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1.1:      Background of the Study

1.2:      Statement of the Problem

1.3:      Significance of the Study

1.4:      Scope of the Study

1.5:      Operational Definition of Variables

1.6:      Theoretical Framework

1.8:      Research Questions

1.9:      Research Hypotheses




2.1:      Research setting

2.2:      Population/sample and sampling procedures

2.3:      Research design

2.4:      Instruments

2.5:      Procedure

2.6:      Data analysis




3.1: Summary data analysis and statistics

3.2: Descriptive statistics

3.3: Inferential statistics




4.1: Objectives of the study.

4.2: Summary of findings

4.3: Discussion of findings




5.1: Conclusion

5.2: Implication of findings

5.3: limitations and recommendations.

5.4: Contributions to knowledge







The recent outbreak of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Nigeria placed a high demand on the work efficiency of the Port Health Services Employees in all the ports of entry to Nigeria. Employees of the Port Health Services of the Nigeria Ministry of Health were on the spotlight as it was discovered that the Virus got into Nigeria through one of her international airports owing to the inefficiency of the port health employees at the screening points. The discovery of EVD in Nigeria created a need to investigate the work efficiency of the Port Health Services arm of the Federal Ministry of Health because according to Solow (1957), efficiency can be said to be very important in organisational effectiveness.


Efficiency simply implies that an organisation has achieved the maximum amount of output that is physically achievable with current technology, and given a fixed amount of inputs (Diewert & Lawrence, 1999). Efficiency simply refers to the ability to be productive. This implies that improving efficiency is fundamental to increasing the organisations economic performance. The effort to make distribution of resources more efficient is becoming very important due to the massive growth in population. Robbins and Coulter (2005) posits that employee efficiency has been a major determinant of a good job performance. They went on to argue that efficiency is the ability to produce the most amount of output from the least amount of input. According to them, organisational effectiveness is dependent on high efficiency because efficiency is a means to meeting organisational goals. Work efficiency is a variable that has been studied as part of employee productivity until Taormina & Gao (2009) claims that work efficiency can be investigated independently of productivity. Similarly, Diewert and Lawrence (1999) claimed that Efficiency is a very important factor to consider in organisational productivity. However, efficiency of the employee depends on a number of factors such as the nature of work, the work environment, the employee personal characteristics and some environmental characteristics (Stigler, 1976) One important task for psychologists and human resources managers is how to make an employee to be efficient in order to improve the overall efficiency of the organisation and increase the organisations competitive edge in the modern economic environment. Taormina & Gao (2009) posits that organisations intending to attain high effectiveness desires high efficiency from their employees. In this regard, work efficiency being a new variable in psychological literature has not been extensively studied, however a limited number of studies such as Paul (1967) had actually introduced the concept of work efficiency in their investigations. It is noteworthy that the studies which introduced work efficiency had not actually investigated the unique contribution of psychological factors such as creativity and risk taking behaviour on efficiency.


The emergence of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa and particularly Nigeria, requires strategies that will counter its spread. This has made the job of the Port Health Services a very important role for the nation. Port health services are concerned with disease surveillance which includes; Immunization and Issuance of International Health Certificate (Yellow Card), health response to disasters such as EVD, plane crash, bomb explosions, terrorism, boarding and inspection of ships, aircrafts and road vehicles. Similarly, port health services also carry out environmental services which includes; environmental health activities such as sanitation, pollution control, waste disposal etc, disinfection and decontamination of conveyances. At other times, port health services is concerned with provision of curative and preventive health care services including referral and laboratory service, ad-hoc activities e.g. hajj operations, screening of refugees, deportees. Due to the discovery of this virus, the job of the port health services employees became prone to risks. These employees come in contact with the virus directly or in directly and they are can also be agents of its spread. To this end, there becomes a need to investigate the risk taking behaviours of port health services employees in relation to Ebola virus disease (EVD). Specifically, a case of the dreaded ebola virus disease was reported in Nigeria in 2014. This incidence was acclaimed to have occurred to negligence and low levels of work efficiency on the part of port health services employees who were unable to detect that the carrier of the virus; Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian American who brought the virus to Nigeria through the Murtala Mohammed international airport Lagos, was actually suffering from the disease. Some Nigerians even claimed that the port health services employees were not creative otherwise the situation would have been avoided.

