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Reseach on Performance Work Systems in Local Councils the Case of Harare City Council in Zimbabwe Essay

1.0 Introduction
This chapter forms the basis of the study on the assessment on the role of high performance work systems have on Harare city council workers for effective and efficiency service delivery. This paper is going to provide a background of the study stating the problem, purpose and importance of the study. To add to the above, the objective, anticipated constraints and research questions, including literature review and research methodology are going to be highlighted. 1.1 Background of the study

Performance has been a widely researched subject by most social scientist and industrial psychologist in an attempt to establish what motivates people to do what they do, and why they do it. An organisational performance has always been an issue for managers, as it is believed that satisfied workers tend to be more productive, creative and committed to their jobs. There is therefore need to establish whether high performance work systems are what bring satisfactory performance or there are other factors. High performance work systems is a complex and multifaceted concept, which can mean different things to different people. However, the researcher in this study attempted
to establish the role of high performance systems, whether it brings positive or negative results with particular attention at Harare City Council. 1.2 Statement of the problem

The dilemma at hand is that the Harare city council workers are said to be hindering the performance circles of which are of particular appeal to affect the residents. The council provide services to the residents which are not helpful but only distract them from developing their communities in the proper manner they desire. This is happening due to the failure by the council to carry out good research on its performance since today employees are expected to work in teams rather than solely on their own. They are expected to keep learning new skills and to assume broader roles through the employment security, selective hiring of new personnel, self-managed teams and decentralization of decision making as the basic principles of organizational design, comparatively high compensation contingent on organizational performance, extensive training, reduced status distinctions and barriers including dress, language office arrangements, and wage differences across levels, extensive sharing of financial and performance information throughout the organisation.

1.3 Objectives of the study
1 To investigate and establish the role of high performance work systems in relation to organisational performance as this affects the service delivery. 2 To establish what causes poor performance and service delivery in the organisation. 3 To find out ways of maintaining and improving staff loyalty, motivation and performance. 4 To recommend on changes to improve council performance and staff welfare policy. 1.4 Significance of the study

As a researcher it is of paramount importance to conduct a study on the role of high performance work systems by the local authority. One can easily notice that it is important to carry out this research as it: The research findings of this research were also intended to assist management in addressing concerns and expectations of staff in order to harness their full contribution and effort to the benefit of the organization. The organization
would then use the research findings to redesign its human resources policies towards the workers welfare and provide the answers to the questions presented on the sub problems of the research problem. Employees could use the research as a platform to express their concerns and desires to management, which they would not probably get, and also use it as a reference point to those who would intend to do their own researches. 1.5 Literature review

Review of related literature is the most important part of research. It refers to the systematic exploration of issues related to the one’s research which has been treated to date by various authors and authorities. According to the high performance work systems Assessment, “by social impacts we mean the consequences to human populations of any public or private actions that alter the ways in which people live, work, play, relate to one another, organise to meet their needs and generally cope as members of society.” The concept of high performance work systems and organisational performance

High performance work systems have been defined as a distinctive managerial approach that enables high performance through people. (1987).
High performance work systems are somewhat not quite the same as motivation, but the two are closely linked. Many thoughts and views have been developed to define performance at work but much of it explains one’s reaction, feelings and emotions towards the accomplishment of organisational goals. Many research studies were however founded to explain how people react in the manner they do in their jobs. Various factors have been associated with one’s performance. These factors include: * The level of pay and benefits,

* The perceived fairness of the promotion system within a company, * The quality of the working conditions,
* Leadership and social relationships
* The job itself.
Different models were developed to account for the attitudes that people develop at various situations. The following models of job satisfaction shall be discussed to aid the understanding of high performance work systems
at work. Classical theories of Maslow (1943), Herzberg (1968) and Vroom in relation to high performance work systems have been the basis of the modern day studies. Abram Maslow proposed a hierarchical theory of five needs, which gained popularity over the years and formed a basis for management studies to human motivation at work. Having been simplified by Clayton Alderfer made a fine-tuning to the hierarchical explanations of human needs to that of three levels. Abbreviated to ERG, (Existence, Relatedness and Growth), Existence needs constituted Maslow’s physiological and safety needs, and Relatedness included internal esteem and social needs and lastly, the Growth stage was made up of self actualisation and external esteem needs.

