RECORDS MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, COMPUTER LITERACY SKILLS AND JOB PERFORMANCE OF REGISTRY STAFF OF UNIVERSITIES IN OGUN STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
Universities, in the course of their daily activities create records that support the job they carry out on daily basis. Through this means, they generate volumes of electronic and physical records especially through the hub of students’ records management unit – the Registry Department. Adu (2014) stated that, universities have legal backing to retain and preserve all records of their activities and proceedings. These records are considered of great importance to the university and as such need to be strictly preserved.
The registry is the heart of the university/organization from where managerial and scholarly exercises emanate into all arms the university. The registry department as the heart of the university’s administrative activities is manned by diligent staff to enhance its service delivery. The registry department is a key unit of any university system with responsibility of creating and keeping records (manually and electronically) of students which the university uses in its strategic management. The population of students in all tertiary institutions is always on the increase and the registry is the first point of call for these students. The registry has the responsibility of carrying out vital duties such as admitting new students, conducting examinations, verifying results, maintaining archive reports, preparing and providing transcript, course forms’ preservation, providing schedule for classes, changing names of people, and preparing graduate academic records. Osibanjo, Adeniji, Falola, and Heirsmac (2014) opined, for any university to accomplish its key objectives, such university is assumed to wholeheartedly rely upon her ability to attract, maintain, and keep up equipped and fulfilled staff into its work. Therefore, it is the responsibility of registry staff to record, keep and manage these records, using good record management practices. Their ability to effectively manage these records will determine the caliber of records/information the universities are bound to have and the type of decision they will be making, and also determine the degree of their job performance.
Job performance, according to Chee (2003) is the employee’s level of achievement against the standard determined by the employer. It is also the contribution by the employees to the organization. Job performance has been a thing of debate especially on the measurement of employee job performance. An organization is recognized by its effective performance and this is only achievable through high level of individual performance. Bullock (2013) defined job performance as the overall expected value from employees’ behaviours carried over the course of a set period of time. The definition includes specific ideas such as (a) seeing performance as what people do at work or a component of their behaviour. (b) Seeing that an employee’s behaviour will add expected value to the organization’s improvement- meaning, an employee’s behaviour may be seen as helping to build or destroying an organization, but the result of employee behaviours are not easily measured which makes their value difficult to be anticipated as well.
Job performance is how one carries out his/her task, duties and responsibilities associated with a particular job (Madukoma & Popoola, 2012). It is the activities expected of an employee and ways he executes those activities. Job performance is equally referred to as the extent a worker identifies psychologically with his or her job. Thornton (2010) and Adetoro (2014) stated that an out put on a job is measured in terms of quality and quantity of job performed or done and that job performance is an indicator for managing organizations’ performance of which the registry of universities is inclusive. Similarly, Okorie (2015: 25) interpreting the words of Jex (2002) opined that job performance is “all the behaviours employees engage in while at work”; and that job performance could be approached in three dimensions; as a function of outcomes, behaviour and personal traits. Quantity and quality, speed and accuracy, creativity and innovation, risk taking and skills for future development are such parameters which have been proposed for measuring job performance. Further studies have shown job performance from general to specific aspects and from quantitative to qualitative dimensions which corroborated the points recent studies have shifted from, by defining job performance in terms of outcomes and behaviour since these are easier and more objective to define and to observe than personal traits (Denga, 2010; Milkovich & Wigdor, 2010; and Karavardor, 2014). Thus, job performance of the registry staff of universities is the ability to cooperatively carry out statutory activities based on ones area of specialization and organizational goals. The source of any university growth is deeply rooted on the capability of the employees within that university.
Job performance of an employee necessitates organizational performance; meaning that the way an individual worker does his/her job reflects to the organizational goal which is a sign of the capacity of a company to efficiently achieve independent goals. What a person does on a job can be measured as a function of two different variables. One of it is the capacity or skill of the individual to do the job; and his motivation to use the capability in doing the job (Vroom, 2000). Highly motivated employees, according to studies tend to perform well in their call of duty which in turn affects the university in a positive way: from inspiring fellow employees, to creating positive financial growth for the university as a whole. This is aligned with the responsibility for every registry staff to give the best to their jobs for an effective result.