This assumption based on observation implies that creativity may be implicated in work efficiency. creativity is a construct that has been defined and studied by some researchers such as Albaum & Baker (1977), Amabile (1983) Zhang & Bartol (2010). However, creative traits, abilities and peoples’ belief about their creativity are different (Furnham, Zhang, & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2006). This has made the study of creativity across domains a challenge to researchers (Kaufmann, 2012). One alternative as put forth by (Kaufmann, 2012) has been to look at how people view and report their own creativity. Generally, layperson perceptions of the construct of creativity tend to be close to expert opinions (Sternberg, 1985). According to Zhang & Bartol (2010), employee creativity involves producing novel and useful ideas for organisations including processes, products and services. This has made creativity to be a very important consideration in assessing employee work efficiency and performance. Creativity provides an organisation with competitive advantage by generating, deploying, transferring, and integrating new technological knowledge (Ángel & Sánchez, 2009). Similarly, Montag, Maertz, & Baer, 2012) claims that engaging in behaviours conducive to creative outcomes is an integral part of professional role requirement. The identification of key factors that can foster, influence and sustain employee's engagement in creative behaviours, therefore, is a major factor to consider (Manolopoulos, 2006; Zheng, Khoury, & Grobmeiher, 2010). Furthermore, the increasing challenging work environment of the 21st century has made employers to be involved in an unpredictable and technological change resulting to efficiency which is dependent on creativity (Shalley & Gilson, 2004). Thus creativity has become a very pivotal factor of interest to employers as they have realized the importance of encouraging their employees to be creative (Shalley & Gilson, 2004). Employee creativity has also been indicated in organisational outcomes such as innovation, effectiveness, efficiency and survival. (Amabile, 1996; Shalley, Zhou, & Oldham, 2004). Today more than ever, organisations are trying to blend creativity and efficiency.  This is timely as it helps in productivity (Wagner, 2005).


Finally, Taormina and Gao (2009), concludes that efficiency is a means to achieve organizational goals, therefore high efficiency should be desired by management for their organizations to attain high effectiveness.


1.1:      Background of the study

Work efficiency was first introduced by Taylor (1911) in his time-and-motion studies when he attempted to determine the best way of reducing time and effort in the production of a commodity. This is an attempt at improving employee efficiency because efficiency results to a reduction in time and effort and also, better use of work time could bring about greater operational efficiency. Taormina and Gao (2009) went further to highlight that efficiency involves getting the most output from the least amount of input. This implies that organisations should be concerned with work efficiency as it may be cost effective and instrumental to an increased productivity, because efficiency is included in work performance which is instrumental to desired organisational outcomes (Maxham, Netemeyer, & Lich- tenstein, 2008).


Consequently, it is becoming increasing important to investigate work efficiency since work efficiency has not been sufficiently examined, and the factors contributing to its existence remains unclear. In the standard efficiency literature, organisations are assumed to choose a plan that minimizes costs, given its output mix and input prices or that maximizes profits given the prices of its inputs and outputs. However, recent research (e.g., Hughes, Lang, Mester, & Moon, 2000; Hughes, 1999; Hughes, Lang, Mester, & Moon, 1999; and Hughes, Mester, & Moon, 2001) have demonstrated that managers maximize their utility, which is a function of risk. To the extent that decisions affect risk which ultimately influences efficiency and performance.


