The Effect Of Motivational Strategies On Employee Performance In The Nigerian Ports Authority

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The study examined the effect of Motivational strategies on employee performance in Nigeria’s port authority, marina, Lagos State. It examined how Motivational strategies affect job security, salary structure, work environment in Nigeria ports authority, marina, Lagos state.             

The study adopted the descriptive survey design. The population of the study comprised 507 employees of Nigerian Port Authority, Marina, Lagos state at junior, senior and management positions. The sample size of study is 224 employees which were selected using probability sampling through Taro Yammane. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, mean and standard deviation. The Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) was used for the purpose of this research as a comprehensive and flexible statistical analysis and data management solution.

The findings revealed that job security has a significant effect on employee productivity. Salary structure has a significant effect on service quality. Working environment has a significant effect on job satisfaction.

The study hereby concluded that motivational strategies are significant in effecting improvement in employee performance. The study suggest that; Managers should ensure regular pay and availability of necessary resources to work with to ensure maximum productivity. The organization should ensure that they find out the best environment where work can be carried out and will be achieved.




1.1  Background to the Study

In modern competitive world, business organization are facing over growing challenge regarding commitment, engagement, belief, recruitment, and retention of their employees. Multiple studies in different countries shows that employees who are passionate about their jobs and organization in which they work in the minority DDI (Development Dimension International)’s owns research reveals that only 19% of employees are highly engaged within their organization. The number of employees experiencing retention difficulties has climbed from 69% in last year’s survey to 78% in this year’s survey private sector businesses claims to be struggling more to hold on to employees that any of the other sectors (83%). Not only is that, also in the field of recruitment, a high proportion of these organizations still experiencing difficulty (84%) (Nurun. N, Islam. M, Dip. T, & Hossain. A, 2017).

Motivation is about giving your staffs the right mixture of guidance, direction, resources and rewards so that they are inspired and keen to work in the way that you want them to. So, a large portion behind these difficulties can easily be solved by importing proper motivation in fierce era of competition, organization nowadays are more emphasizing on the management of Human Resources. A manager capable of managing his employees effectively is a successful one. Motivational tools are the most effective in this context. We always have to keep in mind that employees are not motivated solely by money and employee’s behaviour is linked to their attitudes.

According to Boles (2014), the word motivation is derived from “Motive”. The meaning of “motive” is the needs, wants, and the desire of a person. According to Saeed and Muneer (2012), companies have in most cases made used of motivation in order to boost the morale of employees in the workplace, thereby promoting high quality and output. These motivational strategies are often adapted from the various motivational theories postulated by different theorists and implemented in the form of rules, reforms and regulations that guide the organization. Theories of motivation are therefore a set of tools for understanding, explaining, and making predictions on the forces that push people to behave in a particular way or take a particular action (Shah and Shah, 2000). Amongst the various motivational strategies are ones which when applied could effectively increase productivity and achievement among employees in an organization.

In Nigeria today, lack of proper managerial knowledge, economic depression and high rate of unemployment have made most workers subjected to themselves, to deplorable working conditions, which of course are the catalyst of low performance. The management of most organization tends to believe that workers are satisfied with their job but unfortunately they are not. The disadvantage of these to the employers that workers will not put in their best and the result will be low performance.  In Nigeria, most at times, the pay given to a worker is not commensurable to the type of work done. This is the reason why sometimes efficient and experience worker leave an organization for another organization that pay more or stay in the organization and perform below expectation. Motivated employees are more productive, happier, and stay with the organization longer. By understanding employee needs, managers can understand what rewards to use to motivate them. Reward systems and recognition are consistently acknowledged by organizations and managers as an important element in motivating individual employees (Armstrong & Murlis, 2007). Maslow (1943) sets money at the lowest hierarchy level and shows that other needs work as better motivators to staff. Herzberg (1959) based on Maslow’s’ pyramid supports that money tends to have a motivating effect on employees that lasts only a short period of time (two-factor model of motivation). McGregor (2002) places money in his Theory X category and feels it is a poor motivator. Praise and recognition are placed in the Theory Y category and are considered stronger motivators than money. Motivated employees always look for better ways to do a job, Motivated employees are more quality oriented, Motivated workers are more productive.. Therefore, motivation has become a key part of human resource management. According to Alshehri (2014) motivational strategies can be divided into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation involves inward or internal drives that an employee possesses. According to Wu (2016) intrinsic motivation include the characteristics that motivate individuals to act on an activity for the pure joy that accompanies such activity without any external factors or motives. Contrarily extrinsic motivation involves motivational strategies that are external to the employee. According to Ryan and Deci (2015) extrinsic motivation involves some external goal that the employee aims to achieve. Chew and Poh (2015) noted that the ability of an organization to combine the two styles of motivation is key maximizing productivity and performance of employees.


