WORKPLACE SPIRITUALITY, WORKERS’ COMMITMENT AND PERFORMANCE IN AJAYI CROWTHER UNIVERSITY AND FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, AKURE: A COMPARATIVE STUDY

ABSTRACT
Workplace spirituality is a new management paradigm that elicits workers’ self-imposed willingness to act and perform their task productively in an organisation due to their perception of the meaningful nature of work in an egalitarian community that allows self expression. However, the role of workplace spirituality and employee commitment to trigger high performance among employees in Nigerian Universities has not been explored. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to comparatively investigate the effect of workplace spirituality and employees’ commitment on performance in Ajayi Crowther University (ACU) and Federal University Technology, Akure (FUTA). As a result, the three dimensions of workplace Spirituality: meaningful work, Inner life, and Sense of community and two elements of employee commitment: affective commitment and continuance commitment were used to examine their effects on employee performance.
Based on this, a survey design was applied, and questionnaires and interviews were used to gather data from a total of 363 Non-Academic employees in ACU and FUTA in the categories of Administrative, Technical, and Secretariat. While the instrument was validated by experts, its reliability test carried out revealed an average result of 0.8 Cronbach’s Alpha. In analyzing the data for this study, simple percentage count and linear regression analysis were used as statistical tools.
The findings revealed that the three dimensions of workplace spirituality and two aspects of employee commitment have positive and significant effect on employee performance in both private and public institutions. The only exception to this was meaningful work with P=0.085>0.05 that showed no significant effect on employee performance in the private institution. A test of perceptual difference between private and public Universities on workplace spirituality and commitment on employee performance was conducted. The result indicated that employees from both institutions perceived workplace spirituality and commitment differently.

The study concluded that workplace spirituality and employee commitment which are strong determinants of employee performance should be intentionally encouraged by Human Resources Managers, Head of departments, Policy makers and Management practitioners since it can cause a positive and significant change in the performance of employees in an organisation. As a result, an environment that makes employees to have a felt belongingness, and perception of job as vocation for self-expression should be encouraged. 