The Wikipedia encyclopaedia cited various models of which can help to explain high performance work systems that were written to by different authors as follows: * The two-factor theory
* The job characteristics model
* The fulfilment theory
* The equity theory
These models shall be discussed below to aid the research to find the basis of high performance work systems in the workplace.
Theories of Employee Motivation for performance
The two-factor theory
This theory also known as the motivator-hygiene theory is the work of Fredrick Herzberg (1968). The theory is on the premise that employee satisfaction has two dimensions namely “hygiene” and “motivation”. (Agarwal.1983). According to Herzberg, Hygiene factors include those aspects such as company policies, supervision, salary, interpersonal relations and working conditions. Motivators include those aspects that satisfy people such as achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility and advancement. The model was criticised by researchers who failed to empirically measure of satisfaction as being a methodological artefact. (Wikipedia encyclopaedia).

High performance work systems characteristics Model
The model was proposed by Hackman and Oldham (1976), which states that there are five core job characteristics, which impact three critical psychological
states. The five core job characteristics include:

* Skill variety: employees use a variety of skills to complete their jobs, skills that have been acquired by long years of study and/ or experience and are the primary reason for their employment and work allocation in a business organisation * Task identity: involvement of the employee in all steps of the job, thus providing identification with the task. * Task significance: The significance of the job being properly executed to the well being of the organisation. * Autonomy: The freedom to do the job with responsibility and by oneself. * Feedback: The provision of feedback providing information about the excellence of performance of the job. The three psychological states include:

* Experienced meaningfulness,
* Experienced responsibility for outcomes, and
* Knowledge of the actual results.
The Fulfilment theory
According to Agarwal (1983), fulfilment theory regard satisfaction as resulting from outcomes (rewards) a person receives or the extents to which a person’s needs are satisfied. The difficulty with the fulfilment approach is that satisfaction is a function of not only what a person receives but also what he feels he should receive and/or wants to receive. People have different expectations and what satisfies one may dissatisfy another. Equity Theory

According to literature by Agarwal (1983), a person’s satisfaction is determined by his perceived equity. Received equity is, in turn, determined by his input-output balance as compared to his comparison others’ input-output balance. Input-output balance is a perceived ratio of what a person receives from his job relative to what he put in the job. According to the equity theory, either under reward or over reward can lead to dissatisfaction although the feeling associated with them are different. As illustrated by the following diagram the comparison may result in one feeling unfairly treated when outcome received appears lower than others or feels guilty when received more than others. The equity theory

Perceived outcomes actually received
A = B

A < B

A > B
Guilty and discomfort
Perceived personal input

Perceived personal outcome that should be received
Perceived outcome of comparison others
Perceived input of comparison others

Fig 1.Equity Theory (Agarwal 1983)

Determinants of high performance work systems
Agarwal (1983) says that there are various factors that determine performance. These are discussed below.
Employee Supervision
As with Herzberg hygiene factors, supervision is critical to provide leadership to employees’ performance. A good leader is one who establishes trust from his followers and promotes feedback. He knows how to treat employees at different situations. Research has shown that low performance and low productivity occurs when a supervisor is a laissez faire type of leader. Agarwal (1983). Research has also discovered that those people’s reason to seek employment is to get paid (money) though not a motivator but they desire to be paid fairly. Management must always ensure consult for salaries and benefits to see whether their employees match the market. (Putting Theory Into Practice, October 1999 publication)

The work group in relation to employee performance
Employees need to socialise with others to create an environment of belongingness, develop a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. Social interaction creates organisational performance though depending on their affiliation. Inappropriate behaviour should not be encouraged though because of influences, but strong reprimands should be exercised. (Putting Theory Into Practice, October 1999 publication)

Job content in relation to high performance work systems Employees need to feel that the work or task they are doing is of great importance to the company. Their contributions result in positive outcomes. It is therefore essential for management to recognise as an important a task to the overall achievement of the organizational goals. Agarwal cited Herzberg, Mauner and Suyderman as holding a view that job content factors such as achievement, recognition, advancement, responsibility and the work itself tend to provide satisfaction but their absence such as supervision, working condition, company policies and salary tend to produce dissatisfaction but their presence does not produce satisfaction.

