Background ofthe Study
Decision-making is fundamental to the existence of any individual, group or organization. This is because the success of success of such individual, group or organization is dependent on the rationality of decisions made by the individual, group or organization in the process of undertaking daily activities. It is the pivot of every administrative process. It includes all the processesof identifying and selecting a course of action to be undertaken in solving a given problem.
Decision-making is the pivot of every administrative process.By implication, the school administration is seen as a collection of processes dealing with the various ways in which human and material resources are utilized to achieve set goals in an organization. These processes include such elements as planning, decision-making, organizing, co-coordinating, motivating, directing, evaluating, staffing, and building. This means that these elements are integral part of the administrative process which are usually taken care of by the school administrator.The school administration here refers to the school principal and his team of internal supervisors. The classroom teachers who are employed by the government are expected to impart knowledge to the students in the classroom situation. The problem is that the classroom teachers impact are not fact in terms of the decision-making process undertaken by the school administrators. Decision-making in the school are expected to take cognizance of all the elements involved so as to improve teaching and learning in the school.
It involves the process of identifying and selecting a course of action to be taken to solve a problem. Decision-making may be seen as choosing among alternatives. In the school system, the principal may choose to organize workshops for teachers for instructional improvement or organize an inter-house sports within a specific time-frame with the co-operation of his staff to achieve better results. It is in this line that Peretomode (2001), asserts that decision-making is the very heart of the administrative process and leadership. It is process of choosing from among alternative ways of achieving an objective or providing a solution to a problem.
It can be seen as a process through which human and material resources of an organization are allocated or committed towards the achievement of intended goals and objectives. According to Harrison (2003), “decision-making is synonymous with managerial process, because it comprises three principal phases: finding occasion for making a decision, finding possible course of action, and choosing among courses of action.” Fern (2002), emphasized that decision-making is a principal activity for managers/people occupying leadership position. Making decisions is a core activity in a managerial administrative process. It is because of the importance of decision-making in organizational management that made Simon (2000), to conclude that decision-making is synonymous with managing. It pervades the whole administrative process. Decision-making is the quality or ability of one person or a group of persons attempting or making efforts to bring something into existence by solving a problem with a view to bringing peace, progress and success in an organization or school environment. Operationally, decision-making either within or out of an organization is the process of making choice on best alternative to solve a given problem.
According to Ubong (2001) opined, “decision-making is a process of administration. Its results are policies, rules and regulations that guide the orderly behaviour of members of the organization”. Therefore, an effective administration of any organization depends on its ability to make rational decision. Decision-making can therefore be defined as the process through which information, ideas, objectives and knowledge are brought together through a sequential process of choice among various alternative information and ideas.
This is usually prevalent in organization like the school. The school administration undertakes the decision-making process to ensure the attainment of the stipulated goals. The school administration refers to the highest rank in the administrative cadre which takes control of the day to day activity of the school (Adeleke, 2006). Here the school administration comprises the principal, vice-principal, subject heads, and heads of department whose decisions are vital to the realization of the school objectives.
The school administrator is required to have skills in decision-making so as to make use of man and material resources available in the school in order to attain the schools’ stipulated objectives. Decision-making skills required of school principals refer to his/her ability to make decision to attain certain organizational objectives. Sometimes the decision-making skills may be inborn or learnt by an individual within their environment. The skills required in taking decision are organizational skill, supervisory skills, managerial skill, and administrative skills among others (Ibrahim, 2006). Therefore, for one to make an effective and efficient decision, certain skills are required of the individual concerned. In the school system, the principal is expected to possess certain administrative skills needed to make rational decisions.
Traditionally, the teachers are mainly produced to impart-knowledge, skills undertakings, facts to the learner/students not to make decisions. The issue at stake is do they have the skills to make decisions.
The importance of teacher participation in decision-making cannot be over emphasized. As Uzoude (2004), rightly pointed out, there is general consensus that involving teachers in the school decision-making process enhance their commitment to the goals of the organization (school). She further stressed that if a teacher is involved in arriving at a decision or decision is made by seeking his ideas, he will be more committed and more co-operative in the implementation of the decision. His sense of belonging to the organization and consequent level of job satisfaction will be greatly enhanced. The teacher will not experience any emotional strain or subjective feelings as he carries out the decisions. But lack of adequate participation in the decision-making process particularly on issues that pertains to the teacher will create feelings of worry, tension and anxiety in the teacher as he strives to implement the decision grudgingly, therefore, the need to involve teachers in decisions –making as observed by Musaazi (2003) who pointed out that:
In Nigeria today as elsewhere in Africa, the goals of schools are becoming more numerous and more complex. The traditional role of the school head as the master teacher, competent enough to supervise all areas of instructions and curriculum, seems untenable. A new roleis emerging. Teachings nowadays are increasingly demanding greater professional autonomy. (Musaazi, 2003).
Musaazi’s argument is that the goals of education, have widened and no one (person) can claim the monopoly knowledge in relation to tackling the problems emanating or improving it. In that case, ideas should be shared. Participation in decision-making has won the support of many, and a successful and effective school administration requires meaningful participation of staff in decision-making process. Edem (2002) opined, the emphasis is on the ability of the leader to motivate the teacher to perform his functions well through making him share in policy decision-making. Workers have the opinion that when their inputs are recognized, organizational goals will be achieved. Therefore school principals/heads should encourage teachers’ participation in decision-making in schools.
Gender has been pointed out as a variable that influence the participation of teachers in the decision-making process in the secondary school administration. UNICEF (2008) asserts that gender refers to the varied socially and culturally constructed roles, qualities behaviour and so on that are ascribed to women and men of different societies. This implies that the roles and expectations of the male and female are defined by societies and cultures. Okeke (2009) notes that gender comes into play in the areas of decision-making in schools. Studies conducted by Hicks (2007), shows that female school administrators are more accumulative to teachers’ participation in decision-making process than their male counterpart. This instance will however be subjected to further investigation by the exerciser to vary its audacity or others.
In a study carried out by Abdsalami (2006) show that 60% of male school heads allow the teachers to participate in decision-making unlike their female counterpart. According to the above researcher, the male are more “open-minded” than female school administrators and this accounts for high level involvement of teachers in the decision-making process. By implication, male school administrators according to him succeed more than the female school administrators especially in the urban areas than in rural areas. This stand however, is later to be proved right or wrong in course of this study.
Decision-making in school may be on individual or group level. Individual levels entail the principal as the school head using his initiative in decision-making. Here there is little or no participation of the teachers. Usually, decision-making in organizations is the responsibility of organizational members who are vested with some authority within the hierarchy. (Ubong 2003). They may be leaders, small group committees and advisory boards like the parents-teachers association or teaching staff in the school system. Adeniran (2004) asserts that participatory decision-making usually improves the quality of decisions, increases the understanding of the group and also their commitment to the decision.
The school system in made up of the staff, students and equipment used to attain the set objectives. It is the human element in the system that makes objectives to be realized. Group decision-making entails where groups are asked to decide on what and how the objectives of the organization can be attained. According to Chiaha (2008), there are certain advantages to have a group of people rather than individual in making decision. She opined that groups come up with more and better decision alternatives than individual because a group can draw on collective, diverse opinions than the limited experiences of one person to draw on.
According to Udoka (2005) show that for one to be entrepreneurial in school administration, the school head must be creative, especially when it comes to decision-making. He also believed that he must approach problems from various perspectives and seek innovative ways to solve them. Given a partial situation, they must use insight to visualize the potential outcomes and consequences of alternative solutions.