Organisations in the 21st century have diverse environments with a range of organisational processes (Fineman, 1993; Brief & Weiss, 2002; Barsade, Brief, & Spataro, 2003). However, recent work on organisational outcomes has indicated the influences of such factor as efficiency (George, 1991; Staw & Barsade, 1993; Staw, Sutton, & Pelled, 1994). According to Amabile, Barsade, Mueller and Staw (2005), “relatively less attention has been paid to organizational creativity as a work outcome”. Creativity is the process of “coming up with fresh ideas for changing products, services, and processes so as to better achieve the organization’s goals (Amabile et, al 2005). Similarly, Fesharaki, Fesharaki & Allameh (2012) agreed that efficiency and effectiveness of management means the manager's ability to prepare, develop, allocate, maintain and use of resources. This requires accurate information about human resources as a vital resource of any organization.


Creativity on the other hand, has been a variable that has generated lots of controversy regarding its definition. Creativity has been defined as useful novelty (Amabile, 1996; Oldham & Cummings, 1996; Robinson & Stern, 1997; George & Zhou, 2001; Zhou & Shalley, 2003). However, Wei, Robert and Taormina (2011) posit that “there has been a growing consensus among creativity researchers regarding the appropriateness of defining creativity in terms of an outcome”. Amabile (1988) believes creativity should involve an outcome in terms of an idea or product. Specifically, Amabile (1988) defined creativity as the “production of novel and useful ideas”. Creativity also has not been studied extensively in psychological literatures (wei et, al,. 2011).  Creativity is not a job specific variable as it can be relevant at any level of the organisation (Madjar, Oldham, & Pratt, 2002). However some researches on creativity has found that work climate factors were significantly related to creativity (e.g, Rasulzada & Dackert 2009).


Furthermore, it is noteworthy that improving creativity is very important for organisational sustainability (Amabile, 1988; Burnside, 1990; Shalley, 1995). Similarly, Crant (2002) assert that creativity of employees is one of the effective options on organization performance In today's world. This can be attributed to the reason why the effect of social environment on creativity remains non-negotiable. The dynamic business climate of the 21st century, laden with gross competition has created a need for creativity and innovation. Creativity has thus become a vital ingredient for sustainable development of organisations as organizations need to unleash their employees’ innate creative potential, because employees’ creative ideas can be used as building blocks for organizational innovation, change, and competitiveness (Amabile, 1988; Woodman, Sawyer, & Griffin, 1993; Zhou & George, 2003). Against popular misconceptions that creativity is domain specific, creativity can be employed in a vast array of disciplines to achieve a wide amount of positive outcomes. In other words, creativity can be important at any level of the organisation (Madjar, Oldham, & Pratt, 2002).  Although it is undeniable that creativity stems from individual ability, whether or not individual creativity is activated, exercised, and channeled into a final product or service is a function of the work environment, or the contextual characteristics that may be involved in stimulating and supporting creativity (Amabile, 1988, 1996; Lubart, 1999; Shalley, Zhou, & Oldham, 2004). When employees exhibit creativity at work, they generate novel responses that are useful in dealing with the tasks at hand (Amabile, 1983, 1996).


Moreover, the recent epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has increased the likelihood that travelers to EVD-affected countries will be exposed to infected or ill persons. This is making the risk of infection for residents and visitors in the affected countries through exposure in the community a prime area of concern in order to safeguard the health of people living in these countries. Employees of port health services are thereby at risk of exposure to this dreadful disease and the Residents and visitors to the affected areas run a risk of exposure to EVD in healthcare facilities. In Nigeria, the ability to control the spread of this virus rest on the onus of the Federal Ministry of Health through the port health services because the level of risk is related to the efficiency of the port health services employees in combatting the spread of the virus. This has placed a high demand on the job of the port health services employees as they are expected to be highly created and innovation in the administration of their duties in other not to get infected with the virus in the line of duty. However, Nigeria has been pronounced free from EVD. To this end, as the epidemic is still evolving, it is expected that a very efficient work force in the port health services will be highly instrumental to keeping Nigeria safe from the dreaded EVD.


