Assessment Of The Impact Of The Work Environment On The Productivity Of Construction Skilled Workers
Management has a great effect on the job-site performance of construction skilled workers. This paper discusses “An assessment of the impact of work environment on the construction skilled workers in Imo State, Nigeria. It was carried out with the aim of assessing the efficiency and productivity of skilled workers on construction environment. The questionnaires and field approach was the method of study used. Data for the study were collected through secondary and primary sources and were analyzed by means of simple percentage, severity Index (likert scale) and productivity formula. The study found that certain groups of skilled workers are more productive on public construction work environment while others are more productive on private construction work environment.
The study also found out that the percentage agreement between public and private skilled workers in the ranking of productivity improvement factors on construction work environment is very low (16.67%). The study equally identifies and documented productivity improvement factor of skilled workers on building construction site. The study concluded that skilled workers on building construction site environment are productive and recommended good motivation/incentives scheme, quality professional management, inspection/supervisions and adequate supply of tools/materials as criteria factor for improvement of productivity on construction work environment.
1.1 Background of the Study
The Employees’ productivity is the heart and soul’ of any organization. Any successful business knows much of its success is due to diligent workers with excellent productivity. Employees who put forth extra effort often make a big difference in company profits. The employees who do only what the job duties require, and no more, can stymie the progress of a company. Increasing productivity is one of the most critical goals in business. Unfortunately, it’s an activity seldom accepted by Human Resource professionals as a legitimate mandate. While most Human Resource professionals acknowledge that their job entails establishing policy, procedures, and programs governing people management, few attempt to connect such elements to increasing employee output (volume, speed, and quality) in terms of revenue per employee. It is important to motivate all employees to reach their full potential and maximal their level of productivity. Companies that recognize and encourage increased productivity are likely to be more successful than their counterparts that don’t (Sahay, 2005). Kauno (2005) says productivity is important because it allows the business to be more cost effective. The more output a business has for a specific cause, the cheaper it is to produce the product. This in turn allows the business to have a higher profit. Productivity on the part of employees is important because getting your job done will help the company’s growth. If the company grows and progresses, profits will increase. If profits in the company increase, not only will the bosses be happier but they will hire more people and give raises to those doing a good job and increase benefits for them. If employees are shareholders in the company they will win even more benefits since their shares will be worth more and they will have a nice nest egg when they retire. Productivity is good for everyone and important for a company’s survival Kreitner and Kinicki (2007) stated, “Perception is a cognitive process that enables us to interpret and understand our surroundings”. When employees are evaluating their roles in the workplace, their perceptions of these roles may lead to either an increase or decrease productivity. Whether they develop positive or negative perceptions of their roles in the workplace may lead them to feel valuable, like the make a difference in the workplace, or invaluable and unimportant to the workplace. These varying perceptions are an extremely important concept for managers to understand in order to keep production up and even increase productivity. Managers must not only understand employees’ perceptions of their roles in the workplace, they must also be able to recognize the significance of these perceptions in order to meaningfully interact with employees and encourage them, therefore increasing overall productivity (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010).Ever since the dawn of civilization, man has indulged in some form of construction activity. In most countries, construction activity constitutes 6-9% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and more than half of the fixed capital formation as infrastructure and public utilities required for economic development (Chitkara, 2009). Like most developing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Libya and Malaysia, a major criticism faced by the Nigerian construction industry is the growing rate of delay in project delivery (Assaf, Alkhalil and Al-Hazmi, 1995; Saleh, 2009 and Yong, 1988). Majority of the construction projects in Nigeria experience delays which in turn lead to disputes, arbitration, litigation and sometimes the total abandonment of the project. In construction, the term “delay” refers to something happening at a later time than planned, expected and specified in a contract or beyond the date agreed upon for the delivery of a project (Pickavance, 2005). Research has shown that timely delivery of projects within budget and to the level of quality standard specified by the client is an index of successful project delivery (Chan and Kumaraswamy, 1994). The investigation of Odeyinka and Yusuf (1997) shows that seven out of ten projects surveyed in housing projects in Nigeria suffered delay in their execution. Construction industry in Nigeria is faced with a lot of problems, among which is delay in project execution. It has been researched, that delay is a major setback in the construction industry in Nigeria. The problem of delays in the construction industry is a global phenomenon. In Nigeria, it was observed that the performance of the construction industry in terms of time was poor. . Chan and Kumaraswamy  studied delays in Hong Kong construction industry. They emphasized that timely delivery of projects within budget and to the level of quality standard specified by the client is an index of successful project delivery. Failure to achieve targeted time, budgeted cost and specified quality result in various unexpected negative effects on the projects Normally, when the projects are delayed, they are either extended or accelerated and therefore, incur additional cost. The normal practices usually allow a percentage of the project cost as a contingency allowance in the contract price and this allowance is usually based on judgment. The award of the civil aspect of the Bonny NLNG construction project in 1996 to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. necessitated the extension of the company’s activities to Bonny Island and the employment of many individuals for the project execution. Since the individuals have diverse backgrounds and culture their interests, goals and values may not be compatible with that of the organization hence conflict may arise. The word conflict brings to mind images such as antagonism, struggles between parties, opposition processes and threats to cooperation. But not all conflicts come in these forms especially in the construction industry. They come in form of needs to be met or desires to be satisfied, disagreements to be settled and ideas to be shared that eventually lead to change of attitudes, feelings and perceptions. Fadipe (2000) sees conflict as a form of disagreement in an establishment between two individuals or groups who have cause to interact formally or informally. Similarly, Miller and King (2005), see it as basically a disagreement between two or more individuals or groups over compatible goals. Conflict therefore is a process of incompatible behaviours. It may involve the interference or disruption by one person or group of persons, or in some way or ways which make another action less likely to be effective. According to Deutsch (1973), conflict inevitably means that people are working against each other, in such a manner that what one wants is incompatible with that which another wants. It could bring about competition in the pursuit of goals. What the competitor gets comes at the expense of others or the job. It is therefore counterproductive, disruptive, unnatural, and produces a deviation from the free flow of events.