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Organizational spirituality elicits workers’ self-imposed willingness to act and perform their task productively in an organisation. This is orchestrated by workers' judgment and perception with reference to their job meaningfulness, growth oriented, and fulfillment in the context of a social and egalitarian community (Kinjerski & Scrypnek, 2006, Tagavi & Hamid, 2014).
Many organisations in the world today are having challenges in building an environment that is community-oriented and capable of engendering the commitment of individual employees to express and demonstrate their inner capacity in the performance of duty. Employees long for a workplace that is conducive for their alignment of personal values with that of the organisation so as to experience a purposeful, meaningful and enjoyable responsibility. These categories of workers that find fulfillment and meaning in their work are the types that can help to accomplish and sustain the performance of organisations even within the current fierceness of competition among organisations in the world today. However, while competitive pressure has been discussed extensively in literature (Collins, 2002; Fred, 2006; Kaplan & Newton, 2006; Porter, 1980; 1985), the role of organizational spirituality and commitment to trigger higher performance is less investigated (Ajala, 2013; Dharmarajan, Kaushik,  Nilari, Ruchika, & Israel, 2011; Karakas, 2010). 
Nevertheless, scholars like McGregor, (1960); Armstrong (2006), Daniel (2010), and Tagavi and Hamid (2014), have explored several approaches to make organizational environment more humanistic and task-oriented. The old but relevant Hawthorne study of Mayo (1927-32), Maslow (1954), and other modern approaches have been used to treat employees for optimal organizational outcomes (Bullock, 2009; Harrington et al, 2001; Steele & and Daniel, 2010). Despite these approaches, it was keenly observed that organizational spirituality; organization's spiritual practices, spiritual values, and commitment were absent in organizational research (Beheshtifar & Zare, 2013). The robustness of the aforementioned approaches was orchestrated by context construct with reference to team, group, motivation and organizational outcomes. Nevertheless, the inclusion and combination of workplace spirituality has been recently recognized as an essential area in academic research towards adding meaning and value to workers’ workplace effect, quality of work life, and meaningful work experience (Petchsawang & Duchon, 2009; Wainaina, Iravo, and Waititu, 2014).
Employees' emotions, inclusiveness and felt-belonging are spiritual attributes that stimulate fulfillment and implicit satisfaction when brought to bear on the workplace. In the other way, a dispirited workplace manifests discontent, low morale, high turnover, low performance and non committed attitude to the organization (Rostami, Dini, & Kazem, 2015; Hira & Shilpee, 2014). Therefore, optimizing employees’ performance will necessitate total inclusion and involvement of one's commitment in terms of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs (Petchsawanga & Duchon, 2012).
Interestingly, scholars like Daniel (2010); Nicou (2002); and Hira and Shilpee (2014) have observed through research that constructive attention to workers’ spirituality reduces work related stress, enhances creativity and improves interpersonal relationship and trust which Petchsawanga& Duchon (2012) sustained. Nicou (2002) added that beyond improved productivity, workers' spirituality helps to boost employee well being and quality of life.  It provides employees a sense of interconnectedness, social capital, interdependency, and community (Beheshtifar & Zare, 2013).  Workplace spirituality, according to Geigle (2012) promotes individual feelings of satisfaction through transcendence and egalitarianism.
From its communal construct, organizational spirituality is a culture that enables the individual worker to fully understand the purpose and meaning of work and stimulates workers' passion to work with others in order to achieve organizational goal. This perspective recognizes employees’ inner life that nourishes and been nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community (Ashmon & Duchon, 2000). According to Daniel (2012), employees want meaning and passion in what they do and not just the extrinsic settlement like fringe benefits and paycheck. Based on this premise, research studies outside the boundaries of Nigeria have been directly focused on relationships between various aspects of organizational spirituality; meaningful work, sense of community, and inner life and organizational outcomes such as commitment and performance (Ashmon & Dunchon, 2000; Bosch, 2009 Howard, 2002). Hence, there is need to improve the protracted declining status of employees’ performance in the Nigerian tertiary institutions. Thus, this study will be carried out by exploring the effect of the three aspects of organizational spirituality and commitment and their effects on employee performance in Ajayi Crowther University (ACU) and Federal University Technology, Akure (FUTA).
Ajayi Crowther University is a faith-based institution of learning privately owned by the Supra Diocesan Board of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Though this university was established in 2005 in Oyo town, its origin, however, transcends beyond this period to 1853 when it started as CMS Training Institution in Abeokuta before it was relocated to Lagos between 1868 -1896. Similarly, Federal University Technology, Akure is a public university owned by the federal government of Nigeria. It was established in 1981 with the noble aim of encouraging both practical and theoretical knowledge of technologies in the universities. Therefore, carrying out this study in these two Universities with varied background and orientation will help to ascertain whether it will have an influence on the comparative outcome of this research.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
In many countries of the world, workplace spirituality and commitment have been discovered to be a strong determinant of organisation outcomes. As a result, it is believed that workplace spirituality is linked with increased morale of employees to perform, enhanced workers’ sense of personal fulfillment, job commitment and organizational performance. In Nigeria however, a steady but surreptitious decline of employee performance in academic institutions has been observed (Folorunso, Adewale, & Abodunde, 2014). The decline could have resulted from workplace stress and burnout, social exclusion, work overload, salary discontent, lack of commitment and management insensitivity. Further, the rate of this decline has assumed some serious dimensions in recent times that it now invokes an urgent attention in order to sustain the goal of educational institutions in Nigeria. However, the causes identified by literature which include, lack of improvement and development programs for employees, incessant restructuring of employees, and other forms of workers’ quality of life abuses, and their recommendations have not remedied this lingering phenomenon.
From a cursory observation, it seems that expected results are yet to be achieved. It then suggests that there is a missing link among the causes and recommendations for remedying the problems, which has not been fully attended to or brought into focus. The missing link seems to be workplace spirituality and employee commitment which is instrumental to performance in workplaces. The extent of employees’ turnover, low commitment, and performance as well as their causes suggest that workplace spirituality and commitment are seriously limited in some academic institutions. Hence, the research examined the element of workplace spirituality and employee commitment with reference to performance of employees.

1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to comparatively investigate the effect of organizational spirituality and employees’ commitment on performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.  The specific objectives are to:
     1.      evaluate the effect of meaningful work on employees performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure;
      2.      assess the effect of inner-life of worker on performance of employees in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure;
      3.      examine the effect of sense of community on employees performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure;
       4.      determine the effect of continuance commitment on performance of employees in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure;
     5.      evaluate the effect of affective commitment on employees performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure and
     6.      examine the difference between private and public university on workplace spirituality and worker’s commitment on their performance.

1.4 Research Questions
      1.      What effect does meaningful work have on employee performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure?
    2.      What effect does inner-life of workers have on employee performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure?
     3.      How does sense of community affect employee performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure?
     4.      How does continuance commitment affect employee performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
    5.      What effect does affective commitment have on employee performance in Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
      6.      What is the perceptual difference between private and public university on workplace spirituality and worker’s commitment on their performance

1.5       Hypotheses
The research work will be guided by the following null hypotheses.
H01. Meaningful work does not have effect on employee performance in Ajayi
Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
H02. Inner-life of workers does not have effect on employees’ performance in Ajayi
Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
H03. Sense of community does not affect employee performance Ajayi Crowther
University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
H04. Continuance commitment does not affect employee performance in Ajayi
Crowther University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
H05. Affective commitment does not affect employee performance in Ajayi Crowther
University and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
H06. There is no significant perceptual difference between private and public university
on workplace spirituality and worker’s commitment on their performance.

