1.1       Background to the Study

            Today, the ease, speed and accuracy with which things are done, are attributed to the innovation in management as powered by computer. The method of carrying out functions and duties in time past is in the contemporary world enhanced with the application of management information system (MIS). The term, MIS is commonly used to refer to the study of how individuals or groups, and organizations evaluate, design, implement, manage, and utilize systems to generate information to improve efficiency and effectiveness in decision making as well as handling organizational functions (O’Brien, 1999). Parashar & Ranga, (2016) defined the three words in MIS by explaining their relationships and inter-dependence. The word, Management covers the planning, control, and administration of the operations of a concern. While information means the processed data that helps the management in planning, controlling and operations. While System means processing data in order to give proper information to the management for performing its functions.

            The management information system is an integrated, computerized and machine user system providing the required information to support the operation and decision making process. The main elements of this system are:

  1. An integrated system to give service to many users.
  2. The computer system linking some of information software via a database.
  3. User-machine interface responding to temporary and immediate searches.
  4. Presenting the information to all management level.

 5- Supporting the operation and decision making (Awad, 1988).

Due to its qualities and advantages, most businesses, universities, industries, civil service, government and non-governmental organisations have an MIS department, alongside departments of accounting, finance, management, marketing and sometimes others. “MIS” is a combination of human attempts by computer to collect, store, recover information by using communication systems for good management of organization activities (Kelly, 1984). “MIS” is also the formal method of providing exact and timely information to facilitate the decision making process of the managers during the planning, control and taking of effective and optimum decisions of the organization (Momeni, 1993).

            Civil service and other government ministries and parastatals have joined the global world in the application of management information system for human resources management and utilization. The benefits that are accrued from such adoption cannot be overemphasized. The following are some of the benefits that can be attained for adopting MIS in any organization whether industrial or civil (Pant and Hsu, 1995):  

  • Organisations are able to highlight their strengths and weaknesses due to the presence of revenue reports, employees’ performance record etc. The identification of these aspects can help the company improve their business processes and operations.
  • Giving an overall picture of the company and acting as a communication and planning tool.
  • The availability of customer data and feedback can help the company to align their business processes according to the needs of the customers. The effective management of customer data can help the company to perform direct marketing and promotion activities.
  • MIS can help a company gain competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is a firm’s ability to do something better, faster, cheaper, and unique when compared with other firms in the markets, (p.8).

A management information system provides information that organizations require in managing themselves efficiently and effectively (Wikipedia, 2014). Management information systems are typical computer systems used for managing information. In a typical MIS environment, there are five primary components of information systems identified as necessary ingredient for enhancing work (O’Brien, 1999). They are:

1). Hardware.

 2). Software.

3). Data (information for decision making).

 4). Procedures (design, development and documentation) and

5). People (individuals, groups, or organizations) (p.75).

He further stated that management information systems are distinct from other information systems because they are used to analyze and facilitate strategic and operational activities.

MIS gives managers the information they need to make decisions and solve problems, while facilitating data from different aspects of a project (World Bank, 2014). Early computers were used for simple operations such as tracking inventory, billing sales, or payroll data with little detail or structure (Lucey, 2005). Over time, computer applications became more complex and previously isolated applications such as card systems and magnetic storage, became connected in the 1980s and created an avenue for information network. With greater computing capability and the networks to link the necessary information, MIS became a standard among many companies.

Management information systems are increasingly being studied and designed to suit the changing world‘s activities both in government and non-government affairs (Hicks and Gullet, 1981). MIS provides management with timely, appropriate and understandable information necessary to control an organization which requires good information system. Logical decision making requires an understanding of the circumstance surrounding an issue and knowledge of the alternatives available. The more pertinent and timely the information, the better the resulting decision.

In these circumstances therefore, MIS needs highly trained resourceful and qualified manpower without which the necessary component available to give credence to the organizational functions would be elusive. It is believed that no nation of the world can carry out any of its development programmes without adequate and competent manpower. The human resources of a nation hold the key to its survival, prosperity and future economic and social development, (Yahaya, et al, 1992). Also, it is affirmed that the ability of any organization to achieve its goals, depend to a large extent, on the caliber, organization and motivation of its human resources. Organizational competency is not measured by the volume, quantity and financial resources available, (Ezeani, et al, 2002). In a similar view, human, like any other resource in organization has certain unique characteristics which include the fact that it is only human resources that drive all other resources as well as being the only resource that is resourceful (Aimiuwu, 2004). Man, out of all the resources available to man can grow and develop. At all times people are involved in the development and use of appropriate technology for achieving corporate goals.

Human resources of a nation holds the key to its survival, prosperity and future economic and social development. That is why, scholars have rated human resources higher than other resources (Onah, 2003). In the bid to ensure that work processes are in line with the organizational goal, human resources management is a panacea. Human Resource Management (HRM) is the function within an organization that focuses on recruitment, management, and providing direction for the people who work in the organization. HRM can also be performed by line managers (Heathfield, 2014). He also identified that HRM is a strategic and comprehensive approach to managing people and the workplace culture and environment. Effective HRM enables employees to contribute effectively and productively to the overall company direction and the accomplishment of the organization’s goals and objectives. HRM moved away from traditional personnel administration, and transactional roles, which are increasingly outsourced. HRM is now expected to add value to the strategic utilization of employees and that employee programs impact the business in measurable ways.

