Information Acquisition Strategies And Administrative Effectiveness Of The Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State

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ABSTRACT

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

            Information plays a key role in every aspect of life. People need information to work properly in their respective domains. Keeping the important role of relevant, valid and updated information in view, organizations are now more concerned about the successful planning and design of computer-based information systems.  The concern begins with the determination of critical information needs for top management and other member and extends to the methods and techniques that will transform these information needs into information systems (Farzana& Khalid, 2013). The role information played in decision making cannot be overstated because effective decision making demands accurate, timely and relevant information. Information resources is one of the major issues and indices of planning, if the relevant information required for planning are not available at the appropriate time, there is bound to be poor planning, inappropriate decision making, poor priority of needs, defective programming or scheduling of activities (Ajayi, Omirin&Fadekemi, 2007). Hence, the more complex an organization’s structure is, the greater the need for coordination within and between sections and department. However, central to the needed coordination is information. This view was buttressed by Murdock and Pross (2001), which opined that Information is absolutely essential to the survival of an organization. As organization grow the pressure of scale, complexity and increased rate of change make adequate information processing capacity inevitable, if effective control consequent upon coordination of individual activities is to be achieved.Thus, the information needed for efficient and effective decision making in polytechnic cannot be provided from people’s often-deficient memories (Ajayi et. al, 2007). Moreover, it is impossible to plan activities over a long period of time effectively without adequate information management. The knowledge to be created or established   must be stored to ensure continuity of reason and adaptative academic pursuit. The information stored must then be recalled at will and be disseminated for use in taking decision, which is in the interest of the society at large.

Information acquisition strategies is an integrated series of action taken by the administrators, management and decision makers of an organization and institution in gathering information or recorded experience which will be added to their previous knowledge to enhance the decision making (Erwat & Fabunmi, 2006). Today, information technology has developed rapidly and has had a huge impact on access to information and on information gathering system. The need for changes and improvement in the quality of education has become apparent in Nigeria especially in higher educational sector. The motivation for such a change has been the explosion and proliferation of information in various formats and changing patterns of information management of an organization.To make an effective and efficient decision in organization adequate and timely information must be gathered from different sources. Ideally the information obtained will enable a well-defined, accurate and complete description of how the business or organization functions.

There are many strategies that can be employed when acquiring information. The type of information one is trying to obtain, as well as the people providing the information, will determine which strategy to be use. Information acquisition and information management capacity affect administrators’ decision-making effectiveness (Erwat & Fabunmi, 2006). They further stressed that the ability of managers to acquire relevant, timely, reliable, current, sufficient, accurate and complete information is very important in efficient and effective decision-making of such administrator. Ali (2000) reported that managers in Nigerian banking industry acquired their information needs from the stockbrokers, customers, colleagues and company annual reports. Miller (2001) was of the view that business information could better be acquired from direct contact with customers, printed information documents and electronics information services.Nevertheless, Arnott and Tan (1991) cited in Popoola (2009) classified information acquisition strategy as either reactive or proactive. In reactive mode, managers collect information in response to a specific question or problem. On the other hand, proactive information acquisition strategy occurs when managers scan or survey the environment for any information that may be relevant or important. It must be noted that managers in insurance companies most often consider information richness of any available source or channel and their relevance to their needs in decision-making performance before acquiring information therefrom.

Administration according to Homby (2002) is perceived as activity done in order to plan, organize and successfully run a business, school or other institution. It is a process or act of organizing the way that something is done. As defined by Eden (2006) administration involves planning activities which aimed at the fulfillment of the goals of a particular organization or institution. It calls for the ability of the administrators to make the right decision to fulfill the require goals.Peretomode (2003) asserted that administration is the component part of the management concerned with facilitating accomplishment of the objectives of an organization like school through the systematic management of constraints and careful utilization of the available limited resources like human, material, finance and so on.In institutional settings therefore, administration has been extended as a service activity or tool through which the fundamental objectives of the institutional process may be more optimize efficiently when allocating human and material resources as well as to make the best use of existing resources (Liverpool &Jacinta, 2013).The concept of administrative effectiveness has been defined differently by different authors due to its complex nature (Bao 2009). Some researchers defined it as the positive response to administrative efforts and actions with the intention to accomplish stated goal (Akomolafe, 2012). Although, administrative effectiveness is defined as the product of a series of complexnested relations and an interaction pattern (Ademilua, 2012). An administration’s capacity to forecast problems beforehand shows itself as a result of the characteristics and behaviors in his personal relationships and consulting criteria. Effective administration requires a balance of skills among many dimensions and these dimensions and parameters are influenced to a different degree by personal, organizational, and environmental contextual factors (Analoui, 2007). This balance includes not only a series of quality behaviors but also many personality traits as an administrator. Organizational size is another contingency variable which is thought to affect the effectiveness of different organizational forms (Hofler, 2010).   Effectiveness of polytechnic administration can be maintained by using many factors but for the purpose of this researchthree major determinants such as conflict management, time management and Decision Makingwhich are important and critical factors for measuring effectiveness of administrator are considered.

