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DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES AS PREDICTORS OF JOB PERFORMANCE OF LIBRARIANS IN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

The university library is an essential component of the modern university and survival requires demonstrating its value in new ways, embedding itself deeper into the university’s core functions of teaching, learning and research. The indispensability of a university library makes it the central nervous system of its parent’s institution. Thus, they are primarily established to support the teaching, learning and research   of its parent body. Today on the campus of virtually every higher institution, the library occupies a central position. In its placement and prominence, the university library conveys its integral role in supporting university education’s core missions of research and learning. University library according to Saint, Hartnett, and Strassner (2003) is fundamental to the establishment of a knowledge economy and society in all nations. Hence, it empowers the citizens and society at large through knowledge dissemination. Promotion and dissemination of knowledge can be achieved in a university library by the support of the government. As Ifidon (1999) noted that in a country such as Nigeria, National University Commission (NUC) should increase the funding of federal university libraries as they are poorly funded by the government. Information should be provided in the university libraries for both the teachers and students in form of books, audio-visual materials, computers and internet facilities and so on. No university can exist without a good library. The usefulness of a library is not only measured by the types of the resources available or its size but also how well individual staff of the library are performing their duties including assisting library users in completing assignments on record time. This means that the library personnel are the activators of functions and services of the library (Amusa, Iyoro and  Olabisi, 2013). They possess skills in collection development, technical processing of information sources, user education and services.

Personnel in a typical Nigerian university library are in three groups: professional librarians who are academics, library officers who are middle level managers and others who are library support staff and technical staff. This study will focus on the academic librarians because they usually work for at least eight hours daily at their offices. Hence, it is important to provide them with the essential tools to enable them to be very effective on their job. A job, in this context, means what an individual staff does, which may be indexing, cataloguing, conducting a reference interview, bibliographic instruction and so on.

Job performance, according to Rofundo and Sackett (2002) may be described alternatively to emphasize just those behaviours and actions that are under the control of the worker, and contribute to the organizations’ goals. Job performance, in the view of Oduwole (2004), is how one carries out the tasks, duties and responsibilities associated with a particular job. Commenting further, job performance according to him is considered as an output of a staff on the job, measurable in terms of quality and quantity of job performed. Hakala (2008), on his part, gave the following performance indicators; effectiveness, efficiency, profits, value, innovation, creativity, work-relationships, job skill, decision-making communication etc. Job performance as defined above by Oduwole (2004) is adopted in this study..

Job performance has many dimensions (Koopmans, L. et al, 2011; Borman and Mottowidlo, 1995). .However, the dimensions of job performance by Borman and Mottowidlo (1995) are relevant to this study. These authors maintained that job   performance consisted of two dimensions, namely; task performance and contextual performance.

Task performance refers to the performance of facts, principles and procedures related to functions of the organizations’ technical core. These duties might be formally listed in workers’ job description. This means that task performance involves those streamlined routine assignments for workers in order to run their day to day activities. These activities are more on the technical part of an individual knowledge, skills and abilities on the core duties. According to Motowidlo, Borman and Schmit (1997), task performance has two components. The first type involves activities that “transform raw material into the goods and services that are the organizations’ products.” Task performance behaviours have a direct relation to the organizations’ technical core either by executing its technical processes or by maintaining and servicing its technical requirements. For instance, in an apprenticeship program, this concept can be visualized when a worker provides technical skills to youth at risk so they will be able to get a job. The second type of task performance involves “activities that service and maintain the technical core by replenishing its supply of raw materials; distributing its  finished products; or providing important planning, coordination, supervising or staff functions that enable it to function effectively and efficiently’’. Although, task performance may vary according to each specific job, but this present study proposes to examine task performance of librarians.

Contextual performance involves extra-role or discretionary behaviour aimed to help others in the organization. It also involves behaviour performed with the intention of promoting the welfare of individuals or groups to whom that behavior performed is directed. Contextual performance includes more generalizable characteristics such as cooperating with co-workers, volunteering, helping and following organizational procedure. According to Borman and Motowidlo (1995), contextual performance involves workers positive attitude toward the success of their organization. It also involves an additional effort made by a worker apart from his/her routine duties. These additional efforts are intended to bring the organization to a higher level. These efforts include the ability to see what need to be done even when the need may not be part of his/her formal job description.

