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Performance Appraisal Fairness on Employees’ Performance in the Nigeria Television Authority (Nta), Abuja, Nigeria

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Journal of International Business Research and Marketing

Volume 7, Issue 3, March 2022, pages 22-35


Performance Appraisal Fairness on Employees’ Performance in the Nigeria Television Authority (Nta), Abuja, Nigeria

DOI: 10.18775/jibrm.1849-8558.2015.73.3003
URL: https://doi.org/10.18775/10.18775/jibrm.1849-8558.2015.73.3003 

Olubukola Ayoola Ozigi1, Pauline Ebere Onyeukwu1
 1 Department of Business Management and Marketing, Faculty of Management Science, Baze University, Abuja, Nigeria

Abstract: The degrees of unfairness (ranging from unfairness with regards to the actual appraisal rating process; unfairness arising from the procedures used in determining the appraisal rating and unfairness arising from the ratee’s treatment by the rater in the appraisal process) have become a regular feature of the appraisal system at NTA, this study was motivated to scrutinize the empirical effect of performance appraisal fairness on employees’ performance at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Abuja. Using a positivist philosophical approach guided by quantitative research design, 165 employees were selected out of the 280 employees using Taro Yamane. A close-ended (called a 5-point Likert scale) questionnaire was used to collect data. Empirically, descriptive and inferential statistics were used to test the responses from the retrieved questionnaire. The SPSS version 25.0 was utilized to perform all the statistical analyses. Four results were found based on the research hypotheses. First, it was found that distributive fairness strongly affects employees’ productivity at the NTA, Abuja. Secondly, it was discovered that procedural fairness significantly influences employees’ competence positively at the NTA, in Abuja. Thirdly, interactional fairness has a strong influence on employees’ effectiveness and efficiency at the NTA, Abuja. Also, this study discovered that the existing performance appraisal technique of the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja is not effective. Lastly, a strong positive relationship between appraisal fairness and employees’ performance was found. It is concluded that appraisal fairness strongly influences employees’ performance at the NTA. Consequently, it was suggested that the NTA management should endeavour to ensure that their appraisal rating invariably encompasses distributive, procedural and interactional fairness to ensure improved performance at all times.

Keywords: Appraisal Fairness, Employees Performance and NTA

1. Introduction

Globally, the labour market is rapidly experiencing dwindling frequency in the number of talented employees despite the fiercely competitive nature of the marketplace has continuously reinforced the strategic importance of a pragmatic approach to employees’ performance management, especially for future-driven organizations. However, one contemporary strategic approach to employees’ performance management is the use of performance appraisal. Conspicuously, the significance of performance appraisal to employee performance has continued to attract a scholastic renaissance among researchers and practitioners, nationally and internationally, because of the reported unequivocal and symbiotic causality between the two variables by researchers (Sudarsan, 2019; Okeke, et al., 2019; Zayum, et al., 2017; Kim, 2016). This, therefore, underscores the instrumentality of performance appraisal to ensure that employees perform optimally at all times towards ensuring organizational progressive expansion and development.

Performance appraisal connotes a periodic, predetermined, qualitative, quantitative, organized and formalized evaluation of employees’ strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis their present and future job prospects (Zayum, et al., 2017). Specifically, it is poised at identifying, measuring and evaluating workers’ performance results; revealing their abilities, capabilities and weaknesses deficiencies to improve future performance. Performance appraisal success linearly is a function of its fairness (distributive, procedural and interactional) that characterized the rating process and procedures. According to Simon-Davies (2019), while distributive fairness refers to fairness in work evaluation; procedural fairness to fairness about the rating procedure and interactional fairness refers to fairness about employee’s treatment in terms of dignity and respect (that is, interpersonal fairness) and fairness about the information adequacy disseminated to the employees concerning the rating process. Mass perceptions of the active presence of distributive, procedural and interactional fairness in employees’ rating process ensure its effectiveness.

Employee performance connotes the employees’ achievement of predetermined targets vis-à-vis the resources at/her disposal (Jalal, 2016). It can also be referred to as the level of employee output within a specific period. Typically, it is characterized by employees’ productivity, efficiency, effectiveness and growth. Jamali, et al. (2015) noted that, since organizational success depends parasitically on the performance of its employees, as a result, employee performance is a crucial business objective.

Observably, despite the existence of a handful of studies focusing on this study in Nigeria, preliminary investigation showed that these studies are virtually devoted to the profit-oriented sectors; leaving out the government-owned organizations, especially the television stations despite their apparent strategic economic significance. Consequently, it is given this lacuna that the present study strives to quantitative uncover the interrelationship between the performance appraisal process and employees’ performance in the federal government-owned Nigerian television station.