1.6 Significance of the Study
Every organization longs to have suitable environment that positively enables employees to actualize their full potentials in promoting overall organizational performance. This is because a dispirited organizational climate is likely to be enclosed with dissatisfactions, interpersonal problems, lack of trust, and eventually, workers’ turnover. The study of workplace spirituality helps provide satisfactory information to leaders, professionals and human resources managers about the condition within which their employees are working.
Studying workplace spirituality provides some benefits for both the organisation and the employees. For example workplace spirituality helps to provide the organisation with a better understanding of the organizational mood and how it affects its objectives. This could help the organisation to know how to formulate policies and programs that may help to provide good environment for better performance of the workers. Also, the study of workplace spirituality may help employees have a deep understanding of oneself and align his/her personal values with that of the organisation.
Scholars like Ajala (2013), Ahiauzu and Asawo (2012) have observed that unlike countries in the west, there is dearth of research studies on workplace spirituality as it affects organizational behaviour in Nigeria. It is based on this premise that this study examined the influence of workplace spirituality on workers’ commitment and performance in order to relatively increase the sparsely existing literatures in the country. In addition, the study has constituted a resource material for students, researchers and Human Resources Managers to obtain useful information for their academic purpose, and for application at the workplaces.

1.7 Scope of the Study
The phenomenological issues of workplace spirituality are so pervasive and beyond the scope of this study. As a result, this research was limited to the following area of study: Workplace spirituality and its effects on employee commitment and performance. The non-academic staff of Ajayi Crowther University and Federal University of Technology Akure, working in the categories of the Administrative, Technical and Secretariat were the main focus of this study.
This study reviewed the concepts of spirituality in the workplace, employee commitment, and performance in the organisation. Three dimensions of workplace spirituality (sense of community, meaningful work, and inner life), two aspects of employee commitment (Affective and Continuance commitment) and two areas of employee performance (task performance and contextual performance) were the focus of the study. The review also included theoretical and empirical explanations of the phenomena under study and an evaluation of the review.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Spirituality: In this study, spirituality is operationally defined as the unconscious feeling that energizes workers into action in relation to providing quality service in the organisation without inducement. Spirituality often is characterized by a need to feel connected to other people and the environment.
 Organizational/Workplace Spirituality: In this paper, the definition of Ashmon and Duchon (2000) was used. They defined workplace spirituality as the “recognition that employees have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community.” It is an experience of interconnectedness among those involved in the work process, initiated by reciprocity and personal goodwill which is engendered by a deep sense of meaningful organization’s work that elicits greater motivation and organizational outcomes. In this paper, other concepts that will be used synonymously with workplace spirituality are organisational spirituality, spirituality at work, and spiritual workplace.
Sense of Community: This is defined as one’s experience of a deep sense of connection with other people and other people’s work. It means one’s feelings as part of a community and can identify with the group’s common purpose.
Meaningful work. Meaningful work implies in the paper as one’s experience that work is a significant and meaningful part to life. Indeed, one feels that work has meaning that is beyond the material rewards.
Individual Inner life: This implies in this study as the feelings that individuals derive from self perception and how it affects their activities and benefits others
Commitment: In this study, Commitment is viewed in the following dimensions:A strong belief in and acceptance of the organization’s goals and values; a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization; and a strong attachment and desire to remain and maintain membership in the organization.
Performance: Employee performance is implied in this study as the behaviour of the employee that makes a meaningful and sincere contribution to an organisation which is driven by the employee’s wellbeing, connectedness and sense of meaningful work within the organisation.

1.9     Organisation/Plan of Study
In every organisation, employees have been adjudged to be the most valuable assets that can meaningfully contribute to the progress and accomplishment of organisational vision. As a result, the examination of workplace spirituality in relation to employee commitment and performance becomes apposite since it can help to engender mutual understanding and relationship of both the employees and the employers/leaders to have a common focus of achieving the objective of their institution. Therefore, this study is going to be carried out under the following outlay.Chapter one contains the background introduction and the direction of the entire study as it encompasses the objectives, research questions, hypothesis, the significance of the study and operational definitions.Chapter two which houses the literature review gives a vivid clarification of concepts, theoretical review and empirical review. This chapter ends with appraisal of the review and gaps identified in the review which this study is likely to fill.Chapter three is the Methodology of the study which gives a detailed procedure of how the objective of this study can be scientifically achieved. So, this chapter includes the research design, data collection and how the study intends to analyze the data generated in the course of the study.Chapter four includes the presentation of data, analysis and interpretation. The findings here will be exemplified in retrospect with the initial hypotheses and assumptions in relation with the relevant theories that have featured in the previous chapters.Chapter five epitomizes the summary and conclusions of the research, as well as the recommendations which are deductions from the study.

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