1.2:      Statement of the problem


Safeguarding a nation is not a task relegated to the military alone but a collective responsibility with everyone having a role. The role of the Federal Ministry of Health Port Health Services in safeguarding Nigerians is one that cannot be overlooked. This is because, the major airports and seaports in Nigeria need to carefully screen for diseases. Millions of people travel daily from one location to another all over the world and this had made the need to prevent the spread of diseases a major concern in International Health. The control and prevention of communicable diseases in a migrating population is a sole function of Port Health officers who are the first contact to anyone entering the country frontier be it air, land or water. These employees therefore play a very important role in the international control measures for cross-border or trans-boundary transfer of diseases.


Port Health Services in Nigeria started in 1925, in response to the plague pandemic, unfortunately, not much empirical work has been done regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of Nigeria Port Services employees. The Port Health Services is deployed through a division in the Public Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health. Port Health Services will provide and ensure the implementation of guidelines for cross border monitoring of EVD, especially in riverine areas and states with international borders. The past few decades have seen the emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases. The emergence of “new” infectious agents such as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever and the re-emergence of cholera and plague in South America and India, respectively. This has necessitated the need for an applied study on the factors that are major determinants of efficiency among employees of Port Health Services so as to prevent the spread of theses communicable diseases into the country. While previous studies mostly on efficiency focus either on cost efficiency (e.g. Kwan & Eisenbeis 1997, Berger & DeYoung 1997, Williams 2004, Altunbas, Carbo, Gardener & Molyneux., 2007) or profit efficiency (Berger & Bonaccorsi, 2006), there remains a dearth of relevant studies on the determinants of work efficiency as a complex variable especially among a unique sample such as port health and this has created a gap in knowledge.


Efficiency levels may be dependent on risk (Fiordelisi , Marques-Ibanez & Molyneux, 2010), in what Berger and DeYoung (1997), and Williams (2004) have concluded to lead to poor performance. Gibss (2000) asserts that environments that attract, motivate and retain hard-working individuals will be better positioned to succeed in quality and efficiency. This is to say that the nature of job is a very important factor to consider in investigating work efficiency. In this regard, the nature of the job performed by port health officers remains a major factor to consider in relation to the level of their efficiency. The duties of these officers sometimes get risky due to the fact that some passengers consciously will try to infect them with diseases. This makes creativity important in the performance of the employee role. Port health officers who are creative can still perform their jobs within the required time frame and remain efficient with no risk to their lives and health.


Most studies on creativity investigated personal characteristics, such as personality and cognitive ability, and on the creative few individuals (Feist, 1998; McCrae & Costa, 1997; Tierney, Farmer, & Graen, 1999). However, attention has shifted away from the individual focus and the creative few toward the integrative view (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999; Zhou & Shalley, 2003). Unfortunately, the blend of creativity and risk taking behaviour remain to be investigated.


1.3:      Significance of the study


The significance of this study is to cause a provide an understanding of the factors that may have led to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Nigeria which was generally assumed to be caused by inefficiency in the part of Port health services employees. To achieve this, the study has a main objective of investigating creativity and Ebola virus disease risk taking behaviour as predictors of work efficiency among port health services employees in Nigeria.

The study also looks at the following specific objectives:

  • To examine the role of Ebola virus disease risk taking behaviour and creativity in the work efficiency of Port health services employees.
  • To determine the level of creativity of port health workers that enhances work efficiency.
  • To investigate the relevant personal characteristics that are instrumental to the work efficiency of port health employees.

Findings from this study will be relevant in providing information to policy makers regarding factors to consider in improving the efficiency of the Nigeria port health services. Similarly, the study will be instrumental to identify the relevant personal characteristics of port health employees that can be channeled into training sessions. Furthermore, the study will indicate the amount of risk that can still be employed in the performance of the employee duties.


1.4:      Scope of the study 

This study covers the Lagos state Headquarters of the Port health services unit of the Federal Ministry of Health. The findings from this study will be generalized on all port health services employees across the country and by extension all health workers in Nigeria and beyond.