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Conflict emerges in an organization when an individual perceives that his goals are threatened or hindered by the activities of another person. Most conflicts in in Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. Bonny Island, arises from the inability of the company to fulfill its collective agreement with its employees resulting in employees embarking on industrial action which may be work-to-rule or total strike. Employees’ industrial action usually results in loss of man-hours, machine-hours, output, skilled personnel, employees’ morale and organizational reputation. Though, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has not been experiencing incessant labour unrest since its mobilization to Bonny Island in 1996, it becomes pertinent for an assessment of the impact of work environment on the productivity of construction skilled workers and employees performance from the perception of the managerial and non-managerial employees of the company.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of the study is to assess the impact of work environment on the productivity of construction skilled workers. But to aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;
- To ascertain the effect of conflict on work environment of construction workers
- To ascertain the impact of work environment on the productivity of workers
- To examine the relationship between work environment and employee productivity
- To ascertain the role of management in creating a conducive working environment for construction workers
1.4 Research Hypotheses
To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher
- H0: conflict has no effect conflict on work environment of construction workers
H1: conflict has no effect conflict on work environment of construction workers
- H02: work environment has no impact on the productivity of construction skilled workers
H2: work environment has impact on the productivity of construction skilled workers
1.5 Significance of the Study
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be useful to the management of construction companies, as the findings will enable them create a peaceful and conflict free working environment for construction workers, the study will also be of importance to entrepreneur and intending entrepreneur as the findings of the study will enable them create a work friendly environment for the employee’s as this will enhanced profitability and general productivity. The study will also be useful to management, students lecturers, teachers and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter, the study will also be useful to researchers who intends to embark on a study in a similar topic.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of the study covers an assessment of the impact of work environment on the productivity of construction skilled workers. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study;
(a) Availability of Research Material:
The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement. Contract is a branch of the law of obligations in jurisdictions of the civil law tradition
Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction typically takes place on location for a known client.
A construction worker is a tradesperson, laborer, or professional employed in the physical construction of the built environment and its infrastructure
1.8 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was on assessment of the impact of work environment on the productivity of construction skilled workers.
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of work environment in construction sector
The study has discussed work environment on the productivity of construction skilled workers, management and employee’s performance in Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. It assumes that integration of all stakeholders’ interests will go a long way in reducing conflicts in organizations and enhancing employees’ performance. It is based on the democratic conflict management strategy. The three major findings of the research are as follows: Conflict management strategies in place at Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. have been relatively useful in minimizing the incidence of disruptive conflicts. There is a significant relationship between conflict management strategies and employees’ performance in Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. Bonny Island. There is a significant relationship between managerial and non-managerial employees perception of the effectiveness of conflict management strategies in Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
The research is investigated dimensions of workplace environment in terms of physical as well as behavioral components., survey results show that while the employees are unhappy with the physical conditions of the workplace, they have remarkable satisfaction with the workplace by having strong behavioral workplace conditions. According to the survey results it is proven that workplace environment affects employee performance but behavioral workplace environment has greater effect on employees’ performance.
Haven completed the study, the following recommendations were made by the researcher;
Entrenchment of Industrial Democracy:
Julius Berger management in should create room for equal participation of employees of all categories in resolution of trade disputes.
Regular Employees / Management Meetings:
Employees/management meetings should be conducted on regular basis to identify and resolve labour/management issues that could result in labour unrest.
Strict Implementation of Collective Agreement Issues:
Julius Berger management should strictly implement agreements it reached with labour unions.
Establishment of Additional Communication Channels:
Management should create additional channels of communication with employees as means of obtaining prompt feedback on organizational policies.
Regular Review of Personnel Policies:
Julius Berger management should regularly review their personnel policies to eliminate clauses that could trigger labour unrest.
Regular Training of Employees:
Julius Berger management should embark on regular training of its employees to eliminate ignorance and reduce areas of friction between labour and management and eliminate unnecessary labour unrest.
Fair Remuneration of Employees:
Julius Berger management should fairly compensate their employees for their efforts so as to reduce dissatisfaction among the workforce.
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