Conflict has been observed to be in existence in all human organizations including the polytechnic system. It could be described as all forms of opposition, disagreement, friction between two or more parties and it manifests in the forms of arguments, protests, demonstration, aggression and other destructive behaviours.  While conflict occurrence has been observed to be inevitable and ubiquitous in human organizations, the strategies for managing it have remained topical issues and matters of concern to individuals, groups and scholars (NOUN, 2009). Adeyemi (2010) found that in the Nigerian school system, conflict occurs from time to time. He argued that conflict is the art of coming into collision, clash or be in opposition with one another. Conflict management strategies refer to the internal mechanisms used by the various authorities in resolving conflict. In the Nigerian school system, there had been chains of conflicts which had led to gradual but steady disruption of academic activities. Many scholars have identified different conflict management strategies being used in organizations. Ladipo (1997) cited by Adeyemi and Ademilua (2012) identified conflict management strategies of forcing, structural changes, avoidance, compromise and smoothing. In a related study, Hodge and Anthony (2002) identified conflict management strategies as suppression, smoothing, avoiding, compromise, third-party intervention, cooperation, democratic process, job rotation as well as confrontation.

On the order hand, Ngando (2011) asserted that time management is one of the factors of assessing the effectiveness of school administrator. He viewedtime management as a systematic application of common sense strategies and techniques to help you become more effective in both your personal and professional in life. Despite the type of activity to be performed, time is the most crucial resource first to be considered. From primordial to modern administrative settings challenged by technological innovations time still remains major determinant of successful or unsuccessful completion of task. Every activity following due processesoflife isfacilitated by appropriateallocation oftime (Ugwulashi, 2013).Time determines the imperativeness of any other resources in accomplishing organization setoutobjectivesandgoals.Withouttimemanagementtheefficientandeffectiveuseofallresources will be impossible. Mullins (2005) points out ‘that whatever, the attributes or qualities of a successful administrator, or the quality of subordinate staff, one essential underlying criterion is the effective use of time’. Time refers to the limiting factor for effective administration. Therefore, time management stands as an effective tool necessary for organization effectivenessinrealizationofsetoutobjectivesandgoals. Time management philosophy tends to x-ray the importance and appropriate utilization of time as a resource in accomplishing organization objectives and goals (ugwulashi, 2013). Managing time appropriately leads to achieving results easily with limited resources. Consequently, any productive system, whatever its structure, human, technology or financial support requires efficient and effective time management procedure.Toimprovequalityofschoolactivitiesrequirescooperativeeffortofallmembersthrough time management. Obviously time is very important administrative tool in carrying out daily duties by the administrators, teachers, students, community and government. A time management plan enables effective administrator to identify if he is using his time effectively and doing important activitieswiththehighestenergylevelsinthesystem.

Time management is also important for effective inspection and supervision of school in bringing the much needed quality. Effective time management ensures unambiguous objectives, proactive planning, well defined priorities and actions; participatory and successful delegation of activities. Nevertheless, time is continuum and all activities or roles performance depend on it whether voluntary or involuntary in avoiding conflicts. Time management facilitates the symbolic relations between the school and society in efficient and effective use of available school resources. Without this mutual relationship realization of school needs would be difficult, untimely and other resources wasted as the community may starve it of facilities and assistance required from them. Hence the school success is made easy or destroyed by extension of relations and services timely or untimelyfromthewidersociety. Time management appropriately adopted by school administrators helps to improve standard, save costs, remedy poor situations, leads to value and above all, harmonizes organization focus. Improving school administration requires time to provide all it takes to make a quality school (administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff, classrooms, libraries, desks, chairs, tables, environment and entire school plant management etc.)

