ERGONOMIC PRINCIPLES AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE A STUDY OF SELECTED MANUFACTURING AND SERVICE FIRMS IN NIGER DELTA REGION, NIGERIA





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ERGONOMIC PRINCIPLES AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE
A STUDY OF SELECTED MANUFACTURING AND SERVICE FIRMS IN NIGER DELTA REGION, NIGERIA





ABSTRACT
This study examined the relationship between ergonomic principles and organizational performance in selected manufacturing and service firms in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Ergonomic simply means setting up working environment according to worker’s capabilities and needs so that their productivity and performance can be enhanced. The goal of ergonomic in workplace is to ensure a good fit between the workers and their jobs, thereby maximizing workers’ comfort, safety, wellbeing, productivity, quality and efficiency. Various relevant ergonomic concepts related to this study were critical reviewed and discussed. Using Bowleg (1964) population allocation formula, the sample size of two hundred and sixty-seven were derived from the population of eight hundred and four employees from twelve registered manufacturing and service firms in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Data were generated through the use of questionnaire, interviews, and previous articles relevant for the study. The study therefore adopted quantitative method as the dominant approach and supported with the qualitative method. Ergonomic principles is operationalized with work design, workplace design, and work environment while organizational performance is measured with employee turnover, absenteeism, quality production, and capacity utilization; production strategy is used as the moderating variables in this study. The hypotheses generated in this study were tested using Multiple linear Regression Analysis and Spearman Rank Correlation obtained in Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. Based on the SPSS version 20 used to determine the internal reliability of the variables only items that returns alpha values of 0.7 and above were accepted.






TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract                                                                                   i
CHAPTER ONE
1.1   Overview of the study                                                       1
1.2   Statement of the problem                                                7
1.3   Purpose of the study                                                                9
1.4   Research questions                                                          10
1.5   Concept framework: ergonomic principles and
Organizational performance                                             11                                                                           
1.5.1 Research Hypotheses                                                      13
1.6   Significance of the study                                                  14
1.7   Scope of the study                                                           14
1.8   Limitation of the study                                                     15
1.9   definition of terms                                                           16
1.10 organization of the study                                                        17
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1   Introduction                                                                     22
2.2   problems and limitations in Nigerian Manufacturing
        Sector                                                                              22
2.3   Ergonomic in Manufacturing/production                                26
2.3.1 Man and machine interaction                                         28
2.3.2 training and developments                                             30
2.4   Ergonomic and organizational performance                     32
2.5   facilities layout and performance                                     36
2.5.1. Factors in determining layout design                             36
2.5.2 Difference between office and factory layout                   38
2.6   concept of human performance technology                     39
2.6.1 making the HPT model work                                           41
2.6.2 Ergonomic in relations to HPT                                                41
2.7   Manufacturing sector performance and ergonomic          42
2.8   benefits of ergonomic intervention in organization          45
2.9   production strategies                                                       48
2.9.1 lean manufacturing strategy                                           50
2.9.2 Chase strategy                                                                        50
2.9.3 single minute exchange of die (SMED)                            51
2.9.4  Make to stock strategy                                                   51
2.9.5 value stream mapping                                                    51
2.9.6 Assemble to order strategy                                              52
2.10 organizational performance concept                                        52
2.10a work design and performance                                                53
2.10a.1 job design strategy                                                      56
2.10a.2 alternative work schedule options                                      58
2.10b workplace design and performance                                        59
2.10c work environment and performance                                      61
2.10d Non-financial Performance                                            63
 CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.0   Introduction                                                                     77
3.1   research                                                                           78
3.2   populations of the study                                                  79
3.3   sampling technique and sample size determination                80
3.4   data collection methods                                                   82
3.5   operational measurement of variables                             83
3.6   test of validity and reliability                                            84
3.7   Data analysis (statistical) technique                                        86
3.7.1 Multiple linear regression analysis                                 86
References
Bibliography
Letter
Questionnaire


ERGONOMIC PRINCIPLES ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE: A STUDY OF SELECTED MANUFACTURING AND SERVICE FIRMS IN NIGERIA DELTA REGION, NIGERIA
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1      OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY
In view of eh rapid growth in industrial production in the last decades, it has become necessary to approach issues of work organization, management and working conditions in a comprehensive manner. Organizations have begun to monitor closely all factor potentially impeding continues increase in productivity. Initially, advance were driven mainly by mechanization of the production process, which soon get out of control becoming a frequent cause of ergonomic problems and occupational injuries in an organization. The consequence was on increased role of the human factor as the main part of system composes of man, machine and the working environment (Szczepanska, 1998).
