Discipline In The Public Service In Nigeria

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Discipline In The Public Service In Nigeria


The topic of this study was discipline in the public service of Enugu, state. (A Case study of ministry of Justice, Enugu). The study made use of both primary and secondary sources of data. The questionnaire was developed based on the four research questions. The population of the study was 1750 staff of the organization. The sample size was 300. The sample technique used was simple random sampling technique. The instrument used for gathering data for the study was questionnaire which was structured. The validity of the instrument was tested using pilot test technique. The reliability of the instrument was also tested using test retest technique. The simple statistical techniques of frequencies and percentages were used in the study. It was discovered that control and discipline could be best maintained in Ministry of Justice, Enugu by use of good leadership or authority. Enforcing working rules through the use of penalties deprivations and sanctions and closer and stricter supervision are best measures to promote discipline in the organization. The recommendation include that the management should endavour to create enabling environment whereby her employee would live up to expectation by avoiding all acts of indiscipline. Regular training and retraining of staff should be encouraged in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of work performance. A conclusion was drawn to the effect that every effort has to be made to ensure that control and discipline is maintained for growth of service in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

With the emergence of modern state and development of the parliamentary system of government, the civil service or public service has evolve as the bed-rock of the executive arm of government. Its main task has been the implementation or execution of government policies and programmes.

In addition, it is also responsible for the management of the machinery of government and carrying out daily duties that public administration demands. The public service administration is made up of ministries or parastatals or extra-ministerial departments.

There has been an impairment of discipline in the public service that the traditional role of policy implementation has been affected adversely. The civil service commission which is the body responsible for the effective maintenance of discipline hardly can perform this task these days. (Adabayo, 1994: 199).

According to Ani, (1991: 10), a good number of our public servants believe that the public service belongs to our then colonial masters and as such they throw discipline in the service to the winds. Under such condition of indiscipline, productivity in the service in adversely affected.

In the words of Ciroms, (1985: 5) the high rate of cases of indiscipline in the service has rendered the public service an adhoc affair instead of a permanent future of our modern government and administration.

The rules and regulations are given various interpretation to suit certain perceptions and to achieve selfish motives.
Adebayo, (1994: 180) believes that the high degree of indiscipline in the public service had give rise to (god-fatherism) nepotism, favouritism and inefficiency in the service. He went further to trace the cause to the attitude of our political leadership.

The views of Adebayo have gone to give credence to the fact that even public servants themselves no longer trust their colloquies. Appointments, promotions and even benefits have been offered to under public servants against the laid down civil service rules.

Worse still the public themselves (the tax payers) no longer have confidence on the civil servants and the necessary co-operation the public would have offered has been withdrawn. The net effect is that entire system is suffering and even getting to a total collapse. Johnson (1996:324), maintained that “every employer must have means to remove those who do not contribute to its mission”. If this is the case, the researcher is of the view that the civil service in the present time is experiencing terrible misdemeanor from its employees to the extent that the disciplinary methods or procedures seem to have no effect on them. If it has, why does the civil service have cases of frauds, truancy, absenteeism, lateness, and other general misconducts? Does it mean that control and discipline have no more relevance to the effective operation of the civil services? If it has, what effects have them on the system in the contemporary Nigeria society?

It is as a result of the above analogy and in response to the questions posed that this study examined the subject mather “staff control and discipline in the public service in Nigeria using Ministry of Justice, Enugu as a case study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The civil service has remained the bed-rock of modern government for the realization of goals and objectives in order words, it has remained as a very veritable instrument to sell government programmes to the public and to achieve concrete result in order to improve on the lives or welfare of the populace. Unfortunately the public service has been bedeviled with misconduct.

For an illustration the present day public servants have been guilty of dishonesty, drunkenness during official hours, false claim against government, falsification or suppression or cards, loitering, engaging in trade or business without authority, to mention but a few. (Monoh 1988: 40).

Adebayo, (1994: 168), admitted that indiscipline in the service had given room for inefficiency among the public servants. He blamed both government and the public servants themselves for this disease which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the public service in Nigeria.

Again, indiscipline in the public service has been used as major reasons to indict various government in our country. Indeed, it has been responsible for the poor economy of our nation. For instance, the inflation of contract award by the civil servants, embezzlement of public fund, civil servants, engage in political activities, they even go to the extent of disclosing unofficial information and so on and so forth (Nnawuba, 1996: 15).