1.1 Statement of Problem

The fairness of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) performance appraisal especially its current Annual Performance Evaluation System (APER), has been laced with several degrees of unfairness ranging from unfairness with regards to the actual appraisal rating process (distribution fairness), unfairness arising from the procedures used in determining the appraisal rating (procedural fairness) and unfairness arising from the raters-rate interpersonal relationship in the process of appraisal (that is, interactional fairness). First, based on distributive fairness, the management of NTA invariably uses the performance appraisal process to punish their perceived ‘rebellious’ employees. In other words, rather than an objective evaluative tool, the top-management body has intentionally redefined the appraisal rating to be a subordination, oppression, victimization and exploitation tool to achieve their ulterior motive. Consequently, the feedback from the appraisal process is invariably subjective. Secondly, the performance appraisal at the NTA is characterized by archaic procedures because it is mostly riddled with the informal subjective system due to a poor database system for recording employees’ activities and tasks, lack of inter-rater reliability, and poor knowledge on the part of the supervisors, and besides, it is irregularly done. Also, interactional justice is always at its low ebb during the appraisal process as interpersonal unfairness and information unfairness have almost become a regular norm in the organization. Most often than not, appraisal ratings are deliberately tailored to favour some employees at the expense of others due to internal and/or external pressures. Also, some employees are advertently side-lined from having access to certain useful information just to prevent them from being to be objectively evaluated.

Consequently, nepotism arising from tribalism, godfatherism, religionism, and ethnicism, among others, and premeditated information asymmetry arising from communication barriers invariably debilitate the interactional fairness of the NTA appraisal rating. Given the existing distributing, procedural and interactional unfairness that has practically become a regular feature of the NTA’s performance rating process, the effectiveness of its current Annual Performance Evaluation System vis-à-vis its employees’ performance (productivity, growth, effectiveness and efficiency) is conspicuously doubtful. However, an empirical attempt to scientifically verify the existing Annual Performance Evaluation System, among other things, motivated the present study.

1.2 Research Questions

Responses were sought to the following research questions:

  1. How does distributive fairness affect employees’ productivity at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja?
  2. What effect does procedural fairness have on employees’ competence at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja?
  3. To what extent does interactional fairness affect employees’ effectiveness and efficiency at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja?
  4. How effective is the existing performance appraisal technique of the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja?

1.3 Research Objectives

The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of performance appraisal fairness on employees’ performance at the Nigerian Television Authority.

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Ascertain how distributive fairness affects the employees’ productivity at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.
  2. Examine how procedural fairness affects employees’ competence at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.
  3. Determine the effect of interactional fairness on employees’ effectiveness and efficiency at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.
  4. Ascertain the effectiveness of the existing performance appraisal technique at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.

1.4 Statement of Hypotheses

The following null research hypotheses are formulated to guide this study:

H01: Distributive fairness does not affect employees’ productivity at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.

H02: Procedural fairness does not significantly affect employees’ competence at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.

H03: Interactional fairness has no significant effect on employees’ effectiveness and efficiency at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.

H04: The existing performance appraisal technique at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja is not effective.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The empirical results, conclusions and suggestions put forward in this study would be useful for the following:

  • Nigerian Television Authority management as well as other similar organizations,
  • the employees of the station and other stations,
  • analysts and researchers including the students of Business Management at various scholastic degree levels.

 

2. Context and Literature Review

2.1 Conceptual Issues and Review

In this study, the conceptual review is used to synthesize the reviewed literature on the research variables through a conceptual model that depicts the interconnection between the dependent and independent variables. In this study, there are two variables, namely, the performance appraisal fairness and employee performance; both variables are schematically represented to purposively unveil their causal or correlational patterns of interconnections.

In Figure 1, the conceptual framework indicates that performance appraisal fairness is proxied by distributive, procedural and interactional fairness, while employee performance is proxied by productivity, competence and effectiveness and efficiency. When the outcome of appraisal rating is widely adjudged by employees to genuinely reflect distributive fairness, their inputs in the organization are bound to improve their productivity, competence and efficiency. However, the contrary happens when outcomes contrasted with their efforts. Also, when the decision reached by the management based on the appraisal rating outcomes is widely considered by the employees to encompass genuine procedural fairness, employees are motivated to improve their productivity, competence and efficiency. In addition, when interpersonal treatment such as; politeness, dignity, and respect by raters and informational treatment such as; adequacy of explanations concerning the rationale behind certain treatment or outcomes of employees during appraisal rating are widely perceived by employees to be fair, their productivity, competence and efficiency improve consequentially. It is clear from the foregoing that counterproductive work behaviour in an organization could be significantly mitigated using the three dynamics of appraisal fairness.

2.1.1 Concept of Performance Appraisal Fairness

There is an apparent agreement in the literature on the conceptual definition of performance appraisal. In Ajibola et al. (2019), performance appraisal connotes a timely and scientific assessment of historical and present abilities and capabilities as well as successes and failures of employees either for promotional objectives or for a training needs assessment. It is the determination of employees’ suitability for present against future job demands. Also, in Odunayo et al (2014) performance appraisal is used to characterize an officially discrete and hierarchically endorsed activity, ordinarily happening more than once in a year with clearly- defined rating measurements as well as criteria that are utilized in the assessment procedure. In addition, it can be referred to as an assessment procedure that quantitatively and regularly doled- out scores depending on employees’ assessment level of work done on the measurements or criteria utilized, and the scores are imparted to the worker being assessed (Sudarsan, 2019). Similarly, Okeke et al. (2019) noted that performance appraisal is needed to provide a basis not only for employee’s autonomous improvement, it also serves as a basis for engendering organizational activities to ensure employees’ proper guidance and development, especially towards upgrading their intra-organizational or inter-organizational employability skills and knowledge. Objectively, an increase in compensation and promotions tied to performance data outcomes through performance appraisal provides reliably more useful information than using subjective criteria. Through the assessment of employee performance, organizations become more aware of their level of strengths and areas of weakness and consequently take steps to ensure that they not only optimized their strengths but also improve their weakness which altogether incentivizes employees to improve on their past efforts to assist their organizations.

