Web Based System For Promotion Processing
Efficient and effective management of the promotion information of employees are critical to sustainable socio-economic development of a nation (Adebayo, 1994). Civil Service employees are selected and promoted on the basis of a merit and seniority system, which may include examination. Promotion in the civil service usually takes time to process. To effectively manage promotion in the civil service, there is need to automate the process to eliminate bottlenecks. It is based on this background that this research work is based to develop a Web based intelligent system for promotion processing and management.
Provision of data to computer systems, for decision making, by making use of a computerized system is one of the most promising areas of research in promotion information management. When a task is given to a computer aided system, it speeds up processing. It is the job of computer-aided systems to find the best solution based on the information available to it. With development in computerized technology and advent of dynamic web services the data can be processed and distributed through web services. Such data is a valuable source of information for the computer aided promotion information system. Computerized systems such as web services are dynamic as parameters are passed on to its functions. Values returned from these web services (functions) can provide input for computerizedsystems to accomplish various tasks such as promotion processing and management.
Civil Service In Nigeria
The Civil Service is the administrative bureaucracy which occupies an essential position in the political system of nations. Throughout the world, the contributions of Civil Service in promoting sustainable and equitable economic growth are receiving increasing attention. Efficient and effective management of the Civil Service are critical to sustainable socio-economic development of a nation. Civil service in Nigeria comprises workers in the various ministries or departments apart from those who hold political appointments. Civil Service reform on the other hand refers to the purposeful modification of governmental human resource management system with the goal of maximizing important administrative values.
Civil Service is the body of government officials who are employed in civil occupations that are neither political nor judicial. Civil Service refers to employees selected and promoted on the basis of a merit and seniority system, which may include examination. The Civil Service consists of people employed by the state to run the public service of a country. The civil service is a term used to cover these civil servants who are direct employees of the federal and state governments, other than the police, the armed forces personnel, tile judicial personnel and the teachers. Its usage excludes also employees of statutory corporations and boards. The civil service comprises all servants of the state, other than those holding political appointments, who are employed in a civil capacity and whose remuneration is paid out of (money voted by the legislature. Civil service can also be seen as the body of permanent officials appointed to assist the political executive in formulating and implementing governmental policies. Workers in the civil service are usually promoted from level to level.
Promotion in the civil service usually takes time to process. To effectively manage promotion in the civil service, there is need to automate the process to eliminate bottlenecks.
The past civil service administration system in Nigeria was characterized by bureaucratic bottlenecks. This was tied to the following reasons:
The manual way of recording and processing flat files, one after the other and it takes a whole lot of time to process a single file.
At many times, there is evidence of staff qualified for promotion not getting promoted for many years. One of the reasons for this can be attributed to the method of processing promotion.
There is therefore need for an automated system that will manage the promotion records of staff of the civil service commission.
Promotion Systems and Organizational Performance: A Contingency Model
Promotion systems affect almost all aspects of organizational lives. This is particularly evident from studies of human resource management (HRM) (Fuller and Huber, 1998) and internal labor markets (Baker and Holmstrom, 1995; Barron and Loewenstein, 1985), to name a few. Given the importance of promotion systems in organizations, it is surprising that few studies have attempted to examine the role of various environmental, organizational and job factors on the effectiveness of promotion systems (Allen, 1997; Ferris et al., 1992). This study attempts to fill some of the void and explore the organizational impact of a variety of important promotion systems commonly practiced in organizations including up-or-out systems, absolute merit-based systems, relative merit-based systems, and seniority-based systems. The systems are tested under a wide variety of conditions and the contribution of each promotion system to the performance of an organization on a simulated radar detection task is compared. Factors considered include: the nature of the task environment, individ- ual capabilities, organizational structure, monitoring frequency, performance criteria, and transferability of knowledge. The use of a computational model allows a wide range of contingencies to be systematically examined.
The paper begins with a discussion of previous research on this topic and the theoretical rationale for the study. This is followed by a discussion of the various types of promo- tion systems and the factors that may mitigate the performance of those systems. Inter- spersed in this discussion in the generation of hypotheses for the subsequent computational
experiments. The following section of the paper discusses the computational model used in the study and the method of operationalizing the variables discussed in the theory section. The results of the experiments are presented followed by a discussion of the results and conclusion.
Theoretical Background and Hypotheses
Traditionally, students of human resource management (HRM) have placed the study of promotion and recruitment under the rubric of employee selection (Fuller and Huber, 1998). Selection is the process of matching workers to jobs to maximize organizational produc- tivity and performance. Promotion and recruitment are linked because the HR practitioner is supposedly indifferent to whether that candidate is recruited from inside or outside the organization. However, promotion proves to be the more pervasive phenomenon. Empiri- cal studies reveal that around 75% of vacancies are filled by promotions from within the organization (Baker et al., 1994; Chan, 1996; Lazear, 1992; Wholey, 1985).
According to labor economists, internal labor markets are favored because managers typically have better information about an employee’s ability, motivation, and performance (Baker and Holmstrom, 1995; Barron and Loewenstein, 1985; Wholey, 1985). Internal candidates may also have developed specific skills not readily available in the external market (Gibbons and Waldman, 1999).
