Assessing the internal and external factors influencing employee absenteeism : a case of the Ministry of Works and Transport in Windhoek and Swakopmund, Namibia

Simushi, Richard Lutombi (2020-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : This study has assessed the factors influencing employee absenteeism at the Ministry of Works and Transport in two large cities of Namibia, namely Windhoek and Swakopmund. The understanding has been that, the Ministry of Works and Transport is one of the arms of the Government of the Republic of Namibia. As such, problems affecting one public entity, save for certain specifics peculiar to a given entity, affect the entire public sector because these organisations operate in the same environment and under the same broader terms of reference. Absenteeism which can be defined as the practice of being frequently away from work or school, is rampant in the Ministry of Works and Transport in Namibia. Due to its costly nature, there is a serious need to minimise it if not at all eradicate it altogether. The study approached the problem by separating the two subcomponents of absenteeism which are planned and unplanned absenteeism. More attention was given to unplanned absenteeism. The law provides for planned absenteeism and is silent on unplanned absenteeism. One defining characteristic is that the employer anticipates it and makes alternative arrangements and thus avoids the incurrence of unnecessary costs resulting from the worker’s absence. The problematic one, however, is that one which occurs without any prior knowledge on the part of the employer. This is unplanned absenteeism. It usually results in disturbances in the organisation’s work routines. Costs are usually likely to occur. It is no wonder that almost every organisation whether for profit or non-profit, should be wary of it. For a clear understanding of the problem of absenteeism, both qualitative and quantitative approaches were adopted by this research. The research’s main findings should provide the rationale for the concerned authorities to take whatever appropriate steps to control the problem of employee absenteeism that exist in the Ministry of Works and Transport. This stems from various factors including motivation. If there is no motivation, the best out of a person cannot be realised. In this study, the data were collected by means of questionnaire and interviews from the two selected stations namely Windhoek and Swakopmund in the Ministry of Works and Transport. The information collected were analysed and evaluated by using Microsoft Excel with the support of the statistician. The results were presented in the form of tables and figures. The research’s main findings are that, together with the lack of motivation among employees, the following various issues could also pose as stumbling blocks to the ministry’s desire to fight worker absenteeism. Firstly, there is a scant understanding of the main issues concerning absenteeism including the government’s established policy on it. This situation was prevailing among both management and employees. Secondly, communication on issues pertinent to the workers was generally poor. Additionally other influencing factors such as illness, family responsibility, transport challenges, work related stress, and weather conditions have been found to play a part in various degrees to the absenteeism problem at the two selected stations. Thirdly, some of the contemporary management practices such as team based performance events are not being followed. The law and procedures governing public sector employment, relating to absenteeism, are in place at this specific ministry, however, the application and implementation of these at the station level is of mediocre standards. A number of reasons have been suggested in the present study. The study has hence made a key recommendation for an equitable employee training and management development system as well as the application of modern management techniques. The study also recommended a periodic review of the remuneration system so that remuneration reflects the prevailing market trends.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie studie is ‘n evaluasie van die faktore wat ’n invloed het op die afwesigheid van werknemers van die Ministerie van Werke en Vervoer in twee groot sentrums in Namibië, naamlik Windhoek en Swakopmund. Die uitgangspunt was dat die genoemde Ministerie deel is van die Regering van die Republiek van Namibië; as sulks is die veronderstelling dat (sekere faktore spesifiek tot ‘n gegewe instelling uitgesluit), dieselfde sal geld vir alle staatsinstellings, aangesien alle Ministeries onder soortgelyke omstandighede werk en binne dieselfde verwysingsraamwerk val. Afwesigheid, gedefinieer as ’n toestand van nie-teenwoordigheid by die werk of skool, floreer in die Ministerie van Werke en Vervoer in Namibië. As gevolg van die geweldige koste wat dit meebring, is dit noodsaaklik om hierdie praktyk drasties in te kort, indien nie geheel en al uit te roei nie. Hierdie studie het die probleem benader deur die twee subkomponente van afwesigheid, naamlik beplande- en onbeplande afwesigheid, van mekaar te skei. Daar is meer aandag gegee aan onbeplande afwesigheid. Die wet maak voorsiening vir beplande afwesigheid, maar daar word geen melding van onbeplande afwesigheid gemaak nie. Een duidelik onderskeidende kenmerk van beplande afwesigheid is dat die werkgewer dit kan voorsien en dus alternatiewe reëlings kan tref; daardeur kan onnodige kostes as gevolg van ‘n werknemer se afwesigheid voorkom word. Die grootste probleem lê egter by afwesigheid wat geskied sonder enige waarskuwing of vooraf wete van die werkgewer: onbeplande afwesigheid. Hierdie afwesigheid lei gewoonlik tot versteurings in die normale roetine van die werkplek. Ekstra onkostes is nie uitgesluit nie. Dit is dus nie vreemd nie dat enige instelling, met of sonder ’n winsoogmerk, baie bedag behoort te wees daarop. Om tot ‘n duidelike begrip te kom van die probleem rondom afwesigheid, is van beide kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe navorsing gebruik gemaak. Hierdie navorsingsverslag behoort die rasionaal te verskaf vir enige betrokke gesag om die nodige maatreëls in plek te stel ten einde die probleem van afwesigheid in die Ministerie van Werke en Vervoer aan te spreek. Die probleem spruit uit verskeie faktore, insluitend gebrek aan motivering. Sonder motivering kan geen mens sy/haar hoogste potensiaal bereik nie. Vir hierdie studie is data ingesamel by wyse van ‘n vraelys asook persoonlike onderhoude by die twee aangewese entiteite, naamlik die kantore van die Ministerie van Werke en Vervoer in Windhoek en Swakopmund. Die inligting wat só verkry is, is met behulp van die statistikus ontleed en geëvalueer. Die program Microsoft Excel is vir dié doel gebruik en die uitslae word aangebied deur middel van tabelle en syfers. Die belangrikste bevindinge van hierdie navorsing is dat daar, benewens die gebrek aan motivering, verskeie faktore is wat beskou kan word as struikelblokke in die Ministerie se pogings om die afwesigheid van werknemers te bekamp. Eerstens is daar ‘n baie beperkte begrip van die dilemmas rondom afwesigheid, asook onkunde aangaande die regering se beleid oor afwesigheid. Hierdie was die geval by beide die bestuur en die laer vlakke van werknemers. Tweedens was daar bewyse van swak kommunikasie oor kwessies rakende werknemers. Ander bydraende faktore (met wisselende grade) is siekte, gesinsverantwoordelikhede, vervoerprobleme en werksverwante stres. Derdens is sekere kontemporêre bestuurspraktyke soos spanbou geleenthede nie uitgevoer nie. Dokumentasie rakende die toepaslike wetgewing en prosedures aangaande afwesigheid, soos uiteengesit in die staatsdiens se indiensnemingsbeleid, is wel beskikbaar by die betrokke Ministerie, maar die toepassing daarvan in die werkplek is maar middelmatig. Tydens hierdie navorsing is verskeie redes hiervoor aangevoer. Daarom is daar in hierdie navorsingsverslag ‘n belangrike aanbeveling gedoen ten opsigte van ‘n redelik haalbare werknemer-opleidingsprogram asook vir ‘n stelsel vir bestuursontwikkeling, wat moderne tegnieke van bestuur insluit. Hierdie verslag beveel ook aan dat werknemers se vergoedingspakkette gereeld hersien word sodat dit die heersende neigings in die werksmark weerspieël.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108254
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