2.1.2 Concept of Employees’ Performance

In any organization, the performance of employees occupies a strategic position because it helps them determine the achievability of their goals. In the workplace, effective utilization of human resource capacity translates into improved organizational performance. There cannot be meaningful organizational performance without reliable and sustainable employee performance. It has become conventional nowadays for future-drive organizations to invariably strengthened employees’ performance through available windows. Performance of the employee is considered as what an employee does and what he doesn’t do.  Employee performance involves quality and quantity of output, presence at work, accommodative and helpful nature and timeliness of output. According to the results of the study conducted by Yang (2008) on individual performance showed that performance of the individuals cannot be verified.  Similarly, he asserts that organizations can use direct bonuses and rewards based on individual performance if employee performance is noticeable (Yang, 2008). Moral and productivity of employees is highly influenced by the effectiveness of performance of an organization and its reward management system (Yazıcı, 2008).

While management is concerned with employees’ outputs, employees, on the other hand, are concerned with the existence of a supportive work environment to bolster their performance. Sometimes, management, unlike, employees, might possess co-workers’ interactions information and use this to judge performance; without the knowledge of the employees.

2.1.3 Relationship Between Performance Appraisal Fairness and Employees’ Performance

There is an apparent conceptual interrelationship between individual performance appraisal and employees’ performance. Performance appraisal has three specific areas, namely, administrative, informative and motivational (anne, et al., 2012). Administratively, performance appraisal reconfigures an organization’s day-to-day administration by providing the basis for compensation structure, the delegation of authority and job designs among others. Informatively, the appraisal system serves as the source of managerial data and information on employees’ present strengths and weaknesses. The data obtained are usually useful in making useful employability decisions.

The motivational function encompasses the creation of a learning experience which incentivizes employees towards performance improvement. Performance appraisal, if effectively applied, can aid organizational management to set goals for the next appraisal. Specifically, performance appraisal benefits both the appraisee and the appraisal as well as the organizations. For the appraisee, the appraisal feedback enables them to know their employability worth and thereby strive to improve it if low or maintain it if it is high. It will also enable them to know their organizational contributions vis-à-vis the achievement of predetermined standards. As for the organization, performance appraisal uncovers its workforce value in the light of its strategic goals. Should the outcomes of the performance appraisal show that an organization has low workforce value, corrective actions (such as training and development) can be instituted, however, in case the feedback reveals that the workforce value is high, efforts (such as motivation) can be employed to sustain the tempo to remain competitive at all times. Lastly, as for the appraisee, the learning experience is continuous; it makes them update their knowledge while improving their skills.

Conspicuously, from the foregoing exposition, the link between performance appraisal and employee performance becomes apparent. When employees are appraised, their abilities, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses are exposed. Managers act on these to embark on necessary steps towards improving the weaknesses. Subsequently, it is expected that the steps were taken by management translate into improved performance through productivity, efficiency and effectiveness as we as competence.

In the light of performance appraisal fairness, there is no gainsaying to the fact that, when an appraisal procedure is characterized by impartiality, honesty and transparency in rewards and outcomes distribution, humane and just equality of treatment and information, unambiguous methods, procedures and processes, employees are bound to naturally reciprocate through improve productivity, competency, efficiency and effectiveness leading to overall organizational performance.

Following various authors’ conceptual reviews, the author of this study developed below Figure 1 to represent and indicate performance appraisal fairness and employee performance framework using the independent variable, the proxies that indicate when performance appraisal fairness is used in an organisation, leads to employee performance.

2.2 Empirical Review

A preliminary survey showed that there are noticeable efforts from documented studies to investigate how performance appraisal influences employees’ performance in Nigeria and beyond. For instance, the study by Akinbowale et al (2013) endeavoured to find out how Guaranty Bank’s performance appraisal policy influences employee performance using a quantitative research design and one hundred and fifty structured questionnaires distributed by the researcher. Collected responses were descriptively analysed with the aid of the SPSS. The analytical results obtained showed that participation by an employee during performance appraisal is high leading to improved job satisfaction and employee performance. It was also found that there was cordial manager-subordinate interaction which consequently bolstered employee performance. Thus, they recommended that there is need for a unified principle useful in enhancing the current performance appraisal policy should be instituted.

Figure 1: Performance Appraisal Fairness and Employee Performance Conceptual Model

Source: Researcher’s Design 2022.