It is important to note that as we talk about job performance its measures are equally important. According to Porter and Lawler cited by Mohammed and Uli (2010), there are three measures of job performance. They include output rating, rating of individuals by someone other than the person whose performance is being considered and self appraisal and self-rating. Because job performance is considered at the individual level, self appraisal and self-rating will be allowed in this study.

Job performance is crucial to government services. High job performance among employees is a significant management function for providing excellent services to the public at all levels. In the university library setting, high job performance makes the library effective and relevant. However, there are factors that affect job performance. Hassan and Ogunkoya (2012) maintain that these factors as gathered from the literature include job satisfaction, work environment, technology, skills level, motivation, personality traits and changes in demographic variables. The present study considered only the demographic variables because there were inconsistent results in the literature on the relationship between demographic variables and job performance.

Demography is defined as a concept pertaining to characteristics of the population, such as race, sex, age, household size and population growth density (Houghton, 2007). Demography encompasses the study of size, structure and distribution of these population and spatial or temporal changes in them in response to time, birth, migration, ageing and death. Demographic variables are the characteristics such as gender, education, tenure, income, ethnicity,  work experience, income and job position of the individual members of a population.

Changes in demography are one of the factors that affect job performance ( Palakurthi and Parks, 2000). However, there were only a few studies that looked into the impact of demographic factors on job performance in Nigeria.  The demographic variables that had been studied were gender, age, tenure, job position, marital status and education.

In terms of the relationship between gender and job performance, previous studies Igbaria and Shayo (1995) reported that gender did not have a significant impact on job performance. However, a study done by Lymn et al (1996) found that men’s performance increased with career stage measured as professional tenure, but they did not find a corresponding effect among women. Similarly, Larwood and Guket(1989) argued that theories of the career development of men do not fit women’s career development. They stated that the model of men’s career is simple and can be seen as continuous development, but that of women is characterized as disjointed. These inconsistencies demand this research to provide answers that depict whether gender in South Eastern Nigeria support any of the studies reported above.

A study by Yearta (1995) showed that age does not affect job performance, thus it contradicts with what have been revealed by Smedley and Whitten (2006) who suggested that difference of age could be also a potential factor for job performance. This is in tandem with a study by Shutz and Adam (2007) which indicated that there were significant differences between age groups concerning job performance. Kujala et al (2005) emphasized that younger people are poor on job performance, but this contradicts the study by Birren and Schaie (2001).

Level of education is another that may have impact on job performance, While Linz (2002) reported that level of education was not found to influence job performance, McBey and Karakowsky (2001) found that there was a likelihood of a causal relationship between education level and job performance. Ariss and Timmins (1989) indicated that education somewhat affect job performance. The lower the education level, the less likely people would have better work performance.

Job position is another variable that has been studied beside age, gender, and education. Lee et al (2009) found that there is a difference between managers and middle managers in job performance. This indicates that job position has significant impact on job performance. In contrary, a study by Roebuck et al (1995) noted that there is no difference in terms of job performance between different positions in an organization

In terms of the relationship between marital status and job performance, Ishfeg et al (2010) reported a positive association. Koreumen and Neumark (1991) found that marriage made men more productive than women. Among women, Jordan and Zitech (2012) reported that single women performed better than married women.

The above studies have revealed a lot of inconsistent results in the relationship between demography and job performance.(Hassan.and Ogunkoya, 2014). In addition, little or no studies in the literature were found that integrated the two dimensions of job performance, i.e, task and contextual performance simultaneously. Majority of the studies in this area were focused on task performance only. This means that no comprehensive study has fully explored the domain of job performance in relation to demographic variables. This is the gap which this study seeks to fill.

It is not just enough to understand the relationship between demographic factors or variables and job performance, but it becomes clearer when predictions are made. This is possible because correlation is the basis of most predictions (Vernoy and Vernoy, 1997). It entails specifying the antecedent variables otherwise known as the predictor variables and the criterion variable or the variable that is being predicted. In the present study, the predictor variables are the demographic variables while the criterion variable or the variable that is being predicted is job performance. Prediction here means explanation which implies that the variations in demographic variables can be used to explain the job performance of librarians in federal university libraries in the South East Zone.

