Written By: Dr. Eric Burphy Duncan
The purpose of this study has been to compare the benefits of material and psychological rewards on the job among university lecturers in Ghana. To do so, three key objectives were formulated to help explore the impact of both material and psychological rewards on the performance of University Staff in Ghana.
This study was inspired by the existence of a research gap in the literature which showed that very little empirical attention had been given to this subject, especially amongst university staff. In this research, 395 university staff shared their opinions about the benefits of material and psychological rewards to their delivery at the workplace. The study participants were made up to 129 staff staff from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, 110 from the University of Cape Coast, and the majority, 156 from the University of Ghana.
Following an extensive review of relevant literature, hypotheses were formulated and tested accordingly.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF PARTICIPANTS
The Staff interviewed had worked between some six months to 39 years in their respective universities. In addition, the participants were categorized into permanent or salaried workers and contract workers as was in the case of Ward, et al. (2001), of which the majority of them were the permanent staff. (202 vs 193).
The study also revealed that the majority of the participants were those between the age group 31 – 40 years representing about 32 percent of the sample (n=395). For the purpose of the study, the age groups were dichotomized into young adults; made up of participants within the age range 20-40 years and the middle age also made up of participants within the age range of 41-60 years. This result is not unique to this study.
Other studies such as the one conducted by Babatunde & Victor (2014) on the “Motivation and effective performance of academic staff in higher education (case study of Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State, Nigeria)” found the majority of the Staff of the University being young adults. This implies that the times when universities relied on aged individuals are gradually fading off.
The reason may be because authorities may believe that the younger adults are more energetic and with a little effort, they can perform very well in terms of productivity.
To investigate the influence of material rewards on the performance of University Staff.
The first objective of this study was to investigate the influence of material rewards on the performance of university staff in Ghana by making inferences from data gathered from the three major public universities in Ghana.
Reward in this study was categorized into two; material reward (Extrinsic) and psychological reward (Intrinsic) (Roberts, 2005; Grobler et al. 2006). As stated by George and Jones (2005), intrinsically motivated work behavior is characterized as performing a task only to finish it. Genuinely motivated people frequently state that they feel pride and satisfaction in their work or that they are contributing to a greater cause. The authors also added that extrinsically motivated behavior is an activity that is done in order to obtain monetary or social benefits or to avoid punishment.
To address this objective, the researcher, first of all, sought to find out which of the rewarding methods was most preferred by the University Staff. Even though, Herzberg (2003) describes intrinsic motivation as high – level needs and those intrinsic factors promote favorable job attitudes since they meet the worker’s need for self-actualization, as demonstrated by Maslow’s writings (1954), majority 40.6% of the participants for this study indicated their preference to material reward which includes wages, bonuses, financial incentives, success fees for innovation and improvement over psychological reward (e.g. participation, flexible working hours, acknowledgement, giving feedback, continuous training).
This result is parallel to the study of Omazic et al. (2011) on “The Role of Material and Non-Material Rewards in Reducing Barriers to Change Acceptance”. They actually found wage which is a material reward to be the most important when it comes to rewarding staff. Good and Frazier (2002) also found similar results. However, they concluded from their studies that highly educated employees are more powerfully driven by intrinsic rewards like praise and recognition than their less-educated counterparts. The reason for the university staff supporting material reward could be as a result of the high cost of living in the country, coupled with the effects of the pandemic on the global economy pressure employees to go for the cash than psychological reward like praise.
This result reflects the recent happenings and agitations for better conditions of service among the university teachers’ association of Ghana. Additionally, permanent or salaried personnel had a higher average psychological reward score ( (x)=3.61, SD = 53) than contract employees ( (x)=3.52, SD = 41), as shown in table 5.4. As a result, we can assume that permanent employees are more satisfied with their psychological rewards than contract employees. Contract employees, on the other hand, have a higher average score than permanent employees ( (x)=3.89, SD = 61 vs. (x) = 3.09, SD = 72). This shows that contract employees are more satisfied with their material rewards than permanent.
The study revealed that material motivation is a predictor of job performance at a significance level of 0.05 (β = .423; p = 0.02 < sig = 0.05). based of this finding, the hypothesis that suggested material reward is a predictor of job satisfaction is supported. This conclusion is supported by a number of investigations (for example Herzberg, 2003; Moon, 2000; Stinson & Johnson, 1977). Psychological variables such as working environment, corporate regulations and administration, and interpersonal interactions between supervisors and employees, according to Herzberg’s two-factor theory, do not motivate, but rather avoid dissatisfaction and suffering. Their presence only creates the ideal working environment. Working conditions are a significant concern of management, according to Lindner’s poll at Ohio State University (Lindner, 1998), because the working environment can to some extent impact employee’s performance.
RECOMMENDATIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INFORMATION:
Acquired from the interviews, material benefits are the most preferred sort of reward among university workers; as a result, there is a need to broaden the range of monetary incentives that management may provide to its personnel. One of the recommendations is to extend the use of yearly salary bonus agreements to a broader range of employees since it adds extra value to the process of employee recognition and evaluation. Furthermore, by accomplishing new responsibilities and stepping outside of their comfort zone, lower-level employees have a fantastic opportunity to strengthen their professional abilities and competences and advance their careers. Praise and recognition may serve to elicit intrinsic or psychological pleasures in certain people.
Managers must empower their subordinates to take on new challenges, demonstrating that the employees can be trusted and that they are capable of completing duties on their own. Management can train workers in the internal environment according to the preferred standards and criteria as a result of such a strategy, while also increasing the rate of internal hiring and lowering the cost of recruitment.
The second idea is to enhance the quantity of intrinsic rewards, because even something as insignificant as verbal compliments and gratitude may make a significant difference in the lives of employees. According to the research that was done based on the data collected, some employees believe that psychological rewards are significant to the work that they accomplish. For example, recognizing employees for the job they perform, particularly when they go above and beyond the expectations of management, would go a long way toward increasing overall employee productivity.
By participating in these events, employees will feel more valued, which will increase their @ level of devotion and loyalty to the organization. Another change that is quite important is providing staff with yearly training on compensation rules and procedures. Both employees and management should be given training opportunities. Staff would gain valuable information about the many types of incentives available in the organization, while management would be educated to administer awards more efficiently and, as a result, raise the overall level of employee performance.
Staff members should also be given the opportunity to participate in sessions where they may complete surveys that have been particularly created to consider different forms of incentives. It would be feasible to draw conclusions and make judgments about how to enhance the incentive system based on the findings of the study and analysis.
The research study is restricted in scope, focusing on a small number of material and psychological rewards, and it does not cover all of the available rewarding strategies. Further investigation may be required in order to obtain a thorough picture of the company’s reward structure and to analyze its impact on overall employee performance. It is also concluded that there are other elements that have an impact on employee performance, such as job satisfaction level, and that future study should be undertaken in order to broaden the scope of other organizational areas that have an impact on employee performance level.
Furthermore, because the research study was conducted specifically among university staff and in accordance with its needs and goals, the recommendations and outputs can only be fully applied in the context of this specific company and are not suitable for use in other organizations without prior investigation. However, the following research study and its findings might serve as a model or a basis for future studies of a similar character, which would investigate the elements that influence the level of performance of university employees in comparable situations.
Finally, increasing the number of participants in the study may help to improve the quality of the findings. Investigation of the influence of a reward system on employee performance may be carried out on a worldwide scale, which allows for the development of globally coordinated activities to enhance the incentive system.
The scope of the following inquiry was limited due to time constraints and the researcher’s conviction, but given the appropriate amount of time and resources, it is feasible to take the investigation to an entirely new level of sophistication.