Motivating employees is a challenge and keeping employees motivated an even greater challenge (Levy, 2013). Today, organizations are under intense pressure to identify and implement programs that will prove effective in improving employee productivity (Deci, 2013). It is no longer enough to increase salaries and expect increased performance; it is more complex than that (George and Jones, 2013). Employee motivation affects productivity and a poorly motivated labor force will be costly to the organization in terms of lower productivity and performance, excessive staff turnover, increased expenses, frequent absenteeism and a negative effect on the morale of colleagues (Jobber and Lee, 2014). It is a well known fact that the success of an organization largely depends on the quality of its human resource, irrespective of the industry within which it operates (Deci, 2013). It is with this in mind that leaders and managers must strive to ensure that their workforce is motivated and therefore productive.

According to James (2012), Job security has a significant effect on the overall performance of the employee as well as on the organization’s performance. Furthermore, he noted that organizational workers with low job security cause people to lose faith in their future which consequently affect performance. Job security is defined as the assurance in an employee’s job continuity due to the general economic conditions in the country (James, 2012). It is concerned with the possibility or probability of an individual keeping his or her job (Adebayo and Lucky, 2012). Job security deals with the chances of employees keeping their jobs in order not to be unemployed (Simon, 2011). (Bumi, 2011; Hassan 2010) The employee’s individual performance through his job is directly linked with the overall performance of the organization. Therefore, it seems their performance is linked to organizational performance, their contributions to will be less and ineffective if they feel low job security in the organization. Perceptions of job security contributed unique and significant variance to the prediction of employee health, suggesting that job security is central to the physical and psychological well-being of employees (Spector, 2014). According to Shoss (2013), job insecurity in the manufacturing sector stems from factors such as reductions in pay, layoffs or fewer resources at work. This has caused employees to be concerned about the future of their jobs thereby affecting their work performance.

Martineau, Lehman, Matwa & Kathyola (2016) also opined that the salary structure of an organization is a major determinant in defining whether employees are satisfied on their job amongst or not. Salary can be defined as a monetary payment that is done by the employer to his employee for the work done or services rendered during a particular period of time (Werner, 2015). Milkovinch and Boudreau (2015) defined salary as a totality of forms of financial returns, tangible services, and benefits that an employee receives as part of their employment relationship. According Lupovic (2017) employees with high salaries tend feel satisfied despite the pressure and stress that comes with their job. He further notes that this feeling of satisfaction influences their attitude. However, according a Jobberman Survey in 2017, many employees in Nigeria feel they are underpaid (Jobberman, 2017). Majority of these employees are in the manufacturing sector (Williams, 2015). The issue with the low salary structure in place in the manufacturing industry has to do with the fact that it is not competitive (Moses, 2013). According to Ilesanmi (2014) when compared with other sectors in the economy, the salary structure of the manufacturing industry pales in comparison. Ommawumi (2015) suggested that this has led to a poor attitude by employees in the manufacturing resulting in poor performance.