One of the engines behind eh aforementioned development has been the universal corporate pursuit of maximum benefits. The need to ensure a safe working environment is a prerequisite to providing high quality products and services. Ergonomics is one of the most important factors contributing to productivity increases, which consequently lead to more benefits business activities. A comprehensive analysis of working conditions allow organization management to adjust employee pay for risk faced in a given workplace and define competences required in specific jobs (Stephen, 1999).
Ergonomic deals with the application of information about human behaviours capabilities and limitations of the design of systems, facilities layout design, machine, tools, tasks or jobs, and work environment of productive, safe and effective use (Chaplains, 1985). It is a scientific discipline, which is concerned with improving the productivity, health, safety, quality and comfort of people, as well as promoting effective interaction among people, technology and the environment in which both must operate. Thus, ergonomic simply means setting up working environment according to workers capabilities needs so that their productivity and performance can be enhanced. The goal of ergonomics in workplace is to ensure a good fit between the workers and their jobs, thereby maximizing workers comfort, safety, health, productivity, quality and efficiency (Aaras, 1994).
Derived from the Greek words ergon (work) and nomos (laws) to denote the science of work, ergonomic is a system oriented discipline that extend to enhances the well –being of workers at work, eliminates reject rate, promote good quality products and services in an organization (http.www.iea.cc,2010).
Indeed, ergonomic is a rapidly growing discipline that is gradually premating industrially developing countries (IDCs). This growth is fuelled by a growing body of literature and research that aims to improve working conditions while simultaneously achieving organizational objectives of increasing productivity and quality (O’Neill, 2005).
In this context, and now more than ever, organizational are facing pressures from and ever-changing environment driven by a dynamic and highly competitive global market. This calls for more holistic processes and technique that consciously integrate all workers and performance related elements within the system in order to optimize performance (Drury, 2000; Genaidy et al., 2007). According to Guastello (2006), optimal performance hinges on a balance between the ability to fulfill task objectives in a manner that produces the desired outcomes and the time taken in achieving the feat. Accordingly, organizations continually concern themselves with finding tools, techniques and philosophies that will enhance productivity and quality where high quality products and services are produced in the fastest possible time. Total quality management (TQM), lean production and six-sigma for example, bear testimony to such efforts (Eklund, 1997; Lee, 2005).
The discipline of ergonomic also purposes to have the potential to positively impact on organizational performance. However there is a paucity of studies showing the direct relationship between ergonomic applications and performance outcome such as productivity, efficiency, customer retention, employee satisfaction, employee turnover, time saving communication and quality (http.www.iea.cc,2010). Gunasekaran et al (1994) observed that, of the few studies variables, the major have focused on productivity and less on quality and the rest variables.
Consequently, organizations have become increasingly aware of the importance of quality, hence the growth in the research interest in this area over the past decades (Lee, 2005). The varied research focal points of existing literature reflect the complexity of the causes of quality problems which require an equally holistic approach to overcome. Eklund (1997) assert that, environmental factors such as lighting, noise and vibration have a direct influence on organizational performance outcomes such as error rates. Also, appropriate implementations of ergonomic and adherence to quality assurance systems that re sensitive to worker capabilities and weaknesses have direct impact positively on quality (Aaras, 1994). Furthermore, reductions in productivity of up to forty percent have been associated with poor quality. In line with this, Eklund (1997) classified task performed in a car assembly plant in terms of ergonomics deficiencies and related these to quality statistic. It transpired that task with ergonomics deficiencies compromised quality and overall performance and were associated with worker reports of discomfort, fatigue and pain.