1.5:      Operational definition of variables

Work Efficiency: in this study, work efficiency will be described as the ability of an employee to be able to be creative and complete a well-defined job role within the allotted time and with minimal risk. Work efficiency will be measured by a five item scale constructed and validated by the researcher which includes some items adapted from Gao and Taormina’s (2002) measure of employee work efficiency.  The pilot study for the instrument established strong psychometric property (α = .69). sample item for the instrument includes, “My relationships at work promote my work efficiency” and “ I make efficient use of my time at work”


Employee Creativity: Employee creativity is a process that involves creation of novel ideas that are instrumental to the performance of an employee job. In this study, employee creativity will be measured using a 12 item scale developed and validated by the researcher with some items adapted from Zhou and George (2001). Zhou and George (2001) reported the reliability of their instrument to be highly reliable. (Cronbach’s alpha = .96). However for the present study, the scale was revalidated for use in the present populations to establish strong psychometric property (α = 73).


Ebola Virus Disease (EVD): Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.


Risk: Risk is a situation that involves exposure to danger


Risk taking behaviour: Risk talking is a process whereby an individual consciously or unconsciously involve in certain behaviours that will expose the individual to threats on life.


Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Risk taking behaviour: EVD risk taking behaviour of employees in this study refers to the behaviours of employees that expose them to chances of contracting EVD in the course of performing their job roles. In this study EVD risk taking behaviour will be measured with a nine item EVD risk taking behaviour scale adapted from HIV/AIDS risk taking behaviour scale by the National center for biotechnological information. After pilot study to establish the reliability of the instrument, the scale was found to be very reliable (α = 79).


Port Health Services: Port Health Services is an arm of the Federal Ministry of Health that is concerned with the spread of communicable diseases through the major airports and seaports in Nigeria


Airport: in this study, an airport will refer to a location with facilities to store and maintain aircraft, and a control of commercial and private aviation flights to take off and land.


Seaport: a seaport is the maritime equivalent of an airport. It is a location which involves ships harbor and dockyard where ships are maintained loaded and offloaded.


1.6:      Theoretical framework

Psychologists generally assume that motivation has a fundamental role in achieving efficiency at work through creativity (Amabile, 1983, 1996; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000). Efficiency at work will therefore ultimately lead to improved Performance (Diewert & Lawrence, 1999) However, there are some personal and psychological variables which may be responsible for how efficient the employee is. This section will provide a review of some theories that helps to explain some of these variables which were investigated in this study.



Scientific management theory is a theory of management that describes and explains work relationships as regards efficiency. Its main objective is improving the efficiency of the employee and the organisational efficiency, especially labor productivity. The theory was a major breakthrough at attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management. The development of the theory began with Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries and the theory was at its peak in 1910 (Woodham, 1997). Frederick Taylor, in the early twentieth century, used this theory to revolutionized management practices. Taylor (1911) posit that the essence of every organisation is to achieve maximum prosperity for the employee and maximum prosperity for the employer. By maximum prosperity, he meant the employer will be satisfied by the input of his employer, which will translate to high productivity and the employee will be compensated for such endeavor. He claims that maximum prosperity also implies the development of each man to his state of maximum efficiency, so that he may be able to do; generally speaking, the highest grade of work for which his natural abilities fit him, and it further means giving him, when possible, this class of work to do. This implies that an organisations’ ability to be productive, rest on the efficiency of the employee. Taylor (1911) noticed that there exist a challenge to management decisions and this was reducing the efficiency of the employee. Essentially, managers were making decisions on how to lead their workers, which was almost like a situation where the blind leads the blind. Taylor (1911) resolved to create a solution to this problem. His new approach advocated the use of scientific methods to scrutinize individualized tasks of production work to find the most efficient method.

