1.1   Background to the Study

With the coming of globalization era, government organizations around the world will face the challenges in the new century of complex governance from both internal and external environments.  The spillover effect of functions, the linking effect of issues and the involving of pluralistic actors have appeared in a number of new public issues and public affairs.  The effects not only increase the complexity of public governance but also cause public organizations, within the pluralistic governance ability to ensure the delivery of quality services. In this regard, the civil service is an institution saddled with the responsibility of designing, formulating and implementing public policy, and discharging government functions and development programmes in an effective and efficient way.  In many African countries especially Nigeria, development efforts and government policies are threatened by the incompetency and ineffectiveness of the civil service.  As a result of this, successive governments in Nigeria (from post-independence era to the contemporary times), have embarked on articulated patterns of reforms aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness in the civil service (Salisu, 2001:1).

Performance management has its roots in the early 1900s with special attention on this practice in the United States of America, and United Kingdom military for evaluating officers (Hartog et al., 2004). Performance management can act as a bridge between corporate strategy and concrete interventions in the process of goal achievement (Boselie, 2010). The gap between justification of pay and the development of skills and knowledge became a huge problem in the use of performance management. This approach of managing performance was developed in the United Kingdom and the United States much earlier than it was developed in Australia.

The New Performance Management approach  was adopted by American’s Vice President Al Gore’s National report, from Red Tape to Results: creating a Government that works better and costs less, explicitly sought “a new customer service contract with the American people, a new guarantee of effective, efficient, and responsive government” (Gore, 1993).

The American Vice-President, Al-Gore, called for the following steps, among others: putting customers first, making service organizations compete with one another, creating market dynamics, using market mechanisms to solve problems, empowering employees to get results, decentralizing decision making power, streamlining the budget process, decentralizing personnel policy, and streamlining procurement.  (Gore, 1995).

Armstrong (2008:4), pointed out that the application of performance management is to improve the organization member’s performance by developing the capability of the team and its members through a strategic and integrated system which can encourage organizations to operate successfully. Since 1980s, government reinventing movements around the world have initiated the ‘new public management’ trend. Therefore, various theories, definitions and methods based on performance management have eventually become significant political tools for improving the performance of public organizations and the quality of public services. Meanwhile, the performance-based government operation has become fundamental to implementing the essence of new public services and strengthening national competitiveness.

In order to realize the goals of social service delivery and development, capable workforce is required. These are products of employee recruitment and retention strategies of the civil service to achieve performance. According to Olowu and Adamolekun (2005), it is becoming more essential to secure and manage competent human resource as the most valuable resource of any organization, because of the need for effective and efficient delivery of goods and services by organizations, whether in public or private sector. Therefore, for an organization to realize its goals, appropriate strategies for employee recruitment and retention are sine-qua-non for enhanced performance.

According to Armstrong and Baron (1998), performance management is both a strategic and an integrated approach to delivering successful results in organizations by improving the performance and developing the capabilities of teams and individuals. The term performance management gained its popularity in early 1980’s when total quality management programmes  received utmost importance for achievement of superior standards and quality performance.

Organizations are established in both private and public sectors for some basic objectives, for which reason such organizations were established.  The basis for assessment of such organization’s success is on the achievement of the objectives. It is of note that the important role of the government is carried out by the Civil Service. Ofuebe (2005:1), quoting Abati (2005), states thus:

As a people, we must insist on the need for the state and its custodians to expand the role of the public sphere. This means making the governance process more transparent and accountable with less empty rhetoric that produces moral turpitude. The crisis of democracy does not point ultimately to the failure of democracy but to the failings of its managers. Every society faces its own crisis, how the crisis is resolved is where the difference lies. To retain legitimacy, the Nigerian government must do business differently.


Onah (2001: 8), emphasized the need for workers to be highly motivated in order to perform well. This assertion was made vivid when he was discussing the strategies for mass mobilization. He continued that mass mobilization will be a herculean task in a situation of abject poverty.

As Margret (1976: 55) pointed out, whether or not workers live up to expectations of their employers depends on management success in motivating them adequately at work. Adedeji (2001: 6) opined that Nigerian Civil Servants are the most demoralized in West Africa. He stated that a demoralized worker cannot perform optimally because he is faced with emotional and psychological trauma which affects his performance and unless and until he is induced, the organization he represents will continue to record minimal success.

Onah (2008:4), had observed that the efficiency with which an organization can perform will depend to a large extent, on how its human resources can be managed and utilized. Every manager must, therefore, be able to work effectively with people and also be able to solve the various problems the management of people may entail. He noted that most organizations are becoming more complex in nature and, therefore, leaders in these organizations are expected to have greater technical competence and a better understanding of human behaviour.

Kaduna State Government recognizes that in order to establish best practices in providing service to the citizens; the central focus should be the service provider who attends to the citizens at the service windows.  It was clearly identified that if the public servants are repositioned to deliver best service, the  citizen will not be shortchanged but will be assured of his or her rights with regard to receipt of government services.