashola Administration. There is therefore a perceived relationship among the attitude to work of the Lagos state civil servants, the level of their job satisfaction, the extent of their commitment to their employers and how effectively they deliver service to the citizens of the state on behalf of the political leadership. It is this perceived relationship that constitute the gap in knowledge which this research sets out to fill.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of the study is to find out the correlation between the attitude to work of civil servants and political leadership performance in the selected MDAs in Lagos State. The specific objectives are to:
- establish the relationship between the attitudes to work of civil servants in the selected MDAs in Lagos state and the effectiveness in service delivery by political leaders;
- identify the relationship between the attitude to work of civil servants in the selected MDAs and their job satisfaction;
- investigate the job satisfaction of civil servants in the selected MDAs with a view to establishing if it has any significant effect on their service delivery;
- determine whether civil servants in the selected MDAs are committed to their employers, that is the political leadership and
- assess the commitment of civil servants to their employers, the political leadership in the selected MDAs and its effect on their service delivery.
1.4 Research Questions
- Is there any relationship between the attitude to work of civil servants in the selected MDAs in Lagos State and the effectiveness in service delivery by political leaders?
- Does the attitude to work of civil servants in the selected MDAs bear any relationship to their job satisfaction?
- What effect does job satisfaction of the civil servants in the selected MDAs have on their service delivery?
- Are the civil servants in the selected MDAs committed to their employers, the political leadership?
- Of what effect on their service delivery is the commitment of civil servants in the selected MDAs to their employers, the political leadership?
The hypotheses tested are null hypotheses which are:
Ho1: There is a significant relationship between the attitude to work of civil servants in the selected MDAs in Lagos state and the effectiveness in service delivery by political leaders.
Ho2: There is a significant relationship between the attitude to work of civil servants in the selected MDAs in Lagos state and their job satisfaction.
Ho3: The level of job satisfaction of civil servants in the selected MDAs in Lagos state has a significant effect on their service delivery.
Ho4: The level of commitment of civil servants in the selected MDAs in Lagos state to their employers has a significant effect on their job satisfaction.
Ho5: The commitment of civil servants in the selected MDAs to their employers has a significant relationship with their service delivery.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Civil servants have invaluable roles to play in the success of any government. For them to give of their best and by so doing uplift the image of the government through prompt and efficient policy implementation, civil servants must be properly attuned to the goals of the government. It is therefore very important to have positive attitudes to work to ensure effective service delivery. This study is therefore significant as it would examine the relationship between the attitude of civil servants in Lagos state and their job satisfaction as well as their commitment to their employer’s goals and aspirations and how these impact on their service delivery. The study would therefore enable the Lagos state government acquire the requisite knowledge to encourage positive attitudes in its civil servants. It would also allow the state civil servants to appreciate the need to develop positive attitudes to their work as they would see the direct impact such attitudes have on service delivery of the political leadership.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study focused on civil servants in Lagos state. The state consists of twenty-five Ministries and eighty-six Departments and Agencies (see Appendices IIA and IIB). Respondents were from seven MDAs. These seven MDAs were selected because they are the ones whose evidence of service delivery are physically available for assessment. The MDAs are responsible for the provision of infrastructural facilities and environmental sanitation. They include:
- Lagos State Ministry of Transportation
- Ministry of Works and Infrastructures
- Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC)
- Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA)
- Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA)
- Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA)
- Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA)
The study covered a period of five years from 2010 to 2014. The researcher is of the view that a span of five years is sufficient a period to study the subject matter of this research. Secondly, the five years fall within the 8-year administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola who is acknowledged as one of the most hard-working and successful among his peers in the other states of the Federation. The study position is that the attitude of his civil servants to work during this period must have contributed to the laudable performance of his administration. It is therefore worthy of study.
The study attempted, through the administration of guided questionnaires on the target respondents, to find out if attitudes to work can have any impact on service delivery of the political leadership, the type of attitudes that are predominant among the Lagos state civil servants and what the government is doing to develop the right attitudes in its workforce.
The categories of civil servants studied are the second and third categories. These are the Middle Management and the Senior Management cadres. These are the two whose functions bear direct relationship to the subject matter of this study.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
- Attitudes to work: The interest shown or the commitment displayed by a worker in his job performance towards the realization of his organisation’s goals.
- Civil Servants: The employees in the civil service of a country either at federal or state level, entrusted with government policy formulation and implementation.
- Service delivery: The manner in which civil servants ensure that government services get to the final consumers – the citizens.
1.9 Overview of Chapters
The study is organized in the following five chapters:
Chapter One contains the general introduction with a background to the study. The chapter states the problem to be addressed and outlines the objectives against which the research work is to be measured. It also provides relevant research questions and hypotheses, the significance of the study as well as its scope of coverage. It then provides operational definitions of the terms used in the study.
Chapter Two deals with the review of the literature that is relevant to the study. It examines what renowned authors have written on the concept of attitude, attitude and perceptions, how attitudes change and the relationship between attitude and performance. It goes on to look at the concepts of job satisfaction and organizational commitment and how these affect work performance. The chapter also delves into the historical background of the Nigerian Civil Service, through its various challenges and the reforms put in place to address them. It also places the Lagos State Civil Service within the context of these reforms. The chapter then provides a theoretical framework to the study of the subject-matter laying emphasis on two important motivation theorists; Herzberg and Adams.
Chapter Three deals with the methodology by which the study was carried out. It describes the research design, examines the population of the study and the sample size selected therefrom. It discusses the methods to be employed to collect data, the sources of such data and the instrument to be used in collecting the data. It looks at the method of the data analysis, the limitation of the study itself and the ethical considerations as well as the post-research benefits of the study.
Chapter Four carries out a presentation and analysis of the data. It also goes on to test the formulated hypotheses and then discusses the findings emanating from the tests and analysis.
Chapter Five provides a summary of the findings and concludes the study. It then makes relevant recommendations and suggests areas for further studies for intending researchers.