The Organisational Support for Management Education and Training in the Nigerian Public and Private Enterprises

Author: Ekwunife, Nelson Sunday

Supervisor: Lekan Oyedeji

The need for effective management of both the public and private enterprises in Nigeria has been felt ever since the country attained independence. The rapid pace of industrialisation that followed independence, the Nigerianisation of the public service, and the retardation of management performance in both the public and private sectors, the failure of most state and federal corporations, as well as efforts to indigenise the economy as stipulated by the indigesation decree, and the proliferation of new technologies: all called for a pool of professionally competent managers. The purpose of this research work therefore, was to find out the extent to which Nigerian private and public enterprises had been willing to train and educate their management staff. The objective therefore was to identify the constraints that these organisations faced, with regard to the training of their management staff, to identify the characteristics of organisations that found it difficult to provide training and to recommend measures that would enable them train more of their management staff. To achieve the above objective, 200 organisations were selected from a list of companies and organisations, which was provided by the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), through systematic random sampling procedures. The sample was made up of 47 government parastatals or corporations and 153 private companies and organisations established in all parts of the country. A questionnaire was administered to the Chief Executives and Training Managers of the 200 organisations, as well as 200 randomly sampled individuals in the management cadre of these organisations. The 200 randomly sampled individuals in the management cadre of these organisations, must have attended or participated in one training programme or the other. The field work which spanned over a period of six months also involved oral interviews and discussions with some of these three categories of personnel, as well as examination of in-plant, on-the-job, training programmes and observation of training sessions. The data obtained from the field were analysed basically through the application of statistical tools such as chi-square test of differences between categories and the analysis of variance. Major findings include the following: On the whole, most Nigerian organisations have accepted management education and training as a central philosophy on which to base their well-being and progress. They were found to show adequate support for the training of management personnel on fairly regular basis. On the average, the manager in each of the organisations studied, underwent training at least once in every two and a half years. Most Nigerian organisations gave priority to the training of production and marketing management staff, and the benefit of management training primarily in terms of increased productivity and profitability. Yet the literature suggested that the areas of managerial deficiency in Nigeria were essentially financial control, delegation of responsibilities, industrial relations and participative management. They were given rather low premium as managerial goals, by most of the organisations studied. Other findings include the facts that organisations situated in urban areas trained their management staff more often and regularly than those established in rural areas. In the training schemes of most of the corporations, the junior management and supervisory staff seemed to be neglected. Some recommendations were made based on the findings of the study. Emphasis on management education and training must be placed equally on all aspects of management functions. Higher institutions in the country must begin to develop specific courses leading to advanced degrees in research and Development to fill the crucial gap in management competencies in the country. There is need to take the problems of transfer of learning by ex-trainees seriously. Chief executives of Nigerian organisations must consider institutional management training as important as in-plant or on-the-job training. The institutional management training is the source for new ideas for growth. A good measure of concessions must be granted small organisations and those situated in rural areas, to encourage them to train their management staff. It can be concluded that although the concept of management education and training has now gained firm ground in the country, its practice needs to be improved if its potentials is to be fully realised for economic growth. The benefits of management training are still viewed in narrow and parochial terms rather than as a process contributing towards the overall development of the economy. Institutional forms of training are still looked upon with suspicion, and the management functions, seem to be neglected. These are the most critical problems facing management education practice in the country; in this regard there must be a change of attitude by the decision-makers, and recommendation be made and implemented if management training is to contribute effectively towards national development.