The Effect of Staff Perception of Consistency or inconsistency in Disciplinary Decision Making on Workforce Output at a Nigerian University

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Dorcas Dappasika Otto, Wilfred I. Ukpere


Discipline is decisive in achieving organisational goals. If properly applied, discipline curtails the excesses of employees with deviant tendencies in organisations, and increases productivity and outputs generally. Nonetheless, of recent, there has been an increasing incidence of reactions against perceived inconsistent disciplinary decision-making in universities in Nigeria. Several employees who go through the disciplinary process complain of inconsistencies and some of these employees have resorted to civil litigation at public courts of law. It is against this backdrop that, this article explores the effect of staff perception of consistency in disciplinary decision-making in a Nigerian University. The objective is to identify the impact of perception of consistency or inconsistency in disciplinary decision-making on staff output and morale. Data were collected from both primary (interviews) and secondary (journals, text books, law reports and other documents) sources. The article adopted a qualitative research approach. The findings established that perception of consistency in disciplinary decision-making among the interviewees, majority of whom, have experienced the disciplinary process directly, is favourable; though among many of the employees yet to go through the process, the perception of consistency of disciplinary decision-making is unfavourable. When the views of employees who had gone through the process and those yet to have direct experience is aggregated however, the perception of the employees on consistency of disciplinary decision-making seems positive. This positive perception of consistency in the disciplinary decision-making resulted in increased output and high staff morale. However there is always room for improvement. Among others, it is proposed that consistency of disciplinary decision-making in the case university could be enhanced if the leadership improves on the publicity and transparency of disciplinary decision-making processes; appointment of members of disciplinary panels on the basis of their expertise; as well as specify timeframe for the conclusion of all disciplinary matters. These will likely enhance disciplinary decision-making at the university and impact positively on staff morale and productivity.

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