In the south eastern geopolitical zone, there are five states with five federal universities namely: the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Enugu State; Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) Awka, Anambra State; Federal University of Technology Owerri, (FUTO) Imo State; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State and the recently added Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo(FUNAI), Ebonyi State. The federal university libraries in South East Nigeria were established and funded by the federal government of Nigeria. The funding usually comes in the form of grants or Library Development Fund (L.D.F.) to cater for collection   development, staff capacity building and recruitment as well as the day-to-day administration of these libraries. These libraries have the mandate to fulfill the vision and mission of their parent institutions. Though these libraries are funded by the federal government of Nigeria, the funds are usually not sufficient enough for the development of library and information services in South East Nigeria. In their study of the libraries and librarians in South East Nigeria, Nwosu, Ugwoegbu and Okeke (2013) found that these librarians were poorly motivated and performed moderately in their workplaces. The implication of this finding is that the job performance of librarians must be improved. This calls for the understanding of the factors that affect job performance of which demographic variables have been so identified in the literature. It is important that we also understand how far these variables can predict librarians’ job performance as a right step in the direction of developing performance improvement strategies. The reason is that studies that tried to relate personal factors with job performance appear to be inconclusive in the literature. Therefore, this study was focused on determining the predictive values of demographic variables in relation to the job performance of librarians in federal university libraries in South East Nigeria.

 

Statement of the Problem

The usefulness of a library to its users depends on more than its physical facilities. Most library users also depend heavily on the guidance they receive from individual library staff members thus: the dedication and good work of each librarian add up over time to improve the overall effectiveness of library. This means that positive job performance increases the overall effectiveness of an organization such as a university library system. Unfortunately, many university libraries in Nigeria are not living up to expectations in terms of providing guidance to library users and their overall effectiveness.

From observations in some academic libraries in Nigeria, there exists poor job performance among the librarians. As such, librarians in these institutions demonstrate lack dedication and commitment to duties. In these libraries, emphases are now placed on publications at the expense of professional duties and services. For instance, an increase in the volume of patrons’ requests for information often gives rise to feelings of frustrations and inadequacy on the part of users because the librarians who are supposed to guide them are occupied by attempt to get published.

If the above situations are not addressed, library users may continue to have negative perceptions of the library. This may result in the poor image of the library in the university where the library is expected to make significant contribution to learning, teaching and research. Besides, library support from the university administration in terms of interventions for development may also be affected.

Some researchers have suggested that the performance of librarians in Nigeria should be improved, as a way out. One approach is the understanding of the contributions of demographic variables to the overall job performance of librarians or to specifically task based and contextual components of their performance. Although, work in this area continues, empirical knowledge of librarians’ demographic variables and the extent to which they predict their job performance is still very limited. . Therefore, the problem of this study stated in question form is; what are the librarians’ demographic variables that are predictive of their task and contextual performance in federal university libraries in South East Nigeria?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between demographic variables and job performance of librarians working in the university libraries. Specifically, this study will seek to:

  • Determine the demographic profiles of librarians in university libraries in South-East Nigeria.
  • Identify the level of task performance of librarians in university libraries in South East Nigeria.
  • Identify the level of contextual performance of librarians in university libraries in South East Nigeria.
  • Identify the relationship between demographic variables and task performance of librarians.
  • The relationship between demographic variables and contextual performance of librarians.

 

Research Questions

The following five research questions will guide the study:

  • What are the demographic profiles of librarians in university libraries in South East Nigeria in terms of their age, gender, education, years of work experience and job level or designation?
  • What is the level of task performance of librarians in university libraries in South East Nigeria?
  • What is the level of contextual performance of libraries in university libraries in South East Nigeria?
  • What is the relationship between demographic variables and task performance of librarians?
  • What is the relationship between demographic variables and contextual performance of librarians?

 

Hypotheses

The following two null hypotheses guided the study and were tested at the 0.05 level of significance.

H01:    There will be no joint relationship between demographic variables and task       performance of librarians in university libr

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