Odunayo, et al. (2014) researched performance appraisal and organizational productivity relationships in the public sector. The authors employed a descriptive survey design which paved way for the use of questionnaires distributed to some management and staff of the organization in Lagos state. Statistical evidence from the regression and correlation results showed periodic feedback on employees’ job performance ensures their competitive positioning for their organization. Also, Gichuhi, et al. (2012) study how performance appraisal affects the productivity of an employee in a Kenya supermarket using a cross-sectional survey design and three hundred and eight respondents. Evidence from the regression results indicated that employees’ productivity is significantly influenced by performance appraisal. Interrogating how employees’ productivity is influenced by performance appraisal in the banking industry in Nigeria, Oshode et al. (2014) selected 195 bankers within the Ado-Ekiti metropolis. Evidence from the regression statistics showed that the performance appraisal system strongly determines employees’ productivity. In order words, a significantly positive relationship exists between both variables leading to the suggestion that strong management of the performance appraisal system should be instituted if employee performance is to be guaranteed. In the Nigerian telecommunication sector, Sajuyigbe (2017) attempted to assess how the performance of employees is affected by a performance appraisal system using a random sampling system. Questionnaire and personal interviews were distributed to 260 respondents. Results from the regression approach showed that employees’ performance is endogenously determined by the performance appraisal system. It was also found that there is a high awareness level among NTN staff of performance appraisal awareness. Consequently, it was suggested that an objective appraisal process, periodic feedback and provisions for career development should all be exercised to ensure that MTN has a competitive edge.

More recently, Okeke, et al. (2019) assessed how performance management influences employee productivity in some firms in South-East Nigeria using a survey research design and questionnaire. Using simple percentages and multiple regression analysis, results revealed that 360-degree feedback appraisal significantly influences employee productivity; performance evaluation significantly influences employee productivity; self-assessment had an insignificant effect on employee productivity while performance review significantly influences the productivity of employees. Consequently, it was concluded that the productivity of an employee is strongly influenced by performance management among Nigerian banks. It was recommended that organizations should emphasize 360-degree feedback appraisal; performance evaluation and self-assessment systems to improve employee productivity.

Another recent study by Daniel and Ibrahim (2019) on whether performance appraisal methods (feedback and the management-by-objectives methods) enhanced employee productivity influenced employee productivity using a survey design aided by the use of a self-designed questionnaire. Findings revealed showed that a significant relationship exists between employee productivity and performance appraisal management.  In addition, a strong association was reported between feedback and employee productivity. Managers were advised to take performance appraisal seriously if they are bent on achieving their strategic goals.

Corroboratively, Ajibola et al. (2019) studied how performance appraisal influence determines employee work engagement in Nigerian manufacturing firms using descriptive research design. Pearson Products Moment Correlation analysis was used to interpret questionnaire data. It was found that a positively significant relationship exists between employee engagement and performance appraisal. Hence, they submitted that manufacturing firms in Nigeria do have traditional appraisal practices. Therefore, they were advised to embrace continuous performance appraisal to improve the level of employee engagement among their workforce.

Consequently, it is because of the observed gaps (dearth of published works in Nigeria) that this study is conceived. In the light of performance appraisal fairness, there is no gainsaying to the fact that, when an appraisal procedure is characterized by impartiality, honesty and transparency in rewards and outcomes distribution, humane and just equality of treatment and information, unambiguous methods, procedures and processes, employees are bound to naturally reciprocate through improve productivity, competency, efficiency and effectiveness leading to overall organizational performance.

Following various authors’ conceptual reviews, the author of this study developed below Figure 1 to represent and indicate performance appraisal fairness and employee performance framework using the independent variable, the proxies that indicate when performance appraisal fairness is used in an organisation, leads to employee performance.

2.3 Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework of this study hinges on vroom’s expectation theory because the theory explains what motivates an individual to achieve a certain performance. Specifically, individual behaviour linearly depends on their perception of expectation; if the expectation is perceived to be favourable, individuals exert more effort. In a nutshell, behaviour is self-regulated. Relating this to the current study, vroom’s expectation theory suggests that the outcomes of performance appraisal self-regulate employees’ behaviour and commitment to organizational goals. If employees perceive the performance appraisal process to be fair, they will wholeheartedly agree to its outcomes and will subsequently strive to improve on their present performance to achieve better results during the next appraisal. Motivationally, employees are incentivized by the fairness of the appraisal process, whether or not the outcomes favour them or not. This implies that employees’ performance is a function of satisfaction and motivation which intrinsically hinges on the performance appraisal fairness. Thus, rather than paying more attention to other forms of compensation; ignoring the fairness of the rating process, managers should endeavour to pay more attention to ensuring that distributive, procedural and interactional fairness are the main features of their appraisal system. This will ensure improved performance through productivity, competence as well as effectiveness and efficiency. Literature on performance appraisal has identified some useful theories to justify the theoretical relationship between the appraisal process and employee performance. A preliminary investigation into these theories has made vroom’s expectancy theory, equity theory and existence, relatedness and growth theory make up the theoretical review of the current study. Thus, these theories are reviewed succinctly and two among them are adopted for this study.

