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1.1 Background to the Study

Typically, when we refer to a person’s attitudes, we are trying to explain his or her behavior. Attitudes are evaluative statements either favorable or unfavorable concerning objects, people, or events. They reflect how one feels about something (Robbins, 2003). An attitude is a predisposition to make certain kinds of judgments about people, issues and events, usually in specific situations. Personal attitudes are a reflection of the broad values held by the individual. Attitudes lead to the development of personal opinions and prejudices, as well as contributing positively to an individual’s exercise of judgment. Some attitudes are held firmly and are unlikely to be changed in a person’s lifetime. Others are held less firmly, and are subject to change, where the individual perceives it useful to do so (Cole, 1996).

An attitude is a positive or negative feeling or mental state of readiness, learned and organized through experience that exerts specific influence on a person’s response to people, objects and situations. Attitude is termed as a hypothetical construct that presents an individual like or dislike for any behavior. (Porter and Steer, 1982). Attitude includes tri- component: an affect (a feeling), cognition (a thought or belief), and behavior (an action). Attitudes help us define how we see situations, as well as how we behave toward the situation or object. It involves feelings, thoughts and actions. Attitudes also provide us with internal cognitions or beliefs and thoughts about people or objects ( Klins, 2000).

Although the feeling and belief components of attitudes are internal to a person, we can view a person’s attitude form his/her resulting behavior. The way a person acts determines his output in his/her place of work.

In line with Newstorm and Davis (1993), attitudes are reasonably good predictors of behaviors. They provide clues to an employee’s behavioral intentions or inclinations to act in a certain way. Positive job attitudes help to predict constructive behaviors; negative job attitudes help to predict undesirable behaviors. When employees are dissatisfied with their jobs, lack job involvement, and are low in their commitment to the organization .wide variety of consequences may follow. This result is especially likely if the feelings are both strong and persistent. Dissatisfied employees may engage in psychological withdrawal (for example, day dreaming on the job), physical withdrawal (for example, unauthorized absences, early departures, extended breaks, or work slowdowns), or even overacts of aggression and retaliation for presumed wrongs.

 Systemic derived from the word system can be viewed in many forms and discipline. System in management science is a framework of policies, processes and procedures used to ensure that an organization can fulfill all tasks required to achieve its objectives.  In all the institution of higher learning in Nigeria particularly University, system deals with how a university operates among others such as” curriculum development, sourcing, recruitment, retention of quality staff, manpower training and development to influence employees performance toward achieving a set target.

How employee feel about their job situation and their commitment to the organization are among the most critical consequences that managers can strive to improve for positive job performance (Tosi et. al, 2004). Systemic factors like staff development, promotion, motivation, go a long way in influencing staff attitude to work either positively or negatively.

In Nigeria higher education system comprises of universities, polytechnics, colleges offering programmes in teacher education and agriculture. A University is an institution of Higher learning with power to grant degrees, its body of Teachers, Students, Graduates, etc its colleges or its buildings.

The University system comprises of several organs which makes up the operational system. these body work under a management team to meet the objectives of the university, the Organs of a university comprises of the governing council, senate, congregation, convocation and the officers who perform managerial functions are the visitor, the Chancellor, the Pro Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Principal Officers, and other staff( Idris, 2015)

Many employees expect that it is the responsibility of the Management system to enhance their performance through training programmes, motivation, incentives, promotion among others; their expectations from management play a vital role in attitude development which in turn influences their job performance.

According to Gattikerll and Lawood( 1984)the concept of performance has been given various definitions. These definitions in one way or another confirms that performance involves the displaying of knowledge, abilities or skills acquired by individuals. Lindsay (1981) refers to the term “performance” as involving the notion of accomplishment, achievement and the execution of a task. This definition implies that the individual posses certain skills which are displayed in carrying out the task. Good (1995) also sees performance as actual accomplishments as distinguished from potential ability. This means that what can be done or achieved with available skills constitute performance. Employees job performance has been defined as work performance in terms of quantity and quality expected form each employee. (Khna et al, 2010).

 With increase in competition, institutions have recognized the importance of the employee’s job performance to compete in this global market because as the performance of the employee increases ultimately the objects of the institutions are met. According to locke( 1976), job performance is pleasurable or positive resulting from the appraisal of one’s job.

Staff attitude and management system has direct impact on performance of staff in tertiary institutions. According to Chang (1999), the system of an institution and how it is managed plays a vital role in developing the behavior, beliefs and attitudes of employee.