Madukoma (2012) affirmed that effective job performance must have constructive impact on the organization and her employees. Job performance is a way the organizations ensure production, economic growth and survival of their firm is achieved. It provides the employees with numerous social amenities in terms of educational opportunities, medical benefits, economic gains, recreations, security, family, social status, and prerogatives. Moreover, performance indictors like quality of work, quantity, timeliness, cost effectiveness, creativity, and innovativeness, adherence to policy, personal appearance, and management by objectives are the keys that guard registry staff in their official duty. Vroom (2000) added that employees tend to perform more when they are appreciated or motivated by their employers whereas lack of this affects their job performance negatively. Some factors however responsible for poor job performance of registry staff of universities appear to be both internal and external. The internal factors include job stress, lack of computer literacy skills, power (electricity), maintenance of infrastructures and communication barriers while the external factors include motivation/rewards, training, and long working hours. Job performance of registry staff of universities lie much on the above mentioned factors which play roles on the way they manage the records of their students.
Records serve as the reminiscence of an organization. They are created, processed, used, stored and retrieved assets of an organization that can be retained or destroyed. Records according to Vroom (2000) can be seen as any recorded information or data in any physical format or media created or received by an organization during its course of official business and kept as evidence of policies, decisions, procedures, functions, activities and transactions. Alegbeleye (1999) (as cited in Jibrin, 2014) opined that record enables an individual to know what he or she has kept in the past, present and future for easy retrieval and use either in primary, secondary or tertiary phase which is being used in different institutions or organizations. The importance of records especially to academic institutions is too numerous to mention as Atulomah (2011) viewed that records are helpful to administration. Thus, good records keeping are the basis of future planning in the university system. It enables the institution to take advantage of their past experiences and accurate records. Adu (2014) opined that records give room for organizations to be accountable and answerable to their clients. Records must be completed and be made available when the need arises. But, when these records are not managed very well, they will not provide the necessary backing required of it and needed information may be lost causing more havoc for the institution. Furthermore, an unmanaged and incomplete record is misleading and makes employee performance very difficult. It waists organization’s resources in terms of money, time and human resources and makes them open to security traits, prosecution and humiliation (Ibrahim, 2014).
Records can only be meaningful and useful when they are properly kept, updated at the right time, and accessible when needed. Updating records keep them alive and ready for retrieval and use when the need arises. Good keeping of records and maintenance can positively affect administration of students’ records in university system. It is therefore essential that all registry staff become professional record managers hence the futures of these students are in their hands. However, in some of the university registries, it appears that record keeping of students is poorly practiced and some of them are mutilated, torn, exaggerated, misplaced and irretrievable.
Popoola and Oluwole (2007) posited that Nigerian administrators are disturbed at the rate dynamic records are lost or misplaced as well as snail-like pace at which needed records are being retrieved from their source by records management personnel. More often, the lost or misplaced records creates gap for necessary actions on urgent matters, or lead to irrational decisions, which may translate to social crisis or embarrassment to the university system especially with proliferation of universities in the state. They further indicated that repeatedly lost or misplaced records can be considered to be a weakness of the institutional towards proper records management. Supporting the idea Nwaomah (2015) said that ensuring student records management effectiveness in the registry can be influenced by many variables; one of which is job suitability – where staff are not appointed based on qualification but rather who you know. Many registry staff or record managers seem not ready for the profession they found themselves in and thereby doing their work anyhow; while to some, their presence in the records and information management career is to fulfill all righteousness. This can be understood better in the unemployment saga where people can be placed anywhere if the opportunity arises outside their trained profession. Popoola and Oluwole. (2007) added that many of the record officers have not undergone prerequisite training for the job. Registry staff of universities ought to master how students’ records should be managed to meet the universities goals and objectives.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15489 (2001: 2) explained records management as “the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of an information about business activities and transactions in the form of records”. Records management is very essential as it helps individuals, organizations, and academic institutions to work effectively, efficiently and serves as the hub in information management. Records management therefore is an important function of an organization. ISO 15489 (2001) opined that a proper managed organization is of good and proper recordkeeping. In view of the above, Otu, Bempah and Amoako-Ohene (2014) added that for universities to manage student records effectively, they must develop the capacity of managing their records and information to the best of their ability. The concept of records management may not be obtainable if the proper facilities required for maintaining records are not available. This simply shows that for any organization to have and use their records as at when needed, facilities like computers, printers, cabinets, shelves, photocopies external storage devices and fireproof cabinet to mention but a few must be available.