2.3.1 Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

Proposed by victor h. Vroom in 1964 though expanded by porter and lawler in 1968, the expectancy theory endeavour to explain what motivates an individual to behave in a particular way. In other words, the theory specifically describes the motivational factor behind an individual towards achieving a target. According to this theory, an individual’s behaviour hinges on the expectation of benefits, now or in the future. In order words, behavioural motivation occurs when the outcome is desirable. Thus, when an individual is deciding the amount of energy to put into his/her duty, he/she considers three specific things, namely, expectancy, instrumentality and valence. Expectancy is the belief that putting in more effort can lead to improving performance. Expectancy is determined by the availability of the required materials, availability of needed skills and required support and availability of needed management support (audu and gungul, 2014). Instrumentality refers to the belief that outcome depends on improved efforts. It is affected by reward ‘game’ rules, the integrity of decision-makers and process transparency (idemobi and onyeizugbe, 2011). Valence refers to the perceived expected value an employee places on the outcome. It can be positive or negative valence (idemobi and onyeizugbe, 2011). It is positive when an employee is motivated towards achieving it, else it is negative.

Therefore, the three factors form a “force” that naturally incentivizes employees to exert effort towards achieving a performance level and consequently realized expected rewards. The force, according to vroom is a consequence of the multiplicity of “expectancy” and “valence” which includes instrumentality in its equation, that is:

Force = Expectancy x Valence: F = f (E * V).

The applicability of the “Force” formula above is apparent in predicting events like the probability of job retention, including the likelihood of predicting expendable work efforts, occupational preference and job gratifications among others. Vroom’s theory differentiates between the most and least incentivized employees. While Expectancy measures an individual belief that effort (E) exerted by him/her leads to desired performance attainment (P) goals. Instrumentality refers to a person’s belief a reward will be received once performance expectation is achieved.

2.3.2 Equity Theory

The Equity Theory was proposed by Adams (1963 and 1965), though, popularized by Harder (1991) and Robbins (2003). The theory was built around an individual’s perceived fairness regarding the relationship between input-output ratios. According to this theory, an individual after receiving his/her rewards makes intra (internal) and inter (external) comparative analysis on whether he/she has been fairly treated given his/her expended efforts and outputs. First, at intra comparison level, an individual evaluates his/her reward based on the input-output relationship and when satisfied that there are equitable rewards at an individual level, he/she then proceeds to an inter-comparative evaluation of his/her peers’ rewards. The decision is to ensure that he/she is not cheated at this level and when this is done – that his/her rewards are equal to his/her peers – a state of equity is said to exist and satisfaction creeps in. at this juncture, an individual appears to have contended and will, therefore, be in a balanced position. A state of inequity exists when an individual perceived (or finds- out) that unequal ratios exist between what he/she gets and what his/her peers get. In other words, his/her counterparts get more than/her; and in such circumstances, demotivation sets in.

According to the equity theory, employee motivation or demotivation hinges principally on the fairness of treatment received at the workplace. Although what motivates people to vary, however, the comparative fairness of such incentives is invariably at play when imbalance emerges; either at the internal or external evaluation level. Factually, inequality occasions unpleasant tension among the employees and worsens workplace conditions. At the occurrence of inequality, there likely going to be unfavourable consequences such as input changes, outcome changes, input and outcome cognitive distortions, changes in jobs, acting on others and change in the comparative object. Adam specifically identified two categories of equity, namely, distributive and procedural equity. While the former connotes equity arising from people’s perception of equality between reward and their contribution vis-à-vis others, on the other hand, procedural equity refers to workers’ perception of the fairness arising from events such as job compensation, promotion and performance appraisal among other. Some factors contribute to procedural fairness perception (Tommy, et al., 2015); these include, exclusive worker’s viewpoint consideration, absence of sentiments towards any workers, use of uniform criteria for all workers, provision of feedback in time with regards to outcome decision and provision of the required information to workers regarding decisions made. The practical managerial implications of this theory include the provision of the interrelationship between beliefs/attitudes and job performance, emphasising d significance of workers’ perception of fairness and equity, allowing workers’ participation in decisions-making and work outcomes, the need for workers to freely air their voice, non-resistance to organizational change by workers insofar it is perceived to be fair to them, the need for cooperation and teamwork through fairness and less resultant to courts of arbitration should equity at workplace exist (Osabiya, 2015).

3. Research Methodology

This study was carried out at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Abuja, Nigeria. In this study, a structured questionnaire which was open-ended was designed and distributed to 280 staff of NTA wherein 165 were retrieved and analysed. The data was presented using a bar chart with the aid of simple percentages for the analysis, while the inferential statistics used are simple regression and correlation techniques.

4. Presentation, Analysis and Discussion of Findings

Essentially, this section of the study presents, analyse and interpret the questionnaire responses retrieved from one hundred and sixty-five (165) selected employees of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). The questionnaire was specifically designed to focus on the effect of performance appraisal fairness on employee performance in Nigeria. Findings from the questionnaire are presented in the bar chart below:

Table 4.6 shows that 13 (or 8.0%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 48 (or 29.6%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 4 (or 2.5%) respondents are “Neutral”, 40 (or 24.7%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 57 (or 35.1%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This means that the majority of the respondents strongly disagreed that distributive fairness is not important in any appraisal rating.

