Some managers shy away from implementing employee recognition programs fearing high associated costs. Yet, there are some simple and free-cost recognition programs - like saying "thank you" and "well done" - which are crucial. Upon this basis, this study's main purpose is to assess the relationship between simple employee recognition and employee productivity. It is guided by the following objectives: Determining and measuring the best employee productivity, forms of simple employee recognition, relationship between simple employee recognition and employee productivity, and strategies of how to improve employee productivity through recognition.
For this purpose, related literature was reviewed and a case study research design in support of both quantitative and qualitative techniques was applied for data collection, presentation and analysis. A sample size of 400 respondents was selected and used with composition of all levels of management for M-Nic Consultancy & Research Centre. Data collection was done using questionnaires and interviews, presented, analysed, interpreted and discussed for conclusions and recommendations.
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CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY:
In general, a deductive research approach was adopted and the focus was therefore on testing the theory (perspective theory as noted by Chaire, et al., 2010). With the application of a case study research design alongside quantitative and qualitative designs or techniques, findings generated from representative respondents were based on making the right generalisation (for inferential purposes) using correlation analysis (Pearson Correlation represented by r) to establish the relationship between simple employee recognition and employee productivity.
Research methods being the specific ways in which data is gathered within an overall strategy of research, the ways for this study were in the form of; research design, study population, sample size, sampling techniques, data sources, data collection techniques/instruments, data quality control, data presentation and analysis, limitations and delimitations to the study.
3.2 Research Design:
In line with the reviewed related literature in accordance with the study objectives, a deductive approach was identified as the best suitable for this study as justified by observations made by different authors such as Bloch (2014) on measurement dimensions of employee productivity, Brandenberg (2013) regarding forms of simple employee recognition programs, Frost (2014) regarding employee recognition and productivity, and Andy (2010) regarding strategies for improving employee productivity through recognition.
An overall deductive research approach was used due to the fact that the study started from objectives and theoretical perspectives (testing theories) to inference logical conclusions and recommendations based on empirical findings.
A case study research design was adopted using M-Nic Consultancy & Research Centre (M-Nic CRC Ltd). With suggestion by Odiya (2009) that using mixed methodologies is better, qualitative and quantitative research approaches plus correlation analysis research technique was also applied to that end. The basic reason for the use of case study research design was that it could enable the researcher to study a group in details so as to make generalization based on group detailed findings regarding simple employee recognition and productivity. Basic reason for the use of quantitative and qualitative in tandem with correlation research techniques was that they help to collect data which was presented, analysed and processed using statistical or mathematical methods and descriptive or narrative methods respectively - in a bid to establish a correlational relationship between study variables of simple employee recognition and productivity.
3.3 Study Population and Sample size:
Most of authors as revealed by the many reviewed related literature noted varying views regarding relationship between simple employee recognition and employee productivity like Andy (2010) and Cavanaugh (2014). This implied that first-hand information often needed to be obtained and thus adoption of a case study research design which required establishment of study population for which a representative sample was selected. [.].
3.4 Sampling Technique:
The study employed stratified sampling method to categorize respondents according to their levels of management in terms of top management, middle management, and lower management including ordinary employees. This follows the fact that the sample representative of the study population needs to be appropriate and objective (from all categories of respondents) like as noted by Corbett & Marcia (2012) in chapter two of the related literature review, that, "employee productivity is measured depending on the nature of the work done by different employees at different level of management".
Lottery method of simple random was applied to randomly select required numbers from each of management level stratum, due to the fact the method gave equal chances to all and it enabled all members of the population to be given numbers that are written on small pieces of paper. If we are to follow Sekaran' (2003) advice, which involved pieces of paper being folded, put in a bag or basket, carefully shuffled and then drawn one at a time until the required number of respondents was obtained. The main reason for use of lottery method was that all lower managers and ordinary employees required equal treatment, and thus, they were having equal chances of being picked at any selection point.