Taylor (1911) employed his engineering knowledge into management by studying tasks and incentives in order to create a reliable method for increasing efficiency and maximizing productivity. He used time and motion studies to determine how long it should take a person to complete a task when the correct movements were made. This made the concept of time to be very important in the understanding of efficiency. He went on to make tools available to each employee so as to increase the likelihood that the employee will have the necessary encouragement to work. In order to make his approach scientific, he studied workers at the Bethlehem Steel plant who were responsible for unloading iron from rail cars. His findings indicated that a blend of correct tools, movements and procedures resulted to about 26% increase of productivity (reference) which can be accounted for by the efficiency of the employee. The study also showed that this approach will reduce the number of employee required to perform a particular task thereby making employees to concentrate on other areas that will improve productivity. Specifically, his approached only required 140 workers to complete the work each day as opposed to the usual 500 (Taylor, 1911). In order to make the procedure effective, he added an incentive system to compensate the more efficient employees. This change resulted to an unsurpassed level of productivity at the Bethlehem Steel plant which drastically increased overnight. Taylor believes increasing the efficiency of the employee scientifically would increase not only the opportunity for more work, but also the real wealth of the world, happiness, and all manner of worthwhile improvements in the life of the working person because he assumed increased employee output will result in improved quality of life (Taylor 1996)

The scientific management theory was based on four key principles

  • An employees’ task should be precise and scientific rather than employing general guidelines on how the employee can complete the task
  • The recruitment, selection, placement, training and development of employees should be contingent on the same scientific methodology introduced to improve performance
  • In order for the developed plans and principles to be effective, management should ensure there is a productive level of cooperation between staff and management
  • There should be a clearly defined system of division of labour and responsibility between, managers and staff such that managers should be responsible for planning the work while the staff should be responsible for following the plan to achieve a considerable level of productivity.

Taylor was quick to announce that the principles suggested are not new to any organisation as it has been a revolution and the theory is practiced by almost every type of industry. According to Taylor, the workman, on the average, in those industries where scientific management has been introduced, has turned out double the output and been the beneficiary of many improvements in working conditions. Although the theory was original called shop management theory by Taylor, Louis Brandeis made the theory famous by reconceptualising it as scientific management in 1910 (Drury, 1915). This scientific management approach stimulated a lot of research interest which ultimately resulted to contemporary approaches to job designs APPLICATION OF SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT TO THE PRESENT STUDY

According to the scientific management theory, the ultimate goal of every organisation is to maximize efficiency. Thus for port health employees to be efficient in the administration of their duties they need to be efficient. In light of this, the port health services should be responsible for putting certain factors in place which are expected to bring out the efficiency of the employees. Unfortunately, the management of the port health services may have overlooked these factors prior to the outbreak of EVD in Nigeria. This may have been responsible for the inefficiency experienced by the port health employees at the point of entry where the virus penetrated into the country. However, it should be noted that immediately the virus was discovered in Nigeria, health care providers especially the port health services were equipped with the relevant tools to aid performance of their jobs and this was highly instrumental in increasing their level of efficiency as the virus was contained in a few months.

Finally, the theory assumes that maximum efficiency is established when there is mutual cooperation among employees. For this to yield an appreciable level of efficiency, the nature of the employee job need to be considered. The employees are in a job where the propensity for risk is high and more often than not, they are at the forefront in combatting the spread of diseases into the country so it can be argued that in order to guide against any form of diseases creeping into the country, the employee may place himself at risk. Similarly, situations may arise where it becomes imperative for the employee to be creative as some necessary tools for proper work may not be readily available. The aforementioned suggests that although the scientific management theory proposes that when employees are equipped with relevant tools for their jobs, trained adequately for better performance, work in a mutually oriented environment with clearly defined systems of division of labour, they are expected to be efficient. However, the theory did not consider work situations where the employee may need to make certain decisions independently to meet task deadline and work output. This makes the concept of creativity and the nature of the work very crucial in the study of work efficiency.


