1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Performance appraisal is one of the most problematic components of human resource (HR) management (e.g. Allen and Mayfield, 1983). All involved parties — supervisors, employees, and HR administrators — typically are dissatisfied with their organization’s performance appraisal system (Smith et al., 1996) and view the appraisal process as either a futile bureaucratic exercise or, worse, a destructive influence on the employee-supervisor relationship (e.g. Momeyer, 1986). This is certainly true of most organizations, at least in the USA, wherein surveys typically reveal widespread dissatisfaction with the appraisal process (Huber, 1983; Walsh, 1986). Despite these indictments, managers are reluctant to abandon performance appraisal which they still regard as an essential tool of HR management (Meyer, 1991).
Appraisal, according to Smith (2000), involves the identification of cause and effect relationships on which employment and labour policies are based or can be based and are a routine process that organizations use to evaluate their employees. It is a systematic assessment that is as objective as possible of an ongoing programme or policy, its design, implementation and results. Its aim is to appraise the relevance and fulfillment of objectives, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Although, performance appraisal itself is often a process that involves documentation and communication, the tendency in recent years has been to formalize the appraisal process, whereas in years past, an informal approach with very little record keeping sufficed, now more documentation is required. Organizations usually formalize part of the process by using a standard form. Currently, many organizations are implementing or planning to implement, reward and/or recognition programmes believing that these will help bring about the desired cultural change. In some organizations, large amounts of money are being invested in these types of activities and some managers are required specifically to set aside a certain amount from their budgets for this purpose (Denning, 2001). This rationale is based on the assumption that these types of incentives will encourage employee loyalty, foster teamwork and ultimately facilitate the development of the desired culture that encourages and supports knowledge sharing.
One factor that contributes to an effective performance appraisal system entails ensuring that the system focuses on performance variables as opposed to personal traits (Smither, 1998). Whereas experts disagree about whether performance should be measured in terms of the results produced by employees (e.g. Kane et al., 1995) or in terms of work-related behaviors (e.g. Murphy and Cleveland, 1991), they agree that measuring personal traits has several drawbacks. For example Jankowicz (2004) notes that the validity and reliability of trait-based performance appraisals is highly suspect because the rater’s perceptions of the traits being assessed are affected by his/her opinions, biases, and experiences that may have little to do with the particular employee. In addition, appraisals based on personal traits have little value for providing diagnostic feedback to employees or for designing training and development programs to ameliorate identified skill deficiencies (Squires and Adler, 1998). Furthermore, based on his review of the findings from several court cases involving performance appraisal, Malos (1998) concluded that, to be legally sound, appraisals should be job-related and based on behaviors rather than traits. For an appraisal system to be effective, employees must believe that they have an opportunity for meaningful input into the appraisal process (Weick, 2001). Such input may range from having the opportunity to challenge or rebut the evaluation one receives to judging one’s own performance through self-appraisal. Regardless of the nature of employee input, it is clear that giving employees a voice in their own appraisals enhances the perceived fairness of the appraisal process, which, in turn, increases the likelihood that employees will accept the appraisal system as a legitimate and constructive means of gauging their performance contributions. As noted by Gilliland and Langdon (1998), without the perception of fairness, “a system that is designed to appraise, reward, motivate, and develop can actually have the opposite effect and create frustration and resentment”.
The increasing role of the Police has become an important factor in the present day Nigeria. Crime wave has blown to alarming proportion and every citizen endeavors to safeguard the properties of his own seat. In the process, efforts are made by the Police to provide services that in effect cement over some of the cracks in the structure of the society (Bunyard, 1999). Police activities and tasks have expanded and become tougher with changing trend but police objectives have remained unaltered.
To stem the eruption of crime is primary and vital objectives of the police. The activities of uniformed policemen and women patrolling either on foot or by motor vehicle still fear on criminals or confidence into other members of the society. This confidence could be strengthened through public enlightenment, workshops and symposia on crime and its evil effects.
Therefore, Police performance appraisal is one of the most important components of law enforcement management—affecting the quality of the services a department delivers as well as the satisfaction of its employees. It is crucial that the performance appraisal process is conducted in an effective and equitable manner.