Furthermore, studies reveals that ergonomically designed workplace reduce work related pain and injury, increased productivity, improve morale, improve communication, time saving, reduce compensation cost, reduce material wastage, decrease human error rate, reduce reject rate, and decrease complaints (http.www.ergonomics.com/articles/ergonomic). Also in ergonomic well designed workplace task is specially design to eliminate: static or awkward posture, repetitive motion, poor access or inadequate visibility and excessive reach, display that are difficult to read, and controls that are confusing to operate or require too much to force (Skepper et al., 2000).
Eklund (1997) further stated that “ quality deficiencies, human errors and ergonomic problems often have the same cause, which in many cases can be traced to the design of work, workplace, inappropriate technology, and work environment e.g. noise, light, postures, loads, pace (speed) and work content.” In addition, possibility of performing to a standard at work is important prerequisite for employee satisfaction and well-being. Indeed, several studies revealed that quality would gain by incorporating ergonomics knowledge, especially in the areas of work design and human capability, since these factors are deceive for human performance and also the performance of the systems involved (Skepper et al., 2000).
Gonzalez et al (2003) also illustrated how introducing worker- centered intervention that reduced ergonomics deficiencies (such as awkward working postures and handling heavy loads) in the work environment can lead to quality improvement and costs attribute to poor quality. Although the exact nature of these improvements was not well explained in the literature, the interventions minimized the complexity of the task and the effort required to execute it. Comparisons of the pre and post quality records reflected reduction in rejected parts, materials wastage and an increase in parts produced to the prescribed specifications the first time. These researchers ascribed these quality and cost related improvement to simplified work processes and a subsequent reduction in mental and physical fatigue.
Existing literature suggests that ergonomic can enhance production quality. However, many of these cases are usually qualitative reports gained from field research (Drury and Paquet, 2004). The evidence provided for the relationship between ergonomics and organizational performance is usually inconclusive and at times contradictory.
In addition, the mechanisms and processes in mediating the relationship between ergonomics factors and quality of output are not clearly explained. While not questioning the value and authenticity of these measurements, quantitative evidence showing clear relationship between the relevant factors is usually more convincing and preferable, particularly when motivating for change within organizations (Drury and Paquet, 2004). This is particularly significant given the challenges facing the growth and development of ergonomics in industrially developing countries (IDCs) of which Nigeria is one.
Ergonomics in IDCs is not well understood in practice and is thus not accepted as integral for organizational success or worker wellbeing (Lee, 2005). In industrially developed countries legislation, worker compensation costs and high labour costs have been effective motivators driving the implementation of ergonomics interventions in organizations. Nonetheless, even in advanced countries ergonomics is not fully appreciated for its contribution to quality improvements. Lee (2005) further asserted that, one of the hurdles restricting the spread and acceptance of ergonomics in industry is the perception that ergonomic favours workers at the expense of organizational performance. This is further worsened by the paucity of practical evidence for a positive relationship between ergonomics and quality. It has furthermore been propose that organizations have been slow to put ergonomic into practice as means implementation interventions have not yet been provided.
Although the awareness of ergonomics in the industries of industrially developing countries (IDCs) has significant grown in the last decade there still seems to be a lack of knowledge regarding how ergonomics can positively contribute to the economic success of an organization (Scott, 2005). Indee, Helander and Burri (1995) and Klatte et al (1997) posited that productivity and quality of output have considerable bearing on any organization’s level of competitiveness, implementing ergonomics principles has been proposed as exerting a positive influence on productivity and quality. Despite this, there have been few attempts to research and explicitly document the manner in which applying ergonomics can improve quality of output (Govindaru et al., 2001). This might be due to the very limited options available for researchers to establish a clear relationship ergonomics attributes and performance in the field of studies.