In addition to the above listed measures of administrative effectiveness, Decision making is an important element in the daily life of an educational administrator. Researches hasdemonstrated that leaders may differ in relation to their decision making behaviors (Stueart&Moran, 2008).Decision making is a process of making a choice from a number of alternatives to achieve a desired result (Eisenfuhr, 2011).  Through the differentiation of behaviors, school administrator may vary in their approaches, implementations, and executions of various tasks or duties within their daily schedules.  Therefore, an administrator’s style of decision making may impact the way he/she thinks, acts, and leads. Decision making is a way of life for school administrators. Although everyone in a school makes some decisions, school administrators are paid to make decisions. Their main responsibility lies in making decisions rather than performing routine operations. The quality of the decisions made is a predominant factor in how the superintendent, for example, views an administrator’s performance, or how administrator views a department head or team leader’s performance. Furthermore, decision making affects the performance of a school or school administrator effectiveness and the welfare of its stakeholders: students, teachers, parents, and the community.  

Historically scientists have emphasized two basic models of decision making: the rational model and the bounded rationality model (March, 2010).Administrative decision making is assumed to be rational when the school administrators make decisions under certainty: They know their alternatives; they know their outcomes; they know their decision criteria; and they have the ability to make the optimum choice and then to implement it (Towler, 2010). According to the rational model, the decision making process can be broken down into six steps which are identifying the problem, generating alternative, evaluating alternatives, choosing an alternative, implementing the decision and evaluating decision effectiveness (Schoenfeld, 2011). Effective decision makers are keenly aware of the importance of properly identifying the problem and  understanding  the  problem  situation. Kepner and Tregoe(2005) developed a method of problem analysis that suggests that the first step in decision making, identifying the problem, is the most important step. According to these authors, providing a good definition of the problem affects the quality of the decision. Their method suggests that it is often easier to define what the problem is not, rather than what it is. Also, the problem—and its solution—are prioritized with other problems, to clarify its relative importance. The final step is searching for cause-effect relationships. The process of identifying problems requires surveillance of the internal and external environment for issues that merit attention (Verschaffel, 2011). School administrators scan the world around them to determine whether the school is progressing satisfactorily toward its goals. For example, school administrators survey students, teachers, parents, and community members using instruments to measure satisfaction, organizational climate, and the like. Other information may come from formal information systems, such as periodic accounting reports, Management Information System (MIS) reports, and organizational plans designed to discover problems before they become too serious. Or the information may be gathered informally by talking over the situation and by personal observation. A principal, for example, might discuss a school performance problem with teachers, the superintendent, or other principals to obtain ideas and information. The school administrator must be plugged into an information system, whether formal or informal, that gathers these data as a means of identifying problems. 

The rational decision making model, discussed above, characterizes the decision maker as completely rational. If a decision maker were completely rational, she would have perfect information: know all alternatives, determine every consequence, and establish a complete preference scale. Moreover, the steps in the decision-making process would consistently lead toward selecting the alternative that maximizes the solution to each decision problem.   Frequently, school administrators are not aware that problems exist. Even when they are, they do not systematically search for all possible alternative solutions. They are limited by time constraints, cost, and the ability to process information. So they generate a partial list of alternative solutions to the problem based on their experience, intuition, advice from others, and perhaps even some creative thought. Rationality is, therefore, limited. Herbert (2009) coined the term bounded rationality to describe the decision maker who would like to make the best decisions but normally settles for less than the optimal.

Polytechnic, Ibadan was established in 1970 as a successor to the formerly Technical College, Ibadan under the provisions of a principal Edict cited as the Polytechnic, Ibadan Edict 1970. This Edict has undergone several amendments in order to make the Polytechnic relevant to the present day needs of Oyo State, the Proprietor in particular and Nigeria in general.The primary function of the Polytechnic is to provide for students training and development of techniques in applied science, engineering, environmental science and commerce. The Polytechnic has been producing majorly middle-level manpower that has been making valuable contributions to the social and economic development of the country. Over the years the Polytechnic has also produced high-level manpower in some areas such as urban and regional planning, mass communication etc. The primary focus of the Polytechnic is training that is practical oriented.The institution has been performing this function creditably well for over thirty years. The graduates of the Polytechnic, Ibadan are found in almost all areas of endeavour all over the country and even outside the country. Some of them have become captains of industries and commerce (The Polytechnic Ibadan, 2016). By the amendment to the principal Edict of the Polytechnic which came into force on 17th March, 1987, four Satellite Campuses of the Polytechnic were created. They took off during 1981/82 session and were sited at Eruwa, Saki, Iree and Esa-Oke. Each of the Campuses is headed by a Director who is responsible to the Rector for the administration and discipline of the campus. However, with the creation of Osun State, the campuses at Iree and Esa-Oke have become the property of Osun State Government and are today known as Osun State Polytechnic Iree and Osun State College of Technology Esa-Oke. It is important to point out that the then Technical College was situated at the South Campus while the then University of Ife (now ObafemiAwolowo University) took off at the North Campus. The Polytechnic also offer a wide range of specialized short courses not only for the purpose of improving the vocational competence of technical and commercial workers, but also to provide an opportunity for presenting the most recent advances in knowledge and in techniques to specialist groups. It also provides opportunities for creative development and research related to the needs of teaching and industry and the business community, particularly in its service area (The Polytechnic Ibadan, 2016).

