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According to the University of Guyana’s Strategic Plan 2009-2012, the University of Guyana (UG) is the premiere higher learning Institution in Guyana and was established in 1963, initially functioning as an evening Institution. It would continue to function in this capacity and offer its services for the first five years of existence, 1963 to 1968, until a generous donation of 1450 acres of land was made by the Booker Group of Companies to the then Government under the leadership of the Honourable L.
F.S Burnham. In 1968, the construction of the first Campus began at Turkeyen. Some thirty-two (32) years later, in the year 2000 the University extended its Campus and established the Berbice Campus at Tain in the Corentyne.
According to the University’s official website UG offers over 116 undergraduate and graduate programmes across seven Faculties and one School, and also has an extra-mural arm known as the Institute for Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) which has four Centres located in Georgetown, Anna Regina, Linden and Berbice, respectively.
Throughout the years, the University has not only extended its facilities, but has increased its programme offerings, has established new Faculties and Schools, and has seen an expansion of its human resource and employee base which has changed to accommodate the continuous growth of the Institution. The configuration of the Institution is sub-divided into Academic Units and Administrative Units. The Academic Units are generally responsible for the actual teaching and learning, promotion of research, and the diffusion of knowledge to and amongst the key stakeholders, which are the students.
Whilst the Administrative Units are responsible for providing the support services to facilitate the provision of academic deliverables with a degree of excellence, integrity and standard. The support provided by the Administrative Units ensure that all organizational measures are in place to facilitate the academic efforts. The University’s official website (2018) classified Academic Units to be the Faculties, Schools and the Institute for Distance and Continuing Education, whilst the Administrative Units includes the Vice-Chancellery, Library, Bursary, Personnel, Maintenance, Security, Centre for Information and Technology and the Registry.
At the University one of the most important Administrative Units is the Registry. The Registry is a central hub that functions not only as an interlinking body but strives to achieve synergy between the Academic Units and other Administrative Units across the University, with the overarching aim to establish synergies between the academic deliverables and the needs of the Guyana. In addition to the role it plays in the internal environment of the University, the Registry is also positioned to interact with the external environment such as Corporate Guyana, Universities Regionally and Internationally, Ministries of the Government of Guyana etc. The Registry has five subdivisions: Admissions, Examinations, Records and Data Management, Students’ Welfare and, Committees and Archives. At the University, the Registry is the competent and functional body that facilitates students from the application stage to the point of graduation; and also provides secretarial, document archival and overall support to facilitate the Governance of the University.
Therefore, given the vital role the Registry plays at the University of Guyana it can be assumed that the level of performance of the Unit will have an impact on the performance of the University as a whole. According to Mathis and Jackson (1997), in a competitive environment, many organisations do not succeed over the long term. Those that do, need ongoing contributions from the human resources in the organisation to become successful and continue their success overtime. They further utilised a conceptual model of Individual/Organisational Performance which indicated linkages beginning with individual characteristics and job characteristics that lead to and affect job satisfaction and organisational commitment levels of employees as well as productivity, quality and service levels of organisations. Therefore, it is possible that the level of job satisfaction and commitment of the employees of the Registry will have a ripple effect on the level of performance of those employees, which will affect the overall success and performance of the Unit and hence the overall performance of the University. It is in this light that the researcher aims to investigate what is the level of job satisfaction and commitment of the employees of the Registry and the impact this has on organisational performance.
According to the University of Guyana’s values, as set out in UG’s Strategic Plan 2009-2012 pg. 16, UG endeavours at all times to display a rewarding, enabling and safe environment where staff and students can perform to the best of their abilities and develop their careers. In keeping with this value, the level of job satisfaction and commitment of the employees can serve as an indicator as to whether the University is achieving the goal of a rewarding, enabling and safe environment where employee performance can thrive.
A SWOT analysis documented in the Strategic Plan of 2009-2012 indicated both strengths and weaknesses at UG as it relates to the employees. It highlighted that UG’s strength lies in its core staff who display a high level of commitment; both on the flip side identified its weaknesses to be: (i) the uncompetitive and unattractive staff remuneration resulting in rapid turnover and inability to attract well qualified staff, and (ii) the stressful environment with a sense of insecurity, low staff morale and poor performance. It can therefore be assumed that at the time of the SWOT analysis the level of commitment may have ranked high whilst the level of job satisfaction may have ranked low.
Over the last two decades the University has constantly been in the media for labour relation issues pertaining to industrial strikes and unresolved Union negotiations for an increase and improvement of employees’ wages and benefits. According to UG’s Strategic Plan 2009-2012 between the period 2002/2003 and 2008/2009, the annual turnover at the Turkeyen Campus ranged between 3.4 – 6.9% (average 5.5%) whilst at the Berbice Campus turnover ranged between 2.4 – 12.5% (average 6.2%). High turnover rates are usually correlated to dissatisfied employees, and thereby threatens one of UG’s core value to ‘display a rewarding, enabling and safe environment where staff and students can perform to the best of their abilities and develop their careers.’
It has been six (6) years after the period of implementation of the Strategic Plan and it is the purpose of this research to measure the current level of job satisfaction and commitment. However this research will focus on one Unit, the Registry, which currently has approximately fifty-five (55) full time employees across the two Campuses, Turkeyen and Berbice. The employees are a combination of upper management, middle management and lower management staff. In terms of the makeup of the fifty- five (55) staff at the Registry, 16% represent Senior staff (upper and middle management) whilst 84% represent Junior staff (lower management). The intention is to conduct a survey on the entire employee population in the Registry.
The specific objectives of this research are listed below:
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