Research in this area should aim to address quality problems that can be effectively resolved through introducing ergonomics precepts as this is potentially instrumental in alleviating quality deficits in industry. To add with this, knowledge of manager’s perceptions regarding the cause of quality problem is necessary in order for ergonomists to effectively focus their on issues that are relevant and applicable to organizations. This is particularly the case in IDCs, of which Nigeria is one, where production systems from developed countries are used which have been technically simplified and then transferred into a very different socio-cultural and socio-economic context. However, quality requirements are mostly similar to those applied all over the world (e.g. in manufacturing and service industries). Knowledge concerning manager’s perception is relevant in order to address or organizations with ergonomics issues related to quality. This information would also be invaluable in contributing to the establishment of ergonomics awareness campaigns, which is especially relevant for the Nigeria context where ergonomics is still in its development stages.
It is the view of the researcher that knowledge of the circumstances in industry will aid in attaining a complete picture of the challenges, strengths, and opportunities relating to ergonomics in the country. This will inevitably involve a certain degree of qualitative and subjective research and will be critical in also understanding the culture prevalent within the Nigeria context. In conjunction with this, quantitative research will be essential for presenting tangible data and evidence of the benefits of ergonomics for organizational success.
It is hoped that this study will shed light on the characteristics of the industrial landscape within the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria with respect to ergonomics deficits, information that will be critical in any awareness raising campaigns and future research in this field. Ergonomics deficit demonstrates its influence on workers and performance outcomes. This information shall make a contribution to ergonomics literature and is potentially beneficial in alerting organizations of the importance ergonomics in reaming competitive.
1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigeria, a typical business organization outfit believed that the sole purpose of any business is to maximize profit, thereby undermining other essential concepts which permeate their overall goal. Indeed, this believe is commonly shared among manufacturing and services firms especially in owners managed small organizations.
Therefore, ergonomics problems and issues are common factors in manufacturing and service firms in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.  However, one growing area of concern for manufacturing and service firms is the number of work related pains and injuries that occur when there is a mismatch between the physical requirements of the task (job) and the physical capacity of human body, resulting to poor quality production. Employees experienced serious injuries due to over exertion or repetitive motion, long sitting and standing posture heavy lifting, vibration, awkward posture, etc. (Dahalan, 2003).
In fact, when these factors repeatedly occur and less attention to ergonomics applications (that is, interventions) in manufacturing and service firms the organization experienced at decline of the overall organization performance such as:
Ø   High employee turnover
Ø   Absenteeism
Ø   High human error rates
Ø   Low quality production
Ø   High material wastages and rejects
Ø   Low customer retention
Ø   Low capacity utilization (inefficiency)
Ø   High compensation cost
Ø   Low morale
Ø   Low employee satisfaction
Ø   High return rates
Hence, is decreasing productivity, decreasing market share and other problems increased because of the employee’s behaviour and attitude due to ergonomics deficiencies at the workplace. Even though the equipment, workplace and environment are design  according to the ergonomics specifications; organization still do not implement ergonomics to adjust and arrange the workplace (Shahnavaz, 2000).
Thus, numerous tasks in manufacturing and service industries are performed while workers adopt awkward working postures. Although poor detrimental to worker health, the simultaneous effects of these ergonomics deficiencies on performance outcomes are not fully understood, and hence would be the focus of this research. Further to this, the effects of task performance on the worker productivity remain a contentious topic that is addressed in this research.
1.3      PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The overarching objective of this study is to establish manufacturing and service firm’s manager’s perceptions of the quality concerns in the local Nigeria manufacturing and service firms. This would assist in understanding, from an ergonomics perspective, the quality related challenges faced by local manufacturing and service organizations. A further objective was to determine whether and to what extent managers would relate the quality concerns expressed to known ergonomics deficits documented in literature. Since ergonomics is not widely practiced in Nigeria, it was necessary to ascertain the level of awareness regarding the link between ergonomics and organizational performance. Such information could inform and assist in developing future ergonomics awareness raising campaigns in the country.
Thus, the study would seek to address the following in particular: concept of ergonomics, principles of ergonomics and the nexus between the two constructs- ergonomics principles and organizational performance and ergonomics challenges faced with specific references to some selected manufacturing and service firms in the Niger Delta Region, Nigeria.
