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THE IMPACT OF GLOBALIZATION ON HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN THE NIGERIAN PUBLIC SECTOR: A STUDY OF THE ANAMBRA STATE CIVIL SERVICE (2000 -2012)
Human resources management remains indispensable in engendering
competitive advantage of any firm in this era of tense global business
competition. If the Nigerian public service must keep pace with competition, which a globalized world has made more complex, they must properly manage their key area of comparative resource strength, which is human resource.
Globalization has made the business world highly competitive. Productivity and
competitiveness of firms is dependent on their ability for knowledge generation
and information processing. Moreover, if the Nigerian public service must keep
pace with competition in the globalized world, they must properly manage their
key area of comparative resource strength, which is human resource. This thesis examined the Impact of Globalization on Human Resources Management in the Nigerian Public Sector (2000-2012) with particular reference to Anambra State Civil Service. Survey research was used in implementing this research and data was sourced from both primary (questionnaire) and secondary sources of data collection. From the analysis and interpretation of data, the researcher made the following findings: Highly skilled staff have left Nigerian public service in search of greener pastures, the public sector has witnessed retrenchment of workers and the Nigerian public service have reviewed their income and compensation structure upward to retain their skilled staff and increase their competitive strength. The thesis recommends a reform in human resources management in the Nigerian public sector to strengthen its capacity to manage change and complexity of globalization.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In the last few decades, the world, has witnessed an unprecedented interdependence among the various economics of the world in a phenomenon called globalization. This trend in global change is being driven and facilitated by radical changes in information and communication technology. This trend has resulted in increased flow of resources across the various regions of the world.
Globalization is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture. Put in simple terms, globalization refers to processes that promote worldwide exchanges of national and cultural resources. Advances in transportation and telecommunication infrastructure, including the rise of the internet are major factors in globalization, generating further interdependence of economic and cultural activities (Wikipedia, 2012).
A consensus has emerged among scholars and practitioners alike that the business environment has become more competitive than in the past because of globalization (Zenter, 2002; Amiuwu, 2004: 18). In order to survive in this new era, businesses have to focus even harder on their competitive strengths so as to develop appropriate long term strategies.
Despite the application of technology in modern business management, human resources are still relevant and most adaptive resources of any organisation. The strategic value of human resources stem from the fact that apart from other resources employed in the course of production (land, capital, technology etc) which are passive, human resources are endowed with discretionary decision making power and thus have competitive advantage over the other resources.
Besides, human resources combine other resources in the right mix to formulate appropriate strategies for the accomplishment of desired objectives of the enterprise (Anyim, et al 2012:1).
In Nigeria, it has become imperative for the Human resource profession to respond to increased competition for globally mobile talents, changes in both workforce attitudes and composition, shifts in the employer/employee relationship and rapid advances in HR technology. New kinds of technical knowledge, skills and abilities would require HR practitioners who are flexible and willing to deal with the ever accelerating pace and often unpredictable changes in the global workplace (Mayrhofer and Brewster in Anyim et al, 201:2)
This era of globalization will require a new kind of organisation, based on a different paradigm that can bring together the contribution of autonomous individuals in a socially sustainable way. It is thus clear that a new way to manage human resources as a paradigm is emerging, as well as, how new managers should manage themselves (Limerick et al; 2002). The new task for human resource managers of this century is the urgency to manage change speedily and efficiently with appropriate competencies and knowledge.
Armstrong (2004) outlines three most important factors in achieving
competitive advantage: innovation, quality and cost leadership. But all these depend on the quality of an organisation’s human resources. What this entails is that the starting point should be with the human resource.
Scholars have argued that human resource satisfies four conditions necessary to achieve sustainable competitive advantages: human resource are valuable, rare and imperfectly imitable and has no substitutes. Competitors can easily duplicate competitive advantage obtained via better technology and products, but it is hard to duplicate competitive advantage gained through better management of people.
However, the Nigerian public sector “which is a product of colonialism, established as an instrument of the British colonialist, from the late 19th century” (Inyang, 2008a: 52), consist of all government ministries, departments, agencies, parastatals, public corporations, businesses, commissions, regulatory agencies, military and paramilitary agencies and all other institutions owned and run by the government.
There is a general opinion that most of the public enterprises have failed to deliver on the purposes for which they were established. Management ineffectiveness and inefficiency have been advanced by practitioners and researchers of public enterprises as the bane of the Nigerian public sector (Tokunboh, 1990). The former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo (2003)
observes that: “Nigerians have too long been feeling short-changed by the quality of public service. Our public offices have too long been showcases for combined evils of inefficiency and corruption, whilst being impediments for effective implementation of government policies. Nigerians deserve better. And will ensure they get what is better”.