Table 4.6: Distributive fairness is not important in any appraisal rating.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.7 shows that 21 (or 13.0%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 62 (or 38.3%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 13 (or 8.0%) respondents are “Neutral”, 33 (or 20.4%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 33 (or 20.4%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents merely agreed that the NTA appraisal rating excludes distributive fairness. 

Table 4.7: The Nta Appraisal Rating Excludes Distributive Fairness.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.8 shows that 15 (or 9.3%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 46 (or 28.4%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 2 (or 1.2%) respondents are “Neutral”, 72 (or 44.4%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 27 (or 16.7%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that the success of the NTA appraisal rating depends on its distributive fairness.

Table 4.8: The Success of the Nta Appraisal Rating Depends on Its Distributive Fairness.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.9 shows that 33 (or 20.4%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 48 (or 29.6%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 7 (or 4.3%) respondents are “Neutral”, 32 (or 19.8%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 42 (or 25.9%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents merely agreed that the present productivity of employees at NTA is less satisfactory. 

Table 4.10 shows that 16 (or 9.9%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 32 (or 19.8%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 15 (or 9.3%) respondents are “Neutral”, 52 (or 32.1%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 47 (or 29.0%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that majority of the respondents disagreed that the productivity of employees at NTA is not strongly influenced by distributive fairness. 

Table 4.9: The Present Productivity Of Employees At Nta is not Satisfactory.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.10: The productivity of employees at NTA is not strongly influenced by distributive fairness.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.11: Procedural Fairness Is Significant In Any Appraisal Rating.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.11shows that 64 (or 39.5%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 65 (or 40.1%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 11 (or 6.8%) respondents are “Neutral”, 12 (or 7.4%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 10 (or 6.2%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents merely agreed that procedural fairness is significant in any appraisal rating.

Table 4.12: The Nta Appraisal Rating Includes Procedural Fairness.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.12 shows that 62 (or 38.3%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 48 (or 29.6%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 17 (or 10.5%) respondents are “Neutral”, 24 (or 14.8%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 11 (or 6.8%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that the NTA appraisal rating includes procedural fairness.

The Table 4.13 shows that 16 (or 9.9%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 45 (or 27.8%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 27 (or 16.7%) respondents are “Neutral”, 33 (or 20.4%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 41 (or 25.3%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that majority of the respondents agreed that the success of the NTA appraisal rating depends on its procedural fairness.

Table 4.13: The Success Of The Nta Appraisal Rating Depends On Its Procedural Fairness.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.14 shows that 21 (or 13.0%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 23 (or 14.2%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 26 (or 16.0%) respondents are “Neutral”, 20 (or 12.3%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 72 (or 44.4%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents strongly disagreed that the present competency of employees at NTA is satisfactory.

Table 4.14: The Present Competency Of Employees At Nta Is Satisfactory.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.15 shows that 66 (or 40.7%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 47 (or 29.0%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 9 (or 5.6%) respondents are “Neutral”, 33 (or 20.4%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 7 (or 4.3%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that the competency of employees at NTA is strongly influenced by procedural fairness.

The Table 4.16 shows that 82 (or 50.6%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 44 (or 27.2%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 8 (or 4.9%) respondents are “Neutral”, 15 (or 9.3%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 13 (or 8.0%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement.

Table 4.15: The competency of employees at NTA is strongly influenced by procedural fairness.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.16: Interactional Fairness Is A Critical Component Of Any Appraisal Rating.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

The Table 4.17 shows that 35 (or 21.6%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 93 (or 57.4%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 7 (or 4.3%) respondents are “Neutral”, 20 (or 12.3%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 7 (or 4.3%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that majority of the respondents agreed that the NTA appraisal rating excludes interactional fairness.

Table 4.17: The Nta Appraisal Rating Excludes Interactional Fairness.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

The Table 4.18 shows that 32 (or 19.8%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 31 (or 19.1%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 11 (or 6.8%) respondents are “Neutral”, 47 (or 29%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 41 (or 25.3%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that a strong relationship exists between procedural fairness and employee competence.

Table 4.18: No strong relationship exists between procedural fairness and employee competence.

Table 4.19 shows that 64 (or 39.5%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 65 (or 40.1%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 11 (or 6.8%) respondents are “Neutral”, 12 (or 7.4%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 10 (or 6.2%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that majority of the respondents agreed that interactional fairness and employee effectiveness and efficiency strongly correlate.

Table 4.19: Interactional fairness and employee effectiveness and efficiency strongly correlate.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

Table 4.20 shows that 77 (or 47.5%) respondents “Strongly Agreed” with the statement, 41 (or 25.3%) respondents “Agreed” with statement, 17 (or 10.5%) respondents are “Neutral”, 21 (or 13.0%) respondents “Disagreed” with the statement and 6 (or 3.7%) respondents “Strongly Disagreed” with the statement. This distribution shows that majority of the respondents agreed that a strong relationship exists between appraisal rating fairness and employee performance at NTA.