Specifically, the detail objectives that would guide the study are:
i.      To determine whether or not work design will influence organizational performance in manufacturing and service firms in Niger Delta Region, Nigeria.
ii.     To determine whether or not workplace design will influence organizational performance in manufacturing and service firms in Niger Delta Region, Nigeria.
iii.    To determine whether or not work environment will influence organizational performance in manufacturing and service firms in Niger Delta Region, Nigeria.
iv.    To determine whether or not production strategy will moderate the relationship between ergonomic principles and organizational performance in manufacturing and service firms in Niger Delta Region, Nigeria.
1.4   RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In view of the objectives of this study an attempt will be made to address the following questions.
i.      Is there any relationship between work design and employee turnover?
ii.     Is there any relationship between work design and absenteeism?
iii.    Is there any relationship between work design and quality production.
iv.    Is there any relationship between work design and capacity utilization?
v.     Is there any relationship between workplace design and employee turnover?
vi.    Is there any relationship between workplace design and absenteeism?
vii.   Is there any relationship between workplace design and quality production?
viii.  Is there any relationship between workplace design and capacity utilization?
ix.    Is there any relationship between work environment and employee turnover?
x.     Is there any relationship between work environment and absenteeism?
xi.    Is there any relationship between work environment and quality utilization?
xii.   Is there any relationship between work environment and capacity utilization?
xiii.  Will production strategy moderate the relationship between ergonomic principles and organizational performance?
1.4      CONCEPTIONAL FRAMEWORK ERGONOMICS PRINCIPLES AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE
The relevance of ergonomics principles to improve organizational performance has received considerable attention. Despite the growing interest in ergonomics principles on organizational performance, no empirical research has emerged that explores the link between these constructs in the context of manufacturing and service firms in Nigeria. Therefore, in this study a conceptual framework is developed to explore the relationship between ergonomics principles and organizational performance.
However, the study involved two constructs-ergonomics principles and organizational performance, and a moderating variable-productions strategy (PS). Ergonomics principles is operational using: work design (WD), workplace design (WPD), and work environment (WE). While, organizational performance is measured using: employee turnover (ET), absenteeism (AB), quality production (QP) and capacity utilization (CU).
Figure 1.1 Conceptual Framework: Ergonomics principles (variables), organizational performance (variables) and moderating variable.













 










1.5.1 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no significant relationship between work design, and employee turnover in manufacturing and service firms.
H02: There is no significant relationship between work design and absenteeism in manufacturing and service firms.
H03: There is no significant relationship between work design and quality production in manufacturing and service firms.
H04: There is no significant relationship between work design and capacity utilization in manufacturing and service firms.
H05: There I no significant relationship between workplace design and employee turnover in manufacturing and service firms.
H06: There is no significant relationship between workplace design and absenteeism in manufacturing and service firms.
H07:  There is no significant relationship between workplace design and quality production in manufacturing and service firms.
H08: There is no significant between workplace design and capacity utilization in manufacturing firms.
H09: There is no significant relationship between work environment and employee turnover in manufacturing and service firms.
H010: There is no significant relationship between work environment and absenteeism in manufacturing and service firms.
H011: There is significant relationship between work environment and quality production in manufacturing and service firms.
H012: There is no significant relationship between work environment and capacity utilization in manufacturing and service firms.
H013: Production strategy will not moderate the relationship between ergonomics principles and organizational performance in manufacturing and service firms.
1.6      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
 The theoretical and practical significant of this study cannot be overstated. The theoretical significance includes a better understanding of the strategic importance of ergonomics in manufacturing and service firms performance, and area in which empirically tested studies are scare. In addition, theoretical would help researchers and students as useful reference materials to advance knowledge in the area of ergonomics in their studies.
The practical significance is that, it would be beneficial to practitioners such as managers, safety officers and chief executive officers in manufacturing firms at it will better equip them in implementing ergonomics in their organizations.