3.5 Data Sources:
3.5.1 Primary data:
In addition to the review of the related literature for already existing information, first-hand information was presumed the most appropriate for empirical findings and as indirectly suggested by Corbett & Marcia (2012).
Therefore, the primary sources of data were inclusive of the researcher going to the branches of M-Nic Consultancy & Research Centre (M-Nic CRC) across the country, and gathered first-hand information using open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires as subjected to all categories of respondents and face-to-face interviews with only key informants.
3.5.2 Secondary data:
The secondary sources of data as the already existing information was obtained by reviewing related literature guided by the study's specific objectives and the main purpose of the study, like as presented under chapter two for literature review from different authors.
Therefore, secondary data were inclusive of the researcher visiting public libraries, university libraries, plus taking advantage of other data sources such as Newspapers, Textbooks, Journals (like that of De-Konink & Griego, 2000), and Internet like information from (Frost, Cavanaugh, & Martin, 2014).
3.6 Data Collection Methods and Instruments:
3.6.1 Guided Interviews:
Managers as very key informants were subjected to face-to-face interviews, for the purposes of gathering information on a person to person basis where deeper probing was needed to supplement data collected using questionnaires on simple recognition programs and productivity. Interviews were required as crucial, to additionally prove some authors' views like that of Frost (2014), that, "keeping morale high through employee recognition programs increases productivity".
Interview questions were derived from the study objectives and the structure of the interview questions were based on the different views of authors especially Irvine (2012) and Andy (2010) or Cavanaugh (2014) who had differing views on the relationship between simple employee recognition and employee productivity. More basic reasons behind the use of interviews included; a need to obtain detailed information from interviewees through paraphrasing questions or re-asking interviewees which cannot be achieved under other data collection methods, a great need to obtain vital and confidential information which may not necessarily be obtained through questionnaire method, enabling probing for confirmations and clarifications for justified, explained and unbiased information.
Well-designed open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires were main data collection tools, which involved a set of questions as stipulated in the study objectives and to facilitate critical reviews. The design and structuring of questions were mainly driven by the content of study objectives in line with existing information as per the literature review. For instance, capturing the following optional views under the objective two regarding various forms of simple employee recognition programs; "saying thank you to employees" by Heathfield (2004) or Bersin (2012) and "offering simple gifts to employees" by Harter & Killham (2003).
Therefore, respondents had alternative choices (in accordance with literature review as highlighted by different authors` views) regarding closed ended questions following guidance of Sekaran (2003) and equally open-ended questions for briefly explained responses. More basic reasons behind use of such structured questionnaire (method) included; to achieve convenience during data collection on the side of respondents and thus increasing chances of obtaining responses from many respondents (for high response rate), to limit respondents for responses within the scope as per objectives and for comparative purposes with the existing literature, to avoid interview bias due to direct personal interactions with interviewees, and to minimise time (for time saving purposes) as questionnaires can be administered and collected from the respondents together with (or alongside) work compilation.
3.6.3 Documentary Literature:
The available relevant reports and documents were reviewed, which included among others; Board of Directors meeting minutes, corporate governance reports, audited reports, and field reports. For comparison purposes with the existing related literature, more concrete secondary information was obtained in order to support first-hand information, as required under the adopted deductive overall research approach. More basic reasons for documentary literature were but not limited to the following; to empirically supplement questionnaire and interview findings, to obtain necessary and essential information at less cost, and to facilitate collection of factual information from reliable data sources as the ones advised by Odiya (2009).
3.7 Measurements of Variables:
The appropriate measurements adopted and used were categorized in an orderly form using the Four Likert Scale, as shown below. Measurement of variables formed the basis of research information regarding the extent of individual differences on a given variable (Saunders, et al., 2003). Not only that, measurement of variables using a likert scale for varying degrees followed the fact that different authors as espoused in the literature review had differing views on simple employee recognition and productivity like the positive views of Andy (2010); Bennett (2014); and Cavanaugh (2014), contrary to the negative views of Irvine (2012) regarding the relationship between simple employee recognition and productivity of employees.
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