1.6.2:   Processing Efficiency Theory

Eysenck and Calvo (1992) developed processing efficiency theory to draw a distinction between performance effectiveness and processing efficiency. Performance effectiveness according to them, is the quality of performance (e.g., as assessed by outcome measures such as accuracy of performance). Processing efficiency on the other hand, is based on the relationship between performance effectiveness on the one hand and the amount of effort or resources used to attain that level of performance on the other hand.  The theory assumes that task-irrelevant thoughts such as worry and self-preoccupation will impair processing efficiency.  Processing efficiency theory also relates the effects of anxiety to the working memory system proposed by Baddeley (1986). This system consists of three components (recently increased to four) which are arranged in a hierarchical fashion. The Hierarchy begins with the central executive, an attention-like, domain-free system involved in various complex functions such as planning, strategy selection, and attentional control (Derakshan,, Ansari, Shoker, Hansard & Eysenck, 2009.). The assumption of the theory is that task-irrelevant processing affects the functioning of the working memory system such that anxious individuals should show impaired performance in dual task situations in which the concurrent demands of the two tasks on the central executive are high.

Much research supports these assumptions (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007). Relatively direct evidence was reported by Eysenck, Payne, and Derakshan (2005).  APPLICATION OF PROCESSING EFFICIENCY THEORY TO THE PRESENT STUDY

The theory will be useful to differentiate between the effectiveness of port health employees and their efficiency. Port health employees who are efficient will be able to perform effectively with a considerable amount of effort or resources. The theory further explains that task-relevant thoughts will impair the work efficiency of the employee. This thoughts may be dependent on the amount of risk involved in the job and how creatively they can accomplish their job task under an appropriate amount of time.



Job characteristics model was designed by Hackman and Oldham in 1974. According to them, any job can be performed based on a resourceful combination of some core job characteristics which they called;

i.                    Skill variety

ii.                  Task identity

iii.                Task significance

iv.                Autonomy

v.                  Task feedback

By skill variety, they mean the degree to which a job requires various skills and talents to complete a number of different activity.

Task identity, on the other hand refers to the completion of a whole and identifiable skill in relationship to the individual task as part of a larger piece of work.

Task significance is the impact of the task upon the lives and work of others.

Autonomy refers to the degree of independence or freedom allowed to complete a job.

Task feedback involves when employees individually obtain direct and clear feedback about the effectiveness of the individual carrying out the work activity.

The job characteristics model linked this core job dimensions to some critical psychological states which includes experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility and knowledge of result.

Experienced meaningfulness is the extent to which the employee feels his job is important.  The core dimensions, skill variety, task identity and task significance, are all areas that determine the meaningfulness of the job.

Experienced responsibility is the degree of personal accountability a person has for their work outcomes. This accountability would lead to a feeling of autonomy.

Knowledge refers to how well a person believes they are performing on the job, which may be influenced by the job feedback an employee receives regarding their performance.  

In other words, jobs that are high on skill variety task identity and task significance are said to jobs involving experienced meaningfulness. On the other hand, jobs that are high on autonomy are said to involve experience responsibility while task feedback involves knowledge of result. The job characteristics model claims that the combination of the core job dimensions forms the basis of the employee growth needs and they combine into a single predictive index called the motivating potential score (Smith & Hitt, 2005). MPS can be calculated using the core dimensions.

MPS = SV + TI + TS x A x F


The theory concludes that jobs that are high on motivating potential must be high on the three factors that leads to experienced meaningfulness and also must be high on both autonomy and feedback. If a job has a high MPS, the job characteristics model predicts that motivation, performance, efficiency and job satisfaction would be positively affected and negative outcomes would be reduced (Campion & Thayer, 1987)            APPLICATION OF THE JOB CHARACTERISTICS MODEL TO THE PRESENT STUDY

Employees of the Federal Ministry of Health port health services hold a very important job for the nation. This implies that their work outcomes is dependent to a great level on how motivated they are as motivated employees are expected to be productive (George, 1991). To this end, it is expected that their job will require a combination of various skills and talents such as creativity and innovation. Their ability to be creative will enable them to complete an identifiable piece of work which will be instrumental to keeping the nation free from diseases threatening the lives of Nigerians. In view of this, port health services employees are sometimes expected to employ creativity as they may work independently on some task. Likewise, the nature of their jobs require them receiving appropriate feedback on how well they have performed their duties. This will imply that port health employees who are expected to be efficient should be creative as well.