According to Buriss(2008), organizations have positive prospects from employees training programmes and formulates their attitudes, behavior and trust through diverse nature of training and performance tools that positive attitude towards work. Greater organizational commitment increases job satisfaction which in turn enhances job performance of staff. How people behave at work often depends on how it feels about being there which in turn determines his job performance. (Linz, 2012)

Various studies (Onu et al., 2005; Sur et al., 2004; Tutuncu and Kozak, 2006; Knowles, 1978, Salmond, 2006; Wiedmar, 1998; DeVaney and Chen, 2003; Greenberg, 1986) have identified factors that influence job performance to include inter-personal relationships, conditions of service, type of social insurance possessed, supervision, promotion, job design, organizational environment, laziness, gender, equal treatment by management, income and attitude, training and incentive packages among others. Much of the discussion on job performance has been done in the context of the developed countries with few studies in the developing countries. Tertiary institutions particularly universities in the country have been facing significant losses of staff that put in passion for the job. Weiss (2002) argued that it is an attitude but pointed out that researchers should differentiate between the objects of cognitive evaluation which affect (emotion), beliefs and behaviors. Other authors argue that job performance may be influenced by factors such as workload, physical conditions, and carrier aspirations of individuals. Furnham (1992) categorizes factors that can have an influence on job performance into three groups namely: I. Organizational policies and procedures that have to do with the nature of the remuneration package, supervision and decision-making practices, and the perception of the quality of supervision. II. Aspects of the total workload, the variety of skills applied, autonomy, feedback and the physical nature of the working environment III. Personal aspects such as self-image, ability to deal with stress and general satisfaction with life.

In many studies on job performance there is a manifestation of the unavailability of a generally accepted definition of job performance (Locke and Latham, 1990), and different terms being used interchangeably with other terms such as ‘morale, employee satisfaction, attitudes and opinions’ However, employee performance  in one form or another has been related to such behaviors  as laziness, absenteeism, productivity, group cohesiveness, general hygiene factors, job reward, personnel rights, unrest and performance appraisal (Barber et al.,1992; Danhoff, 1993). Job performance has also been correlated with factors related to the work itself or to the outcomes directly derived from it such as the nature of employees’ jobs, achievement of work, promotional opportunities and chances for personal growth and recognition. (Greenberg,1986). Previous research has also focused on the relationships between attitude and job performance as well as systemic factors to job performance and the following variables: performance, autonomy, supervisor support, equitable wages, social stimulation, working environments and personality variables (Organ, 1988). Job performance is a multi-pronged concept determinant by interplay of factors emanating from management policies and personality factors.

 Motivation, training, retainment and incentive packages of employee are extremely important systemic factors to job performance. Smith (1994) views attitudes such as laziness, dissatisfaction with job, lateness and other individual behavior to be factors that go a long way to influencing job performance of staff in tertiary institutions.

The broad aim of this study is to ascertain the attitude and systemic factors that affect job performance among staff in tertiary institutions in Nasarawa State. Specifically, the study seeks to determine how factors related to attitude and systemic factors (behavior of employee and Management policies) affect job performance of staff in tertiary institution in Nasarawa State.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Behavior of an employee at work relates to his/her job performance. Job performance of an employee is concerned with two aspects. First, employee should perform his/her job in such a manner that it leads to achievement of desirable ends. Second, he/she should use organizational resources efficiently by avoiding or minimizing the waste in performing the job activities. Attitudes have significant effects on the behavior of a person at work. Some of the areas of attitudes that a person in the world of work is concerned with are superior, subordinates, peers, supervision, pay, benefits, promotions or anything that leads to trigger positive or negative reactions. These attitudes reflect a particular person’s likes and dislikes towards other people, objects, events and activities in that person’s surrounding environment. Some of the strong attitudes are likely to affect person’s behavior and this makes the enthusiasm to study and know about attitudes.

Empirical researches discovered this relationship between employee job attitudes and employee job performance. Most of the studies have been done in the western context. To fill this research gap that needs research attention to help further build the theory and literature of employee work related attitudes and job performance.

Attitudes are developed as a result of some kind of learning experiences, or attitude can also be formed simply by adapting the example and opinion of employees, friends and managers. This is mimicry or imitation, which also has a vital play in developing negative attitude at workplace. When workers have negative attitude towards work, the consequence can create problem in applying the prescribed job design, which means there will be failure in accomplishing organizational goals. The good thing in raising the level of attitude has led to a focus on identifying the range of causes that shape poor attitude as well as understanding how these causes operate to limit or enhance the performance of workers. Poor attitude has been viewed as performance that is adjudged by the owners/customers and some other significant as fallen below an expected standard. Poor attitude of workers has been observed among employees in tertiary institutions.