Finally, the stud will contribute to the relatively limited existing literature in the knowledge area of ergonomics in manufacturing and service firms, specifically in the Niger Delta Region, Nigeria.
1.7   SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is defined with respect to theoretical/content, geographical area and study unit.
THEORETICAL/CONTENT: The theoretical/content domain of the study is particularly on the challenges and dimensions of ergonomics principles, organizational performance measures, as well as the moderating variable production strategy and its effects on the relationship between the independent and the dependent variables.
Geographical Area: The geographical area of this study will cover selected manufacturing and service firms in four states out of the six stats in Niger Delta Region, namely: Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, and Rivers States respectively.
Study Unit: The study unit scope will cover all identified individual employee, specifically staff of the selected manufacturing and service firms which will serve as a base for empirical data collection that could then be analyzed the objectives of this study.
1.7      LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
It is important that in any research of this magnitude, limitations should be recognized and acknowledge so that the validity, reliability and general ability of findings may properly assess. Moreover, the research method employed in this study is quantitative using secondary data originally collected through surveys. It is acknowledge that quantitative method is more appropriate for investigating the properties and phenomena of existing knowledge and their relationship, and also more realize when generating the findings.
However, this method has some generic limitations, such as positive response bias and reporting bias. Therefore, it is important when interpreting the result of this research to understand such limitations and also limitations associated with the use of secondary data (e.g. sampling criteria, data classification system and entering errors) applying to it.
Indeed, the most contentious limitation encountered in the course of this study is the difficulties in generating and collection data wit which to test actual relationship of the variables and also the vast geographical area of study unit to cover which of course is subject to financial resources.
1.8      DEFINITION OF TERMS
Absenteeism: This refers to the decree at which employees fail to report for work when they are schedule to work due to poor working conditions.
Awkward Posture: A posture or action to execute a task which create some discomfort or is unable to be maintained by the worker.
Capacity Utilization: This refers to extent or level to which the production or human capacity of a plant or firm is being used in generation of goods and services.
Comfort: It refers to how an item feels pleasing to the users.
Communication: It refers to knowing how to use a tool by understanding its form factor i.e. the physical size and shape of the tool.
Efficiency: It refers simply making something easier to do.
Employee Health: It refers to the physiological, mental ability and psychological well- being of the worker.
Employee Turnover: This refers to the decree at which employee voluntarily leave their jobs due to strenuousness of the task which they are involve in the organization.
Employee Safety: It refers to condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk or injury in the organization.
Human Machine Interface:  It is the area of the human and the area of the machine that interact during a given task.
Interaction: it refers to touch, sight, sound, heat transference or any other physical or cognitive function.
Job Satisfaction: it refers to the feelings and briefs an employee have on the task.
Organizational Policy: it refers to various policies adopted by organization to enhance it overall organizational performance.
Production Strategy: This refers to production strategy employed by the management to achieve quality production thus enhancing organizational performance in the organization.
Quality Production: this refers to the quality of the product and service produced by organization which meets the taste and comfort of its potential consumers.
Vibration: The oscillating or periodic motion of a particular, group of particles, or social object about its equilibrium position.
Work Design:  The process of deciding on the tasks and responsibility to be included in a particular job.
Workplace Design: This refers to a place designed for performing work including the space, machines, worktables, benches, desks, visual displays and control points
Work Environment: This refers to work environment conditions such as comfort, vibration, temperature, lighting its visual appearance and cleanliness, privacy and suitability, culture, climate and its general atmosphere.
1.9      ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is developed through five chapters
Chapter one: Provides details of eth overview of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, and significance of the study, scope of the study, limitations of the study, definition of terms and organization of the study.
Chapter Two: deals with the review of relate literature on the subject.
Chapter Three: Outlines the methodology including research design, population of the study, sampling procedure and sample size determination, data collection method, operationalization of variables, test of validity and reliability, and data analysis technique.
Chapter Four: Deals with the presentation, interpretation and analysis of data.
Chapter Five: Concerns on discussion of findings, conclusion, recommendations and further studies.



 

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