It is point of fact that the civil service has a great role to play in the lives of both of the greatest problems impediments to the smooth administration of service is indiscipline. The researchers have therefore been compelled to carry out a study on discipline in the public service – a case study of ministry of Justice, Enugu.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

There is no doubt whatsoever that in any organization where control and disciplinary mechanism are not in place, the end result is inefficiency and low productivity in the performance of workers. Consequently, the use of discipline in any organization definitely should act as a paracea to such problems.

Therefore, the objectives of this study are to:

  1. Identify the disciplinary methods/procedures that exist in the Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
  2. Find out the relationship between discipline and efficiency in the performance of workers in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
  3. Prefer suggestions towards enhancing workers performance in the public sector.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the staff control and disciplinary methods/procedure existent in Ministry of Justice, Enugu ?
  2. What factors assist control and discipline in Ministry of Justice, Enugu?
  3. How can control and discipline be maintained in Ministry of Justice, Enugu?
  4. What measures do you suggest can be taken its promote discipline in Ministry of Justice, Enugu?

1.5 Hypotheses

Our research and analysis are based on the following basic assumptions through which we would elicit data and information for our work. These assumptions were formulated based on the objectives of the study and they are:

  1. Ho – Staff control and discipline do not exist in the Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
    H1 – Staff control and discipline exist in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
  2. Ho – Staff control and discipline do not enhance efficiency in to performance of workers in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
    H1 – Staff control and discipline enhances efficiency in the performance of workers in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
  3. Ho – Some other measures cannot be introduced to promote efficiency in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
    H1 – Some other measure can be introduced to promote inefficiency in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
  4. Ho – Staff control and discipline cannot be maintained in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.
    H1 – Staff control and discipline can be maintained in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is on the issue “Discipline in the public service in Nigeria using Ministry of Justice, Enugu as a case study”. The study is therefore, very significant because it will enable the researcher highlight on the concepts control and discipline and its relevance in organizations. And this will be of immense benefit to the superiors in the Nigeria public, since the ability to apply this will help them to stem the tide of inefficiency and low performance in this sector.

This study will be of great benefit to the workers in the public service as the study will unveil some of the disciplinary methods and procedures and their effects on workers. Therefore, workers will be opportuned to have insight and take necessary correction for improve performance in the public service.

Private sector organizations would benefit from this study because the findings and subsequent recommendations by the researcher will make them learn more about control and discipline and its impact on workers performance and this will enable them know how to apply them in their sector.

This study would be significant to the researcher as it would serve as an achievement in the academic circles.
Finally, this study saves as another contribution to the academic development to the concept control and discipline, and for this reasons will be of immense benefit to students. They will find this study very useful since the information they will gather, would assist them especially those who may wish to carry out further research on the subject matter in future.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study is a case study research with Ministry of Justice, Enugu. In the same way all the staff of the ministry participated. The research was a descriptive analysis. Being a case study research, the generalizability of the study covered the samples used in the study as the target population from where the sample was drawn.

A study of this nature cannot be completed successfully without some constraints or limitations being experienced by the researcher. In view of this, one of the limitations as experienced by the researcher was inadequate time. The researcher being a civil servant had to combine his work with carrying out the study.

Another limitation to the study was lack of finance. A study of this nature requires enough fund to enable the researchers make regular visits to the organization selected for the study so as to elicit information on the subject matter under study. But the problems of inadequacy of fund nearly impeded the efforts of the researcher in this direction.

The cooperation of some staff of the organization administration used was not encouraging as many of them refused to offer vital co-operation for fear of being held guilty of divulging official secret. Some of these respondents were hesitant to accept and complete the copies of questionnaire administered to them by the researcher.

1.8 Operationalization of Key Concepts

In a study of this nature, it is worth while to give the operational definition of the key concepts, terms or variables which may occur frequently or from time to time in the course of the work. The following definitions of terms simply represent the meaning(s) given to them in the study. The terms include:


A number or group of regularly paid workers in a workplace or organization.


Power or authority to supervise, to monitor one’s activities or actions in a work place based on superior/subordinate relationship; to hold in check; a curb. Control is also a management function of ensuring workers’ performance through the use of coercion, manipulation, authority and persuasion.