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Chandrasekar (2016) also suggested that the working environment of an organization plays a significant role in influencing the employees’ performance. Similarly, Koima (2015) opined that the quality of the workplace environment impacts on employees’ commitment. Furthermore, he noted that due to the ever changing dynamic of the working environment, many new generation companies have been forced to remodel their working environment. New Generation companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft design their offices in a unique way that promotes creativity among their employees and spurs job satisfaction (Mason, 2015). Employees enjoy perks like full body massages, playing of video games and ability to see health specialists anytime they want (Bullard, 2017). Furthermore, in Nigeria tech companies are following suit by making their offices worker friendly. However, in Nigerian manufacturing companies noise constitutes a major part of the working environment (Ajala, 2016). According to a Jobberman (2016) some employees in Guiness Nigeria plc complained that the production process involves the use of many machines which makes sounds that can be sickening. This might discourage employee commitment. In addition, according to a KPMG survey (2015) some employees in Coca-Cola made the point that working in manufacturing companies is stressful with output demanded from employees and many times long hours of shifts well beyond the stipulated working hours are demanded of them without any overtime payment (William, 2015). According to Ajala (2016) this has affected the productivity of employees in the manufacturing companies as many of them are not satisfies and therefore no longer committed to attaining organizational goals and objectives.

This study examined the effect of motivation on the employees at Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). NPA is a federal government agency that governs and operates the ports of Nigeria. The major ports controlled by the NPA include: the Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port in Lagos. NPA accelerated the expansion of port facilities after the end of the cement armada. The government spent over 190 million naira to complete the Tin Can Island port with two roll on roll off facilities. It built a third wharf in Apapa and expanded facilities at the Warri and Calabar ports. It also constructed three lighter terminals in Kiri Kiri, Onne and Ikorodu.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The competition in the business world is at an all time high and this has also been reflected in the human resource field as the struggle for business organizations to get the best talent, train them and motivate them to give their best performances as been increasing daily. Many researchers have studied employee motivation so far. The main misconception about motivation was good wages as a primary motivational strategy among employees regardless of the organization in which they are employed, Wong (2007). One of the most difficult and important duties for the management is employee motivation which in turn affects employee performance.

Workers need security of all types; physical, psychological and economic are important for effective and efficient performance. Security can serve as an incentive to some individual to remain with the organization and to put in maximum effort in productivity. Job dissatisfaction is quite prevalent in most organization, low performance which comes as a result of job dissatisfaction is always the basis for conflict between organization and workers. Managers always blame the workers for not putting in their best, and on side of the workers they blame management for not providing or creating an enabling environment as in motivation

Majority of empirical research on this topic is focused on the performance issues, and most studies show that well directed human resource practices do increase firm’s performance (Siropolis, 1994). But the effect of these motivational practices on workers job satisfaction is rarely asked or examined in the human resource practices. Yet, the impact of motivation at the work place has become an increasingly critical issue. In this light, it becomes difficult to generalize motivational strategies and their impact on the employee job satisfaction and hence the need to conduct an in depth research on this topic.

Some organizations have been known to experience a high staff turnover despite offering above average salaries (Aguinis, 2012). This tells us that money is not the only way to motivate employees. Additionally, different people are motivated by different factors. It is important for managers and supervisors to understand what motivates individual employees, and not assume a one-size-fits-all approach (George and Jones, 2013). An organization is only as strong as its workforce. Human resources need to be treated with great care, since they are a special resource that needs to be given special managerial attention and time, Storey (2013). Therefore, studies like this are an invaluable resource in helping organizations identify and maximize on ways to motivate employees whilst mitigating employee turnover and under-performance (Steers and Porter, 2011).

Furthermore, there has been no consistency in the findings of past researchers with some studies showing that only salary structure is an effective motivational strategy (Igbaekemen, 2014), while other studies have shown other factors such as Job Satisfaction, Service delivery and Working Environment as major motivational factors that influence employee’s performance (Becker, 2016). Therefore, there is a need to clarify the impact of various motivational strategies on employee performance and if their effects are significant enough to shape employee’s performance. This study will aim to solve these problems during the course of the research

1.3 Research Objectives

The general aim of the study is to determine the effect of motivational strategies on employee performance. The specific aims of the study are to:

  1. Determine the significant effect of job security on employee productivity.
  2. Determine the significant effect of salary structure on service delivery.
  3. Determine the significant effect of working environment on job satisfaction.