Irrespective of the importance of records management in universities or organizations, Atulomah (2011) and Ajewole (2001) agreed that in Nigeria, we have numerous issues concerning records management not limited to records and information as such, but with those managing the two vital resources – information and records. The issue of managing university records by record managers has posed a serious threat to the preservation of vital records for future use due to absence of proper records management practices and skills required in the management of university records. According to Asuquo (2015), the major goal of any records management technique is to hand over such information to another generation for setting policies, standards, and setting up of other guide lines and responsibilities for the use of records.
Records management practices include how to identify (creation), classify, prioritize, store, secure, archive, preserve, retrieve, track and destroy unneeded records (Bake, 2015). According to Iron – Mountain (2005: 2) “it is important that organizations/universities have good records management practices in place for all media across all business units”. They can inculcate these practices into the memory (master plan) of the organization to achieve the goals. Universities and organizations produce large amount of records or information both in papers and electronic forms. To ensure that there is a flow in records management system, it is important that records/information is captured, used and stored/preserved in an organized manner that cares for its integrity as well as fulfilling legal and financial requirements. Achieving this height could be possible if the registry staff is in line with the global technological trend; being computer literate – that is, having computer skills to manage their records through the use of computer.
The computer, according to Otim (2000), is any device capable of automatically accepting data, applying a sequence of process to the data and supplying the result of this process. This makes the computer an indispensable tool for efficiency, improvement and precision for task execution. Asom (2011) supported that when a computer is programmed correctly and inputs are entered properly, the accuracy is virtually guaranteed. In terms of accuracy, a computer does exactly what it is instructed to do, so the same operations can be repeated many times without errors. In the same way, the speed of computer operations is considerably reasonable when compared with manual operations. The benefits of computer skills in university registry communication include its speedy and easy operation. It also enjoys the benefits of remote production, dissemination, preservation and usage of scholarly information. Computer enhances easy access, speed and accuracy for university registry staff to effectively and efficiently do their routine work. It has equally become an essential tool necessary for the implementation of every ICT program. Adeyinka and Mutala (2008: 18) see computer literacy skills as “knowing some basics of computer usage, for example, to type, save and open a file, use word processing program, send and receive email etc., it means having some sort of level of comfort around computers rather than having some fear or a feeling of foreboding”. Having the skill, knowledge and confidence of computer is an asset for entering the competitive market both internal and external.
Computers are constantly being used in every profession and that makes it significant for registry staff to have the skill in other to do their work well. Adeyinka and Mutala (2008) added that to have computer literacy skill is for the staff to be able to confidently know enough about the way a computer could be operated to ensure they don’t lose their work, and also to know how to use a web browser or email and a word processor to do their work effectively. These skills could be performed through: Operating systems and file management- where the staff is expected to know how to operate the software packages starting from opening and closing of files in a Microsoft Windows environment. They will also know how to save, copy or move files back-up and forth. The skill in computer operation will help the staff to create directories, and file organization. Technically they will know how to protect their records and their systems from computer viruses. Registry staff, considering the nature of their job needs operating system and files management skills for everyday operation. It is expected of them to be acquainted with how to adjust record attributes such as margins, typeface, font size, and text alignment; insert page numbers, headers and footers, special characters, footnotes and endnotes in records; use editing tools such as spelling and grammar checks; and adjust printing and paper lay-out options. They need word processing skills to produce professional-quality documents such as analysis of job done and reports.