Since 1975/76 academic session, the Polytechnic, Ibadan has been operating on faculty system for easier work co-ordination and management. At present, there are five faculties namely: Engineering, Science, Environmental Studies, Financial and Management Studies and Business and Communication Studies. The faculties run Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma programmes.

Statement of the Problem

Inadequate information acquisition and exchange system jeopardize administrative effectiveness which makes manager malnourished administratively, especially in Nigeria tertiary institution. The consequence of this has been the current distressed syndrome that Nigeria tertiary institutional managers are facing. There has been a lot of concern to solve problems arising from inadequate acquisition, storage, flow and use of information in tertiary institution administrative processes. The inadequate access to, or possession and gathering of relevant information has negative impact on the administrative effectiveness of educational administrators.

Farzana& Khalid (2013) listed many variables affecting the information needs and seeking behaviour of educational administrators such as their work context, Administrative responsibilities and work experience along with source preferences and use of information. Erwat & Fabunmi (2006) stated that the inability of the educational administrator to do their administrative work diligently was as a result of inadequate communication and information processing facilities and manual method of processing and storage of information. In Nigeria today, majority of the people judge effectiveness of educational administrators with the variable such as: numbers of student graduated, timely release of student results, immediate reply of the institution to neighboring institution inquiry and stable academic calendar.

Therefore, this study examined the roles played by information acquisition strategies on administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan,Oyo State, Nigeria. In this respect, this study is concerned not only with the sources of information, processing and storage of information for administrative uses but also with how information gathered is been disseminated to administrators at different level of the organization to support their decision making. 

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to examine information acquisition strategies and administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan,Oyo State, Nigeria. Other specific purposes of this study are to:

  1. examine the relationship between information gathering strategies and administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.
  2. investigate the roles of information storage strategies on administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.
  3. examine the influence of information dissemination strategies on administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan,Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Research Hypotheses

One main and three operational hypotheses were formulated to guide this study.

Main Hypothesis;

Ho: There is no significant relationship between information acquisition strategies and administrative effectiveness of the polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Operational Hypothesis;

Ho1: There is no significant relationship between information gathering strategy and administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

Ho2: There is no significant relationship between information storage strategy and administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Ho3:There is no significant relationship between information dissemination strategy and administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Scope of the Study

This study examined the relationship between information acquisition strategies and administrative effectiveness of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan,Oyo state, Nigeria. It focuses on all the administrative staffs which comprise ofboth the senior cadre and junior cadre administrative personnel of the institution. However, the independent variable of this study covers such area as: sources of administrative information, polytechnic information storage and dissemination system. Two set of instrument entitled Information Acquisition Strategies Questionnaire (IASQ) and Administrative Effectiveness Questionnaire (AEQ) were used to collect data for the study. Pearson product moment correlation statistics (PPMC) was used to test the hypotheses raised in the study, using statistical package for social science (SPSS).

Significance of the Study

            It is believed that the findings of this study would be of great significance to educational administrators. It would help reveal the impact of information acquisition strategies on administrative effectiveness ofThe Polytechnic Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Also, the findings of the study would be helpful to educational managers and administrators in realizing how important information management is, to the effectiveness and efficient discharge of their duties. Finally, the findings of the study is important to all educational stakeholders, because it would showed them how important information acquisition, storage and dissemination is, towards their work effectiveness and the process of minimizing and eliminating the wastage of educational resources, thereby enabling the enormous resources expended on education to be justified and adequately utilized towards the improvement of educational sector especially in Oyo State.

Operational Definition of Terms

The following definitions are defined as they are used in this study:

  • Administrative Effectiveness: administration is a generalized type of human behavior found in an organization. Administration is a process through which decision are reached. It’s the process of directing and controlling life in any social organization such as school or in an industry.
  • Information:  is a data that has been processed into form or manner that is meaningful to the recipient and of real or perceived value with current or prospective decision.
  • Information acquisition Strategies: refers to the method of gathering, storage and dissemination of information for effective administration of polytechnics.
  • Effectiveness: is the degree to which objectives are achieved and extent to which targeted problems are solved. It is determined without references to cost and it means doing the right things at the right time with the right reason.
  • Polytechnic: refers to a school or institution in which instruction in Arts, Applied Science and technical subject is given.

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