Age in relation to performance
According to Agarwal (1983), some research works have reported a positive correlation between age and performance. Older workers tend to be more satisfied with their jobs than their younger counterparts because older workers are said to have adjusted to their jobs while young workers still have ambitions and need for advancement. Job Satisfaction and performance

The analysis of results from the work of Herzberg et al, on twenty-six studies focusing on the relationship between job satisfaction and performance, fourteen of these showed that workers with positive job attitudes had higher performance than those with negative attitudes. Nine studies have shown that job attitudes and performance were not related, and in three studies, workers with positive attitudes had poorer performance records than those with negative attitudes. Lawler, 1977 and Porter, 1961, hold the view that it is productivity that leads to satisfaction and not the vice versa. Performance leads to rewards and if these rewards are considered
to be equitable in relation to the perception of the worker of the rewards of his referent others and his perceptions of what he should receive, he will experience satisfaction. The following is the illustrative diagram. Model of performance leading to satisfaction

Perceived equity of rewards in relation to referent others

Reward intrinsic & extrinsic


Perception of how much he should receive

Fig 2.Source: Agarwal 1983: Model of performance leading to satisfaction Adapted from Lawler III & Porter “The effect of Performance on job satisfaction”, Human relations, October, 1967 P23 1.5 Justification of the study

The area of discussion is worth studying because it aims at alerting the management of the Harare City Council how their service provision are being hindered by the employee performance, thus organisational performance is affected as well. As such the research is vital as it will help in gathering or adding information on the importance of high performance work systems being as well as its importance to the Ministry of local government urban and rural development. The Minister will be able to see if there are any amendments which need to be done and if there are any gaps left which need to be filled. Furthermore the research will see the researcher attain the ultimate goal for a Bachelor of science Honours degree in Local Governance Studies 1.6 Research Methodology

Various techniques will be exploited to achieve the proposed objectives of the study. Haralambos (1995:36) asserts that:
Any academic subject requires methodology to reach its
Conclusions, it must have ways of producing and analysing
Data so that theories can be tested, accepted or rejected
without a systematic way of producing knowledge the
findings can be dismissed.
The researcher is going to use both quantitative and qualitative techniques to come up with conclusions as both techniques can be used to complement each other as well as questionnaires. According to wordiq.com (2011), quantitative research is the numerical representation and manipulation of observations for the purpose of describing and explaining the phenomena that those observations reflect. It is bent on developing and employing mathematical models. On the other hand, Qualitative research is a method of inquiry appropriated in any different disciplines. It means a non numerical data collection or explanation based on the attributes of the source of data. Qualitative research is used to gain insight into people’s behaviour, attitudes, value systems, motivations concerns, aspirations, culture or lifestyles. Christensen (1994) expressed that a sample makes a better study. Leedy (1993) agreed with the same idea saying that, “the larger the sample the better.” I will select the people that are going to give relevant information to this study for example the most affected people and the possible problem solvers. 1.7 Research Tools

(a) Interviews (Group
The researcher intends to use interviews as a research technique. Gray et al (2007) allude that the best data gathering technique for survey research is the interview. These interviews will be done in groups so as to save time.

(b) Observation
The researcher will use observation in tackling the research problem. The rationale for using this technique is that the researcher intends to learn about the sensitive issues that participants might be unwilling to disclose or talk about with regards to the research. (c) Analysis of secondary sources

The researcher will make use of other researchers that have been studied in relation to the field under study. This will be done in order to weigh the impacts that the previous researchers have had. Target Population

The study will be focussing on the Harare City Council employees. Anticipated constrains
Wikipedia (2011:4) notes that any limit or restriction given for the design process is called a constraint. The study is likely to encounter a number of challenges which may compromise the quality of research results and these include: (a)Access to information

The information is mostly confidential in the Harare City Council thus releasing information might be problematic. Some may be reluctant to disclose such information as such the respondents will be guaranteed that their information will be treated with utmost privacy and confidentiality. (b)Resources

Resources such as time and finance may compromise the quality of the research as the researcher is a student with other university commitments

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