While the reliance on an internal labor market is characteristic of most organizations, there is considerable variation in the mechanisms used to select candidates for promotion. Universities, professional service firms, and the military often use up-or-out models of promotion, where junior employees must make the grade within a specified period of time or exit the organization (O’Flaherty and Siow, 1995; Waldman, 1990). Many other organizations rely on some form of merit or rank-order system, where those receiving the highest performance evaluations in a given cohort are promoted while those missing the cut remain at their current level (Lazear and Rosen, 1981). Seniority has also been widely used as a basis for promotion in many industries (particularly in public administration) but has fallen from favor in recent years (Dobson, 1988; Mills, 1985).
Organizational economists assume that persistent variations in organizational practice must reflect efficient adaptations to local conditions and constraints (Milgrom and Roberts, 1992). Thus, the military and academic use up-or-out promotion systems because they are the most efficient vehicles for the type of environment in which these organizations operate. Economists often seek to justify why one (seemingly inefficient) mode of organization are actually more efficient in a particular context.
The efficiency viewpoint is consistent with contingency theory that argues that one best practice does not fit all. Organizations must continually adapt their practices to environmen- tal realities to improve performance (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967). Contingency theory goes beyond the economist’s quest for understanding in seeking to provide normative guidance for managers on how to adjust organizational parameters to cope with changing environ- mental conditions.
Given the pervasiveness of promotion systems in organizational life, it is disappointing to note that only a few studies have attempted to describe the effect of various environmental,
organizational and job factors on the characteristics of promotion systems (Allen, 1997; Ferris et al., 1992). Ferris et al. (1992) developed a comprehensive model of antecedent and outcomes of promotion systems. Surveys were used to collect data on antecedent factors such as industry type, degree of centralization and formalization, firm size, strat- egy, and degree of unionization. The survey tool also collected information on outcomes, including factors such as return on investment, turnover, and the perceived fairness of the system. The type of promotion system in a company was determined from four survey responses: whether the company had a) a promotion from within philosophy,
- b) a time-in-grade requirement, c) a fast track promotion system, and d) a mentoring program.
The limitations of this approach become readily apparent when we consider that Ferris et al. (1992) received only 41 usable responses from 347 mailings to companies in four industries. A follow-up survey by Allen (1997) utilizing the same model received usable data from only 74 of 284 mailings across nine industry groups. Given low statisti- cal power, only a few significant correlations were found and results were frequently not replicated between the two studies. For instance, one interesting result in the Ferris et al. (1992) paper was a reported correlation between return on sales and the use of ability and prior performance as promotion criteria The result was not replicated in the Allen (1997) follow-up study. Neither paper provided descriptive statistics or correlation matrices for review.
The lack of research in this area creates several problems for organizations. First, there is no way of knowing if current practices are the most efficient set of arrangements. Firms may be satisficing rather than maximizing performance but a fear of failure prevents experimen- tation with alternate promotion systems. Secondly, firms in new industries, or facing new conditions, have little guidance in the selection of a promotion system. Understanding the factors that favor one system over another should lead to better outcomes than the current reliance on tradition, habit, or luck.
The current study uses a computational model to study the relationship between pro- motion systems and organizational performance. A computational approach allows us to study the dynamic effects of a range of factors while simultaneously controlling for extra- neous variables that make real-world comparisons difficult. Studies have shown that such a methodology can be very effective in complementing the contingency perspective (Lin and Carley, 1995; Lin and Carley, 1997).
Types of Promotion Systems
A useful discussion on promotion systems can be found in the organizational economics literature. According to economists, a promotion system serves two fundamental purposes (Baker et al., 1988). First, it selects more able individuals for positions of greater responsi- bility (the job assignment or matching function of the promotion system) and, secondly, it motivates employees at one level to strive harder to reach the next one (Lazear and Rosen, 1981).
In this study, we deliberately chose to model only the job assignment or matching function of promotion systems. We did this for three reasons:
- The incentive effect of promotion systems has received little or no coverage in the HRM literature. Promotion is seen as simple job assignment not as a tool for potentially motivating all workers (whether promoted or not).
- Motivation is extremely difficult to model. Motivation impacts productivity and turnover, waxes and wanes over an employee’s tenure, and fluctuates in response to organizational events (such as being passed over for promotion). There is little reliable data concerning the magnitude of these motivational effects. Any attempt to provide a credible model of motivation is likely to be met with howls of derision for some perceived error of omission or commission.
- Procedural rules for promotion are easy to model. For instance, if seniority is the basis for promotion, it is a simple matter to identify the most senior employee in a given cohort or group. The rules are so transparent and uncontroversial that, in effect, the process is self-validating (Carley, 1996).
Clearly, by controlling (or neglecting) incentive effects across promotion systems we provide only a partial model of the effect of promotion systems on performance. Incentive effects are critical to understanding the full impact of a given promotion system. However, the validity of simplifying reality can really only be assessed in relation to the purpose of the model (Burton and Obel, 1995). We believe the model is still capable of producing useful insights for HR practitioners with this simplification. In particular, the model addresses the question of whether the variations in job assignment performance across different contin- gencies are large enough to justify changing promotion systems. The transparency of the rules gives us a great deal of confidence in the outcome. We are also confident that the use of empirically validated parameter settings and organizational archetypes can further improve the model’s validity (Harrison and Carroll, 1991). Moreover, the existing focus of HR practitioners on job assignment issues suggests motivational issues are already being neglected, and the general paucity of data on these questions begs for a contribution even with these simplifications.
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