This study was designed to evaluate staff personnel administration in Universities in North Central Nigeria, with a view to finding out the extent to which the guidelines on staff personnel administration are adhered to. The instruments used included; Staff Personnel Administration Questionnaire (SPAQ), oral interview and examination of documents. The SPAQ was used to collect relevant data from 358 university officers sampled from 6 out of 15 of the universities in the region. Standard deviation and means were used to answer the research questions while analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Scheffe test were used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The study revealed among others that to a large extent, universities adhered to the approved guidelines in staff recruitment, staff training, motivation and welfare and retirement practices; and to a low extent in orientation practices. This situation cut across Federal, State and Private universities. Some of the implications of the study are that the universities should not be blamed for any unrest or job dissatisfaction since they complied with the regulations governing staff personnel administration. It seems that any problem arising from staff dissatisfaction should be traced to other reasons. There may be a need to review the current conditions of service in universities as it has lasted for many years and might have become obsolete in view of the global economic changes. This might help to reduce brain drain. Also, the need for proper orientation becomes apparent as new staff might have very high expectations. Some recommendations were made to the effect that Universities should produce and make guidelines available to all staff, and incorporate orientation practices in the guidelines. It was also recommended that universities should ensure a balance growth through the training of their administrative staff.

Background of the Study
Personnel administration is used interchangeably with Personnel management, manpower management, or human resource management and they refer to the management of people at work in an organisation. Therefore, staff personnel administration as a specialised field of management is concerned with the development and effective utilisation of human resources so as to achieve organisational objectives. The American Management Association (1999) defined staff personnel administration as a responsibility of all those who manage people. It is part of management which is concerned with people at work and with their relationships within an enterprise. It applies not only to industry and commerce but to all fields of employment.

Personnel administration, according to Obi (2003) can be viewed from different angles. One angle is to view personnel administration as a function or responsibility of every manager or supervisor who has people under him all of whom are working towards the achievement of desired goals. The second angle is that Personnel Management may be seen as a function in an organisation which is performed by a department, the personnel department. Sharing a similar view, Ajayi and Ayodele (2001:15) stated that “personnel administration is a basic function of management.”

The most elaborate and comprehensive definition of staff personnel administration is that given by Flippo (1990:65). The study showed that there are two categories of functions: management and operative. Summing up these managerial and operative functions, Flippo define personnel administration as the planning, organising, directing, and controlling of the procurement, development, compensation, integration and separation of human resources to the end that individual, organisational and societal objectives are accomplished.”

Ogunsaju (2006) did not differ much from Flippo when he defined staff personnel administration as the effective mobilisation of human resources based upon appropriate recruitment, selection, training and placement of appointed staff in order to achieve the organisational set down goals and objectives. He also viewed it as the effective utilisation of human resources in an organisation through the management of people and related activities.

From these definitions, personnel administration may be viewed as a set of functions and activities used in the management of human resources in a non-discriminatory, affirmative, and effective manner for the benefit of the organisation, the individual and the society. Nwachukwu (2005:73) identified the traditional functions or activities with which staff personnel administration is concerned. These are: Staff recruitment, orientation, motivation and welfare, training and development, manpower planning, job analysis, health and safety, wages and salary administration, Industrial relation, collective bargaining, discipline, performance appraisal, personnel audit, employee communication, human resource research and employee retirement.

The critical functions of staff personnel administration highlighted by Nwachukwu (2000) is examined in the context of the general practice in organisations particularly in universities in North Central Nigeria. For the purpose of this study, the following staff personnel functions were focused on. They are: staff recruitment practices, staff orientation, staff motivation/welfare, staff training, and retirement practices.

The choice of these administrative functions was based on two reasons. First, the practices fall in line with Edwin Flippo’s operative functions of procurement, development, compensation, integration and separation. Each of these variables correlate with those already listed for the study; for instance, procurement is related to recruitment, compensation to motivation, separation to retirement, integration to orientation and development to training. The second reason for the choice of these functions was that they are the activities or functions which the universities have in common in their regulations. Because these functions have common regulations among the universities, they form the benchmark for this study.

This study determined to what extent the universities in North Central states of Nigeria adhered to the guidelines. This was done by looking at the universities both as an entity and on the basis of ownership i.e. Federal, State and Private Universities. In order to achieve the objectives, carefully selected instruments such as questionnaire, and oral interview were used on the principal officers of the universities, the head of units and the senior Registry staff of the universities selected for study. The main technique was evaluation.

Evaluation is the process of delineating, obtaining and providing useful information for judging decision alternatives. It is, in the opinion of Alkin (2008) to mean to judge, appraise, conclude, describe, justify, support, etc the planned programmes or activities. Evaluating administrative practices is necessary when one consider the essence of evaluation. According to Akem (2012) educational evaluation is a continuous process where a value judgement or decision is made by an evaluator in a given programme or activity. It is therefore necessary to evaluate administrative functions identified in the universities in North Central in order to determine whether the practices require review or not, whether the.....

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