 The poor attitude among workers has been and is still a source of concern to the management of tertiary institutions. This is because of the great importance that workers have on the organizational development of any formal entity. All over the world there is unanimity of opinion about the fallen standard of workers attitude. Tertiary institutions particularly universities in the country have been facing poor staff performance which is attributed to   poor attitude of staff to work as well as systemic factors such as unfairness, lack of training, Lack of motivation, incentive packages among others. This complicates the implementation of objectives of the institutions. The University system is an inclusive affair that involves the participation of all organs and the officers as well as staff. Tertiary institutions in Nasarawa state are operating by a system comprising of both teaching and non-teaching staff. The job schedule of these staff are put together to achieve the objectives of the institutions. Since the creation of the state in 1996, some tertiary institutions have been established though not many in number compared to other states in the country. Based on the stated background of this work, attitude and systemic factors have direct impact on job performance both negatively and positively. This job performance is characterized by staff attitude and systematic factors such as motivation, incentives, laziness, absenteeism, unfairness, and training, promotion, among others.

Therefore the problem of this study is to find out the attitude and systemic factors influencing job performance of staff in tertiary institutions.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to determine the influence of Attitude and Systemic factors on job     performance of staff in tertiary institutions in Nasarawa State. Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. To identify the various attitudes that affect job performance of staff in tertiary institutions
  2. To investigate the systemic factors that affect job performance of staff in tertiary institutions.
  3. To find out how attitude affects job performance of staff in tertiary institutions.
  4. To determine how systemic factors affects job performance of staff in tertiary institutions
  5. To determine the measures to be adopted to reposition the attitude of staff toward effective job performance in tertiary institutions.
  6. To find out the measures to be put in place to remove any negative impact of systemic factors on staff performance in tertiary institutions.

1.4 Research Questions

Based on the objectives of the study, answers will be sought to the following questions

  1. What are the various attitudes that affect job performance of staff in tertiary institutions?
  2. What are the systemic factors that affect job performance of staff in tertiary institutions?
  3. How do attitudes affect job performance of staff in tertiary institutions?
  4. How do systemic factors affect job performance of staff in tertiary institutions?
  5. What measures are to be adopted to reposition the attitude of staff toward effective job performance in tertiary institutions?
  6. What measures are to be put in place to remove any negative impact of systemic factors on staff performance in tertiary institutions?

1.5 Hypotheses        

Based on the stated problems and research questions, the following hypothesis were drawn and developed for testing this study: HO= Null hypothesis; HI= Alternative hypothesis

H01:     There is no significant effect of attitudes of staff in tertiary institutions towards work on job performance.

H02:     There is no significant effect of Systemic factors on staff job performance in tertiary institutions.

1.6   Significance of the Study

The general relevance of the study lies in its attempt towards examining how attitude and systemic factors affects job performance in the followings areas:

In particular, by using tertiary institutions (University) in Nasarawa state, the research findings will provide quantitative information, which will enable the management to know and appreciate the impact of attitude and systemic factors on job performance of staff in tertiary institutions

The findings of the study will be relevant to tertiary institutions in Nasarawa State and Nigeria at large in understanding the extent to which work attitude and systemic factors can influence job performance of staff

A further justification for the study will be the benefit of applying motivational techniques, training and other incentives for positive job performance

The research will add to the existing body of knowledge such as Public Administration and Management of the academic world.

 Finally, the findings of the study will serve as reference material to those seeking to further knowledge in the area of attitude and systemic factors as relates to job performance.

1.7   Delimitation of the Study

The study is aimed at finding out attitudes and systemic factors and its effect on staff performance in tertiary institutions. The study will be restricted to Universities in Nasarawa state. The research work will cover two selected tertiary institutions in Nasarawa state with a population of 400 staff (both teaching and non-teaching). The selected schools will be used for studies through administration of questioners to find out how attitude and systemic factors affects job performance of staff in tertiary institutions.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined for proper understanding of the study:     

Attitude: defined as a mindset or a tendency to act in a particular way due to both an individual’s experience and temperament. This is the way a person thinks, beliefs and behave

Systemic Factors: thisis the framework of policies, processes and procedures used to ensure that an organization can fulfill all tasks required to achieve its objectives.[

Performance: This refers to the notion of accomplishment, achievement and the execution of a task.

Tertiary Institutions:  a place where education if given after secondary education in universities, college of education, polytechnics, monotechnics including those institutions offering correspondence courses.