Table 4.20: Strong Relationship Exists Between Appraisal Rating Fairness and Employee Performance At Nta.

Source: Field Survey, 2022

H01: Distributive fairness does not affect employees’ productivity at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.

Table 4.21: Model Summary

Source: Researcher’s Computation using the SPSS V.25.0

The model summary results above show that the relationship between distributive fairness and employees’ productivity, as revealed by the regression coefficient (R) result is .931 (93.1%); implying that a strong relationship exists. Also, as indicated by the table, the variation in the dependent variable as a result of the predicting variable, as indicated by the R-Square value, is .866 (86.6%). This implies that about 86.6% of variations in employee productivity (EMP) are explained by the Distributive Fairness (DIF) with the remaining 13.4% being accounted for by other factors not included in the model. The F-Change is 103.72. This value is significant because the significance level is =.000 which is less than 5%. This result implies that overall; the regression model is statistically significant, valid and fit. This suggests implicitly that the independent variable explains that there is a positive and significant relationship between the dependent (EMP) and independent variable (DIF).

Table 4.22: Coefficients

Source: Researcher’s Computation using the SPSS V.25.0

The coefficients regression table above shows that Distributive Fairness (DIF) has a .931 coefficient value with the t-statistics value of 12.162 and Sig. value of .000. The implication of this is that increase in the quality of Distributive Fairness (DIF) by one per cent, holding other variables constant, will lead to an increase in employee productivity (EMP) by 93.1%. This result is significant because of the Sig. value (of .000) which is far less than 5%. Based on the empirical result depicted by the regression analysis, it is obvious that – Distributive fairness significantly and positively affects employees’ productivity at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja– therefore, the above alternative hypothesis is accepted.

H02: Procedural fairness does not significantly affect employees’ competence at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.

Table 4.23: Model Summary

Source: Researcher’s Computation using the SPSS V.25.0

The model summary results above show that the relationship between the predictors and dependent variables, depicted by the regression coefficient (R) value is .891 (89.1%). This means that there is a strong relationship between the two variables. Also, as indicated by the table, the variation in the dependent variable as a result of the predicting variable, as indicated by the R-Square value, is .793 (79.3%). This implies that about 79.3% of variations in employees’ competence (EMC) are explained by the Procedural Fairness (PRF) with the remaining 20.7% being accounted for by other factors not included in the model.

The F-Change is 166.10. This value is significant because the significance level is =.000 which is less than 5%. This result implies that overall; the regression model is statistically significant, valid and fit. This suggests implicitly that the independent variable explains that there is a positive and significant relationship between dependent and independent variables.

Table 4.24: Coefficients

Source: Researcher’s Computation using the SPSS V.25.0

The coefficients regression table above shows that Job Satisfaction has a .891 coefficient value with the t-statistics value of 24.821 and Sig. value of .000. The implication of this is that increase in Procedural Fairness (PRF) by one per cent, holding other variables constant, will lead to an increase in Employee Competence (EMC) by 89.1%. This result is significant because of the Sig. value (of .000) which is far less than 5%. Based on the empirical result depicted by the regression analysis, it is conspicuous that – there is a remarkable impact of procedural fairness on employee competence at the NTA in Abuja – thus, the alternative hypothesis is accepted.

H03: Interactional fairness has no significant effect on employees’ effectiveness and efficiency at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja.

Table 4.25: Model Summary

Source: Researcher’s Computation using the SPSS V.25.0

The model summary results above show that the relationship between the predictors and dependent variables, depicted by the regression coefficient (R) value is .913 (91.3%). This means that there is a strong relationship between the two variables. Also, as indicated by the table, the variation in the dependent variable as a result of the predicting variable, as indicated by the R-Square value, is .834 (83.4%). This implies that about 83.4% of variations in employees’ effectiveness and efficiency (EFF) are explained by the Interactional fairness (INF) with the remaining 16.6% being accounted for by other factors not included in the model.

The F-Change is 105.829. This value is significant because the significance level is =.000 which is less than 5%. This result implies that overall; the regression model is statistically significant, valid and fit. This suggests implicitly that the independent variable explains that there is a positive and significant relationship between dependent and independent variables.

Table 4.26: Coefficients

Source: Researcher’s Computation using the SPSS V.25.0

The coefficients regression table above shows that Interactional fairness (INF) has a .913 coefficient value with the t-statistics value of 28.387 and Sig. value of .000. The implication of this is that increase in Interactional fairness by one per cent, holding other variables constant, will lead to an increase in Employee Effectiveness and Efficiency by 91.3%. This result is significant because of the Sig. value (of .000) which is far less than 5%. Based on the empirical result revealed from the regression analysis, it is apparent that – Interactional fairness has a significant effect on employees’ effectiveness and efficiency at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja – therefore, the above alternative hypothesis is accepted.

H04: The existing performance appraisal technique at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja is not effective.