Competence risk theory was developed by Priest and Klint, in 1992. According to them, the probabilities of individuals to succeed or fail in an endeavor is related to their level of personal competence provided their perceptions are correct. In other words, individuals try to take risks that correspond to their level of perceived competence with a belief that they can influence the final outcome to their advantage.

The theory was built upon existing psychological and educational theories which establishes a link between risk taking, performance, motivation, self-efficacy and competence. According to priest and Klint (1992), risk taking behaviour can be described along two separate domains which are eustressful and distressful. These elements aid astuteness in individuals. The theory goes on to explain the influence of these two factors on individuals’ performance.

The theory explains five conditions of challenges that result to risk and competence. These are;

i.                    Exploration and experimentation; this involves maximum competence and minimal risk

ii.                  Adventure; adventure relates to high competence than risk

iii.                Peak adventure; this is a level of equality between levels of competence and risk.

iv.                Misadventure; misadventure relates to a situation of more risk than competence.

v.                  Devastation and disaster; this involves maximum risk and minimal competence.

These five conditions involves a series of several constructs and the challenge is referred to as the adventure experience paradigm (Martin & Priest, 1986). APPLICATION OF THE THEORY TO THE PRESENT STUDY

In the process of port health employees performing their jobs, they are faced with challenging situations involving risks where it becomes imperative for them to decide on best approaches. For the employee to work efficiently and perform his or her job, irrespective of the perceive risk involved, the employee will need to overcome that challenge. Thereafter, the employee will experience feelings of adventure where he assumes that his personal competence to perform the task exceeds the perceived risk or chances of failing in performing that task and also less likely, conditions of experimentations and exploration where risk is extremely low (Martin & Priest, 1986). The employee may regard this as a successful endeavor. If the employee is encouraged by his supervisor to attribute completion of the task to self as a function of internal locus of control (Weiner, 1985) as against due to external factors such as tools used, then a positive feedback loop ensues (Selye, 1974) even though it may be challenging, it is a very important process to build the confidence of an employee.

However, it should be noted that employees normally attribute reasons for their performance to many causes which include ability, effort, luck, task characteristics, attention and others (Priest, 1993). These are what Weiner (1985) classified along three factors: Causality (internal vs. external), stability (stable vs. unstable) and controllability (the level at which an employee can perceive attribution as under personal control). Furthermore, if the employee succeed at the task, his colleagues may encourage him with positive responses such as praise or congratulation (Priest, 1993). This will result to the employee feeling good about himself and this will influence how the employee attend to similar situations in future that involve risk taking. The feelings of the employee will ultimately increase the competence of the employee which will give the employee a level of self-confidence at performing the task irrespective of the risk involved (Harter, 1978). The perception of increased competence will motivate the employee to try something more risky (White, 1959).  Attempting the same task or repeating the job would lead to boredom (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975) or under-arousal (Ellis, 1973). This will make the employee to try out a higher level of risk due to self-efficacy beliefs (Bandura, 1977); an individual’s belief that he or she can successfully accomplish a task in a dangerous environment. Conditions of adventure will result once more if the employee can perform the job again but if the employee chose a more difficult task with higher level of risk, it leads to insufficient competence and the employee might even give up after many trials. As a result, the employee will experience a condition of misadventure where the situational risk or the chance of failing exceeds personal competence or the less likely condition of devastation and disaster, where risk is extremely high (Martin & Priest, 1986). A negative feedback ensues if the employee attributes failure to self or is under an internal locus of control (Weiner, 1985), rather than being due to external factors.

This negative feedback loop is called distress (Selye, 1974) or an unpleasant stressful situation. Finally, the employee may prevent entry into the negative feedback loop by attributing failure to a source other than self, such as bad luck. Similarly, entry into a positive feedback loop of eustress can also be prevented by attributing success to something else, such as the help of a facilitator. In these instances, the locus of control is external and so a competence re-evaluation arises where the employee re-evaluate his ability to enagage in the perceived risky task.

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