For this reason, the researcher considers it necessary to evaluate the impact of performance appraisal as it affects productivity of the employees of the Nigeria Police Force with emphasis on the Enugu area command.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
At an organizational level, the performance appraisal system impacts other HR systems as well as organizational strategy. Latham and Wexley (2001) assert that the effectiveness of an organization’s performance appraisal system is a prerequisite for ensuring the success of its selection, training, and employee motivation practices. At a strategic level, the need for rapid and effective organizational change in today’s dynamic social, economic, and political environment requires that employees continually re-align their performance with the evolving goals and objectives of the organization (O’Donnell and Shields, 2002). The need to continually re-align performance propels many organizational departments which continue to struggle with getting their members to embrace the philosophies and practices that are geared at enhancing performance (Scrivner, 1995; Vinzant and Crothers, 1994). As noted by Kane et. al. (1995:285), “an appraisal system must be considered a major organizational change effort which should be pursued in the context of improving the organization’s effectiveness”. Many organizations are faced with the challenges of an appraisal system either because they find it too rigorous and prone to error or they lack the knowledge of administering it and how to make management decisions based on the result. To address these problems, we shall seek answers to the following research questions.
- Is there any Performance Appraisal System existing in the Nigeria Police Force?
- To what extent does performance appraisal affect the efficiency and productivity of Officers in the Nigeria Police Force?
- Does appraisal based on set goals and targets have an effect on officers’ efficiency in the Nigeria Police Force?
- Is there a relationship between Performance appraisal, reward and efficiency?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.3.1 General Objective
The study’s main objective is to investigate the effect of performance appraisal system in the Officers’ performance in the Nigeria Police force with special focus on Enugu State Police area command.
- Specific Objectives
- To determine if there is an existing Performance Appraisal System in the Nigeria Police Force.
- To investigate the extent to which performance appraisal affects the efficiency and productivity of Officers in the Nigeria Police Force.
- To assess the effect of appraisal based on set goals and targets on officers’ efficiency in the Nigeria Police Force?
- To determine if there is a relationship between Performance appraisal, reward and efficiency?
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of the study presents the value or contribution which the research will make to the existing knowledge. Obasi (1999:73), asserts that research is most important tool for advancing knowledge and enables man to relate more effectively to his environment. The significance of this study is categories into theoretical and empirical significance.
Theoretically, this work has the potential of contributing greatly to the growth of existing theories in social science particularly in public administration by helping to enrich the bank of knowledge through its reliable findings on the effect of performance appraisal on employee productivity. This is to say that our study would assist in improving the frontiers of knowledge especially in improving efficiency of Officers in Nigeria Police Force. This research work will be of immense benefit to the Nigeria Police Force in particular and to the general public (Nigerians). This study will create awareness of the importance of performance appraisals and to make them appreciate the need to maximize its benefit while minimizing its pitfalls to justify the use of performance appraisal as a yardstick for determining individual reward in an organization.
Government will also find this research useful as it will help them to know the areas in which they should offer adequate help to the police. Therefore academically, it provides additional literature in this important area of research. This research will also be of benefit to the society and to students carrying out research on the effect of performance appraisal on employee productivity.
Empirically, this study is considered significant it will contribute in providing the decision makers and other key actors in the Nigeria Police Force with the road-maps that will necessitate prompt, responsive and efficient service in the NPF. It will also serve as a panacea through which the campaign against inefficiency and poor service delivery in the Nigeria Police Force can be effectively tackled.
In addition, the study has the potential to strategically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nigeria Police Force through its advocacy for a performance appraisal system. In this regard, this work is a practical pain staking ‘post mortem’ surgical examination of the problems of Nigeria police Force as well as the way forward. It is generally expected that the study will sharpen the administrative capacities of Officers entrusted with security of lives and properties.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study was conducted within the framework of evaluating performance appraisal as a tool for productivity enhancement of staff of the Nigeria Police Force. A case study of the Enugu Area Command. The study was carried out in the Area command and the five divisions under it namely, Ogui division, New haven division, Abakpa division, Transekulu division and Abakiliki road division.
The limitation inherent includes the inability of the researcher to include the entire employee in the Nigeria police force due to some problems and hence generalization are only restricted to Enugu area command. Prominent among these problems are financial constraint as it limited her from engaging on much journey for the collection of data, Time constraints which limited the work as a result of busy schedule. This kind of work ordinarily requires an extensive study of the issue and cases and finally Attitude of respondents. Some of the respondents were not ready to let go of vital information as they felt they were letting go official secret. However all these constraints were not allowed to hinder the researcher from putting together this articulate piece.