Agagu (2008: 243) asserts that “the public service which was seen as the custodian of rules and regulations and the engine of the development had lost its
prestige and confidence.”
The aftermath of this is the invention of series of reforms which, have led to privatization, downsizing and right-sizing of the public service and even minimizing the role of the public sector in the national life.” All these reforms were aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the sector to meet the challenges of globalisation. Hence, the government has taken measures to improve the Human resources at its service through training and conferences scheduled from time to time in order to remain competitive in the global economy.
However, the global era or alternatively the information age is knowledge and information driven. This has significant implication for human resource management in the Nigerian public sector. It portends that competitive advantage cannot be achieved in vacuum in this ever increasing era of change and unpredictability. There is need to prioritize the acquisition and use of these knowledge and information. Hence, adopting and adapting the best human resource strategies and practices in the public sector will ensure a competitive position in the global economy.
Thus, it is pertinent to note that the potential to find and maintain a qualified workforce is an important consideration for any organisation moving
into a foreign market. The country’s human capital resources which is the capabilities of individuals in terms of knowledge, skills and experience that have economic value is very germane to Human resource management in this global era. Countries with low human capital attract facilities that require low skills and low wage level while countries with high human capital are attractive sites for Foreign Direct investment (FDI) that creates high skill jobs (Anyim, et al 2012:5). It is in order to promote quality human capital resource in Nigeria that most state governments have adopted free education. At the national level, the federal government has been investing heavily on the education sector. The sector had enjoyed rapid expansion with the proliferation of tertiary institution
The corollary of the above assertion is that it is important to take an empirical assessment of the various impact of globalization on human resource management. This will increase chances of selecting relevant policies that will either maximize the opportunities it presents or minimize the challenges and threats that flow from it.
It is against this background that this study, which is aimed at investigating the impact of globalization on human resource management in the public sector in Nigeria finds its relevance. It is believed that its funding will facilitate policy options that will help the nation to be competitive.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There is a consensus among scholars and practitioners that human resources are the key and source of competitive strength and advantage (Appelbaum and Batt, 1994, Bae and Rowley, 2002: 402, and Locke and Kochan, 1995:359, in Onodugo, 2012: 121).
Hence, development is achieved through people. An analysis of most nations that moved up fast in the ladder of development shows that they were able to do that on the basis of human resource strategy. One good case is that of Japan.
With less than 10% endowment of natural resources, it is the philosophy of “people are castle” that provided the needed economic miracle (Sano, 1998: 404). The same goes for Singapore. Soludo (2007:15) citing the leader that laid the foundation of the modern Singapore on the key factor of success said:
A united and determined group of leaders backed by a practical and hardworking people who trusted them madeit possible… Singaporeans will have to be nimble in adopting and adapting these new discoveries to play a role in disseminating. The future is full of promise as it is fraught with uncertainty. The industrial society is giving way to the one based on knowledge. The new divide in the world will be between those with knowledge and those without.
The above assertion paints a picture of what human resources is capable of
achieving with the right HR polices and strategies.
Significantly, in the present global environment, business is conducted on international scale and this involves the transfer of goods and services, technology, managerial knowledge and capital to other countries or across national boundaries. Besides, we are now in a world where quality, efficiency, knowledge and competitiveness count most.
However, the progress and survival of any business enterprise of this century can be measured in this sequence: information, knowledge and their application through science, engineering and knowledge. In other words, knowledge sharing impacts on global enterprises as they export their management philosophies and techniques, as well as, their technology, products and services around the world (Kuruvilla et al, 2003 in Anyim et al, 2011)
Consequently, if the Nigerian public sector must keep pace with competition which globalized world has made more complex, they must properly managed their key area of comparative resource strength which is human resources.
For human resource management to thrive in this new, global, complex and often chaotic world of global economy, a new strategic focus and new capabilities from human resource is required. New roles and agenda for the profession should not focus on traditional HR activities such as staffing and compensation but on these outcomes.
The geographic dispersion, multiculturalism, different legal and social system and cross border movement of capital, goods, services and people, workforce diversity, information technology, corporate culture/ethics, talent management, outsourcing, competitive and attractive benefit, corporate social responsibility, etc, that organisation face add a need for competency and sensitivity. Therefore,
managers of this century must strive to balance the demand to think globally and act locally.
However, since the world is now more competitive and information and knowledge driven, an organisation can only exploit the opportunities the
global economy present if it possess these knowledge. So, any country or
organisation that lacks this will only see the threats and risk globalization present. Hence, it will lag behind or wither off.