1.4  Research Question

The research will seek to answer the following questions:

  1. How does job security affect employee productivity in the Nigerian ports authority, Lagos state?
  2. What is the significant effect of salary structure on service delivery?
  3. How does the working environment affect the job satisfaction in the Nigerian ports authority, Lagos state?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses are formulated for testing:

H0(1):    Job security has no significant effect on employee productivity.

H0(2):    Salary structure has no significant effect on service delivery.

H0(3):    Working Environment has no significant effect on job performance.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study will focus on the effect of motivational strategies on employee performance in the Nigerian ports authority. The employees of the firm, Nigerian ports authority, Lagos State were selected for the purpose of this study. The population of the study will constitute the 507 employees of the Nigerian ports authority, Lagos state. The sample of the study will be restricted to 224 employees. The study adopted the use of questionnaire which was used to elicit information from the respondent. The collected data will be subjected to regression analysis on the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) to draw a scientific and acceptable conclusion.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The findings of this research is useful to the management of Nigerian ports authority as it would provide more understanding to the them about the influence of motivational strategies and how it could affect the level of performance of the employees. The study will show the management of Nigerian ports authority the effect of various motivational strategies on employee performance and the motivational strategy that will be appropriate in the manufacturing industry.

The research will be beneficial to other industries as it will help them identify the appropriate motivational strategies that suit their industry.   The study will further show companies in the industry how motivation can help improve the performance of the industry as a whole. It will further show the relationship between motivation and increase in productivity levels in the manufacturing sector.

This research is also pertinent to society as it will enhance their knowledge on motivational strategies and employee performance. It will make them understand the phenomena of how motivational strategies influences employee performance.


1.8 Definition of Operational Terms

Motivation: Motivation describes what a person wants and about the person’s emotional state, and how it drives him in the direction of achieving what he wants. (Mullins, 2015)

Employee Performance: Employee performance Management is about aligning the organizational objectives with the employees’ agreed measures, skills, competency requirements, development plans and the delivery of results (Rodriguez, 2007).

Job Security: Job security is defined as the assurance in an employee’s job continuity due to the general economic conditions in the country (James, 2012).

Working Enviroment: The work environment can be described as the environment in which people are working. (Jain & Kaur, 2014)

Employee Productivity: Productivity is the amount of units of a product or service that an employee handles in a defined or given time frame. (Jason, 2017)

Service Delivery: Service delivery is defined as the consumer’s overall impression of the relative inferiority, superiority of the organization and its services. (Rohr, 1994)

Job Satisfaction: the feeling of pleasure and achievement that you experience in your job when you know that your work is worth doing, or the degree to which your work gives you this feeling. (Cambridge dictionary)

1.9 Historical Background

The Nigerian Ports Authority started operations in April 1955 following the implementation of the Ports Act of 1954.[3] In the beginning, the public corporation managed only the Lagos and Port Harcourt ports while some private companies managed the remaining Nigerian ports. In addition to managing cargo handling, quay and berthing facilities at the Lagos and Port Harcourt ports, the initial law also gave it the responsibility of managing harbors and approaches to all ports in the country. By 1963 the firm had grown successfully, it was operating a cargo ship from Lagos to Port Harcourt and also began dredging the Bonny terminal for oil operations.[4] In the same year, the firm issued a £4.3 million loan stock in London. NPA accelerated the expansion of port facilities after the end of the cement armada. The government spent over 190 million naira to complete the Tin Can Island port with two roll on roll off facilities. It built a third wharf in Apapa and expanded facilities at the Warri and Calabar ports. It also constructed three lighter terminals in Kiri Kiri, Onne and Ikorodu.


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