5. Conclusion

5.1 Conclusions

Evidence from this study has shown that performance appraisal fairness has a strong positive influence on employees’ performance. First, this study concludes that distributive fairness is a productivity driver. Employees will certainly be productive at work when he/she is assured of fairness in the reward system. The relationship between employees and their organizations is guided by the perception of equity and equality in the reward system. Based on the norm of reciprocity, and perception of fair and equitable distribution of rewards and resources, employees invariably, respond by being cognitively, physically, and emotionally engaged in their work and workplace. Employees anticipate fair outcomes in terms of occupational rewards (pay, job security and recognition) in exchange for/her organizational contribution.  Perception of fairness by the employee in the appraisal rating outcomes largely drives their workplace productivity. Conclusively, distributive fairness is a significant mediator in the relationship between the reward system and employee productiveness. Secondly, this study concludes that procedural fairness affects employees’ competence at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja. This suggests that rates’ perception of fairness of the raters’ procedures (during the rating process) is a significant booster of their competence. Employees’ feeling of unjust organizational appraisal procedures makes them question the sincerity of the outcomes. The long-term and reciprocal social interactions between employees and managers are wholly premised on the existence of procedural fairness in organizational activities, especially appraisal rating. Competence of employees, risk negative impact should employees-employers relationship lacks procedural fairness.

Also, this study concludes that interactional fairness strongly influences employees’ effectiveness and efficiency at the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja. Employees concentrate more on job outcomes immediately they perceive (or are the guarantee of) workplace interpersonal and informational fairness. Higher job performance becomes achievable when manager employees’ interactions are premised on fairness. A fair employees-managers relationship gives the employees a sense of belonging in the organization; these positive feelings certainly stimulate employees to reciprocate by engaging in extra-role behaviours beyond their official job roles.

The existing performance appraisal technique of the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja is not effective due to challenges such as irregular appraisal rating period, archaic appraisal rating, undue internal and external pressure, non-objective evaluation and lack of up-to-date knowledge on the part of the raters. All these challenges (and more) have separately and jointly crippled the effectiveness of the current appraisal technique in use by the NTA.

The above findings imply that appraisal fairness strongly determines employees’ performance. Specifically, every of the appraisal rating constructs tested in this study is found to significantly and positively correlate with the employee performance construct. Literature has emphasized the effectiveness of the appraisal system. This study argues that the strongest predictor/determinant of the effectiveness of the appraisal system is its wide perception of fairness; when the appraisal system is fair, employees are incentivized to improve their productivity, competence, effectiveness and efficiency among others.

5.2 Recommendations

The following recommendations are put forward:

  1. The management of the NTA, Abuja must ensure that their appraisal rating is always laden with distributive fairness if they are to ensure improved employees’ productivity. Specifically, the allocation of rewards and resources based on appraisal ratings should be commensurate with employees’ efforts.
  2. Also, the management of the NTA, Abuja should always ensure that the procedures and processes used in rating employees are widely perceived by the employees to be fair to improve their competency. As a corollary, raters should base their ratings (judgments and decisions) on procedures that do not seem to be (advertently or inadvertently) disadvantageous to some employees because employees are more willing to accept decisions consequent upon fair procedure than as a result of the unfair procedure.
  3. The management of NTA should urgently ensure that their appraisal rating is premised on interactional fairness to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. In specifics, the supervisors and organizational authorities should frequently interact with employees when they implement procedures or communicate decisions or outcomes to employees.
  4. The management of NTA is strongly advised to pragmatically tackle the challenges impairing the effectiveness of their appraisal system. Specifically, they must strive to ensure periodic appraisal rating, rely solely on modern rating techniques, guide against internal and external pressure and ensure that raters possess up-to-date knowledge. All these will ensure an objective and effective appraisal rating system. 

Contribution to Knowledge

It is not aggrandizement to say that this study is the first of its kind in Nigeria as no published work, to the knowledge of the researcher, has attempted to examine how performance appraisal fairness influence employees’ performance. Indisputably, published works of literature have made it crystal clear that documented works exist on performance appraisal in Nigeria and beyond, but none has focused on “fairness”. Inconvertibly, this lacuna validates the uniqueness of this study; hence, its contribution to knowledge. Therefore, the findings and recommendations of this study have filled the vacuum-in-literature.

Areas of Further Research

This study, like most research endeavours, is not free from some challenges. First, it focused on one public organization and relied solely on structured questionnaires for its data source. Although there are other measures of “fairness” and “employees’ performance” found useful in literature but this study focused on just three proxies each per variable. Because of these, the following identified gaps should be addressed:

  1. the use of more organizations,
  2. use of more than one data source,
  3. and use of more proxies to capture “fairness” and “employee performance” to substantiate the present findings.
  4. a comparative study should be conducted on appraisal rating “fairness” in public and private sector organizations.
  5. studies should be conducted on the instrumentality of each of the “fairness” constructs to determine which of them is more encompassing than the other because it is observed during the literature review that researchers, within the field of organizational justice, are still contending their suitability; while some researchers argue that interactional is the best; other argues otherwise.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

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