According to Hornby, discipline refers to the “training, especially of the mind and characters, to produce self-control habit of obedience, etc. second, Webstar defined the concept as “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training … etc”. we will marry the two closely related definitions to arrive at an operational definition of discipline as punishment used to correct or to train any deviant or ineffective worker in an organization.


In this work, organization is taken to mean a public enterprise which employs a large number of people as workers and posses those characteristics as any bureaucracy.


This means ability to bring about the intended result. An organization is therefore, effective when it is able to achieve its sets goals and objectives.


This is synonymous with capability. It is the ability to perform duties well leading to producing a descried or satisfactory result. It could therefore, be said that efficiency leads to effectiveness.


The process of influencing people to achieve certain objectives without using unduly coercive tactics.


For this study, the term management is used to refer to human element at the helm of affairs in an organization.

Public Service:

This refers to organization (government owned) through which government use it execute or carry out its policies and programmes.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

It is necessary here to present the summary of findings from the research work as matter which is staff control and discipline in the Public service in Nigeria, with particular reference to Ministry of Justice, Enugu . The researcher after the presentation, analysis and interpretation of Data collected made the following findings.

The research discovered that staff control and discipline, very greatly, affect the performance of staff in Ministry of Justice, Enugu . What this meant was that staff control and discipline can improve performance of workers by issuing of quency suspension, Dismissal or termination of appointment of recalcitrant employees.

It was also discovered that staff control and discipline could be best maintained in the Ministry of Justice, Enugu by use of good “Leadership or authority” and “Persuasion”. In this respect, authority is the formal right granted by an organization to carry out an activity while control by persuasion is power to get things done by conviction.

Majority of the respondents were of the opinion that enforcing working rules through the use of penalties, deprivations and sanctions and closer and stricter supervision are considered as the best measure to promote discipline in Ministry of Justice, Enugu.

5.2 Conclusion

Staff control and discipline in Ministry of Justice, Enugu service is like the pivot and every other element revolves around it. Discipline is for both junior and senior staff. It is discipline that ensures that staff improve upon their performance. All hands should be on deck to ensure that discipline is maintained.

It is here suggested that to balance the lopsided equation more emphasis should be placed on the motivational aspects of discipline. There is need to applaud good performance and not merely to castigate unsatisfactory performance. Job satisfaction, on the other hand, is the core of motivation. It is suggested that decline in morale and discipline derives in part from decline in job satisfaction. To achieve job satisfaction employees, their skills should be emproved through training learning to learn, learning by doing. They should be deployed to job for which they are qualified.

Finally, it is strongly hoped that if the management of Ministry of Justice, Enugu will address the highlighted problems, they will go a long way towards improving the performance of staff in the attainment of better staff control and discipline efficiency and effectiveness.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings made which have been discussed above, the under mentioned recommendations are made:

  1. The management of Ministry of Justice, Enugu should endeavour to create the enabling environment whereby her employees would live up to expectation by avoiding all acts of indiscipline. There should be adequate provision of qualified personnel who are employed based on the existing rules and regulations. Adequate materials for work have to be made available and that enough fund must be provided. All these are necessary for the good and improved performance of staff in Ministry of Justice, Enugu .
  2. Regular training and retraining of staff of Ministry of Justice, Enugu should be encouraged in order to ensure optimum performance and maximum productivity. The gain of training or education of staff cannot be over emphasized. The training should be all embracing that is all the employees must be involved. A situation where only the top ranking officers in the organizationare trained should be avoided. By training a security man or a messenger, for example his or her attitude to work would improve. Lack of adequate fund should not be used as excuse for non training and or retraining of staff. On the other hand, staff who have been able to sponsor themselves for one type of seminar, conference, workshop of the order should be encouraged. In the same vein, staff should be encouraged to improve on their level of education.
  3. It is evident that every employee joins the organization with specific expectations. When these expectations are not met the employees became apathetic and indifferent towards his or her work, or engage in some other forms of offensive behaviour. Consequently, management may be tempted to force such employee into directing his or her efforts towards the goals of the organization, when force is applied in such a situation, there is the tendency that those highlighted problems will be magnified. And as such they are here recommending that the organization should endeavour to provide their members with opportunities for satisfying many different types of needs. This is turn would help in promoting cooperation and obedience to rules and regulations.
  4. Finally, good leaders should be put in positions of trust. A good leader would work by applying the rules and regulations that would promote industrial harmony and hence efficient performance.

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