The understanding, skills and self-assurance anyone has with computer technology stands as better opportunity for those entering any competitive employment market especially the university system. Computer literacy skill enables university registry staff to communicate information more effectively using spreadsheet or power point presentations. Registry staff can reach beyond confines of their communities when they know how to use web pages to publish information concerning their students/clients, send their transcripts, and their publications to the world.
The world is progressively branded by technology driven communication, which has converted the world into a large global connected village with ever-increasing outreach of information and communication technology (ICT). This technology is consistently playing an important role in the lives of people, and it is imagined that this technological literacy skills will sooner or later become a ticket or requirement for basically whatever people do in terms of work, social, and even personal lives respectively. Workers (registry staff) will need computer literacy skills if they are to survive in a knowledge-based society and/or manage their students’ records. This no doubt, indicates that for a proper record to be managed or kept by any registry staff effectively and efficiently, he/she needs computer literacy skill for an optimal performance. Incidentally, it seems that lot of them lack this potential which in most cases results to loss of records, and/or delay in retrieving records (example, students results, transcripts and other official records). Conversely, all registry staff should be able to understand this computer to the point of checking the internet with their browsers, using it to solve problems pertaining to their jobs and equally to access their mails. Therefore, registry staff need Internet skills to communicate with the management, students, and customers, conduct research, and send and receive files through the Internet.
In view of all the discussion, it is noted that records are mutilated, misplaced, irretrievable and poorly stored; and many of the personnel in charge of records lack proper training with the use of computer facilities and unable to handle new technologies to enhance efficiency and to promote their job performance (Popoola & Oluwole, 2007). The registry staff seems to have been saddled with more responsibility that results to job stress and lack of proper communication to execute their job which eventually affects their job performance. It is on this backdrop that this work, records management practices, computer literacy skills and job performance of registry staff of universities in Ogun State, Nigeria is carried out.
Ogun State was one of the states created in 1976 by the military government of Lt. Gen. Muritala Ramat Mohammed as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. It was carved out of the former Western State. It is situated very close to mega city of Lagos. It is one of the educationally advanced states in Nigeria. This is reflected in the number of Universities in the state. Abah (2015) reported that Ogun State is now the breeding ground of Universities as it has 14 out of a total of 147 universities in the country. Okebukola (2015) attributed this high number of universities in the state to its closeness to Lagos, proprietors’ influence, early access to missionaries and education as well as an investor-friendly environment.
Ogun State has fourteen (14) NUC accredited universities. This number is unequalled by any other state in Nigeria. These universities are; one federal university, two State owned universities and eleven private universities. This volume of universities in one state without doubt makes the services competitive and thereby detecting the job performance pace for the staff of each of the universities who tries smarter activities to gain more students and registry department playing a vital role in this regard.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Job performance is work related activities expected of an employee and how well those activities are executed. The job performance of registry staff is important as they promote the image of the university and uphold the future of the students. The ability of registry staff in management of students’ records from the point of entry to create, use, manage, store, retrieve, and dispose records according to the university policies coupled with the staff computer literacy skill will enable them to migrate or elevate their job from manual to electronic record keeping and thereby improving their job performance.
However, observations in recent times show that the job performance of registry staff of universities of Ogun State seems to be low and students complain of poor services rendered to them as there is misplacement and loss of important records and snail pace movement in retrieval of needed records. There are several challenges of records management in the registry of universities in Ogun State, Nigeria which is not domiciled alone on records and information as it were, but with those that keep the records (registry staff) with the two vital resources (records and information). This may be attributed to lack of records management practices knowledge and computer literacy skills of the registry staff as observed in the university registries of the study. Several studies have been carried out on records management of students but very few, if any, has been done in combination of records management practices and computer literacy skills as they relate to job performance. This is the gap this study plans to bridge.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the influence of records management practices, computer literacy skills on job performance of registry staff of universities in Ogun State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
- find out the records management practices in the university registries in Ogun State;
- ascertain the availability of facilities used in records management in the university
registries in Ogun State;
- ascertain the level of computer literacy skills of university registry staff
- find out the level of job performance of university registry staff;
- determine the influence of records management practices on job performance of university registry staff;
- establish the influence of computer literacy skills on job performance of university registry staff;
- find out the combined influence of records management practices used and computer literacy skills on job performance of the university registry staff and
- identify the challenges faced by registry staff in effective job performance in Ogun State universities
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study:
1. What are the records management practices used in the registries of universities?
2. What are the available facilities used in records management in registries of universities?
3. What is the level of computer literacy skills of registry staff in the universities?
4. What is the job performance of the registry staff in universities?
5. What are the challenges faced by registry staff in effective job performance in Ogun State universities?
The following hypotheses guided this study and the null hypotheses was tested at 0.05 level of significance.
H01: Records management practices has no significant influence on job performance of registry staff of universities in Ogun State.
H02: Computer literacy skill has no significant influence on job performance of registry staff in universities in Ogun State.
H03: Records management practices and computer literacy skills do not jointly influence job performance of registry staff of the universities in Ogun State.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study only covers the job performed by university registry staff using records management practice from the perspective of records creation, classification, storage, security, archiving, tracking, and destruction of records. Computer literacy skills only covers the knowledge of operating computer (typing, saving, and retrieving records) with usage of some software packages (windows, word, excel, power point, Microsoft office) and not related to programming packages; while job performance of registry staff in Universities in Ogun State centers on how effective and efficient they carry out their daily activities which can be determined through their effectiveness and efficiency is managing students records, their team work experience, leadership qualities, their dependability and timeliness, good communication and their punctuality to work.
The selected schools for study are Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Tai Solarin University of Education Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode (TASUED), Babcock University Ilisan Remo (BU), Crescent University Abeokuta, Covenant University (CU) Otta, South Western University Ijebu-ode and Crawford University Igbesa. The universities were basically selected to cover Federal, State, and Private Universities (base on their year of establishment). Also, the study is limited to the management of students’ records in the registry of selected universities, while students’ records in other units of the universities were not included.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study would serve as empirical evidence on records management practices, computer literacy skills and job performance of registry staff of universities in Ogun State Nigeria. It could help university administrators to create and adopt suitable policies and strategies that will improve the performance of registry staff in management of students’ records.
Similarly, the study would be of help to the registry staff as to knowing how to manage their students’ records effectively with the broad knowledge of records management practices and computer literacy skills. The findings of this study could help in protecting the cooperate image of universities as their students’ records would be found intact at all times.
The findings of this study could equally help the government and any other establishment outside universities, private or public dealing with records in managing their records effectively and efficiently. The findings of the study could contribute to the existing knowledge and literature on records management practices, computer literacy skills and job performance of registry staff of universities in Ogun state, Nigeria.
Furthermore, every firm that keeps records and their administrators could find the study relevant as it would show them the caliber of staff, the impact of training and retraining and essence of having adequate facilities for records keeping and how it could boost the job performance of their organizations.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Records: – This is information created, received, and maintained as an evidence of transactions and daily activities by the registry staff and the universities in the transaction of their business.
Records Management: – This is the practice of controlling the records of an organization (universities) from creation time to when they are due for disposal. This may include classifying, storing, securing, and destruction of records.
Records Management Practice: – Records management practice is a deliberate management of records to provide proof of business connections, decisions, contentment and a basis for effective service delivery.
Computer Literacy: – This is the ability of registry staff to know how to use a computer to create, process, manipulate, disseminate and use records.
Computer Literacy Skill: – The ability or the overall competence and know-how necessary for registry staff to use computer to type, save, retrieve and share information.
Job Performance: – Is the contribution or the extent to which a worker in an organization strives to achieve the organizational assigned goals.
Registry Staff: – These are people that work in the registry unit of an institution (excluding janitors, securities, and daily rated workers).
Ogun State: – This is one of the South-West States of the country Nigeria