                        Therefore, the baseline assessment of MIS in work environment revealed provider productivity, efficiency and engagement. These according to Global Resource Center (2012), are parts of the collaboration to improve the efficiency of HR service delivery. The uses of MIS in an organization adds value to productivity and service going away from traditional system to automation which speeds up processes and add value to functions. Civil service is suitably enhanced to function, utilize and produce better with the application of MIS into the process of service utilization and production.

Although, civil service refers to either a branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed or hire on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations; or the body of employees in any government agency other than the military. A civil servant or public servant is a person in the public sector employed by a government department or agency. The extent to which civil servants of a state as being part of the “civil service” varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom for instance, only crowned (national government) employees are referred to as civil servants whereas county or city employees are not (Wikipedia, 2014). In Nigeria, civil service is a creation of government and the persons that work in it are called (civil servants). Collectively, a state’s civil servants form its civil service or public service, (Wikipedia, 2014).

A number of reasons have been advanced for lack of success in organisations in developing nations, particularly in the civil service. Some of the reasons include, but not limited to inadequate efforts by top management, failure to make appropriate use of computer capabilities, corruption, poor human resources management approach and incorrect approaches to system design (Agrawal, 2013). Fortunately, recent trend indicates that better information systems are being developed in many organizations like the judiciary, Army, Police, civil service, etc. These agencies and others have adopted a computerized system for gathering, storing, processing and communicating relevant information for the betterment of their functions (Ani, 2011).

However, despite the arrays of facts concerning the benefits of information and information technology, there has been an increasing explosion of the ICT extension in the Nigeria economy and the public service. The reason for the information explosion could be traced to the growth in the size and diversity of modern organizations. The Nigeria public service (civil service) employs a large work force, maintain diverse departments and as a result adopt a divisional structure. This definitely means that these departments need more information to coordinate their various activities and functions. Another factor responsible for the need for MIS in Nigeria civil service is the instability and uncertainty in the Nigeria policy environment. For instance, during the 1980’s and 1990’s a large dose of environmental variability upon the Nigeria business and public service were noticed. The economy was under poor coordination and implementation adjustments. The legal, political and socio-cultural factors experienced a state of uneasiness (Adeboye, 2013).

Explaining this scenario, most governmental policies fail in Nigeria because of lack of continuity in government which is as a result of political instability and poor data management (Okonkwo, 1996). The changes in the above mentioned factors subsequently and inevitably leads to the gathering and collecting of the set of data so that the organization can review plans and introduce adaptive action that corresponds with the new reality. Certainly, this has placed the Nigerian managers at the vortex of information, thus complicating it’s responsibilities. The manager has to update his skill in planning and strategic management in order to handle the multitude of internal and external pressure from the environment. Specifically, he needs an effective mechanism that can manipulate the ever-present problem of data processing and information support for management decision making.

Empirically, it has been proved that every human organization depends on information for its continual relevance. Therefore, at other times, they are secured from elements outside the organization (Nobert, 1967). These data are needed for documentation purposes and also for further decision making. Scholars have often stressed the order and the characteristic of good information system (IIoka, 1999; Michael, 2012 and Strong, 2013) for instance, has indicated that the system should be scientific and organized to provide past and present projections of relevant and timely information relating to internal and external intelligence on the desk of the managers to aid decision making (IIoka, 1999). It must support the planning, control and operational functions of the organization by furnishing uniform information in the proper time frame to assist the decision maker.

To support the above, (Hicks and Gullet, 1981), maintained that management information systems are increasingly being studied and designed. It seeks to provide management with timely, appropriate and understandable information necessary to the control of an organization. Logical decision making requires an understanding of the circumstance surrounding an issue and knowledge of the alternatives available. An organization (governmental or non-governmental) has no natural memory other than the memory of the individuals within it. Since individuals come and go administrators must develop extensive networks of reporting. Perhaps, management information system becomes a useful mechanism to retain essential information over a long period of time. Firms and government departments in developed nations have been successful in developing totally adequate information system for decision-making uses.

Therefore, the application of management information system and human resources management in Enugu State civil service cannot be over-emphasized. It creates functional system whereby personnel in civil service utilizes the resources and effectively engages in fruitful production.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The ineffectiveness of human resources management in Enugu State civil service cannot be over-emphasized. However, the system is weighed down by a lot of bureaucratic rules and impersonal relationships that most managers find it difficult to effectively handle the system. The Nigeria public service is bedeviled by apparent lethargy, procrastination and inefficiency. The human resource -perspective worries that the major bulk of retrogressive human resource management practice in Nigeria occurs mainly in the civil service, (Eze, 1998 and Chukwuemeka, 1999). They indicted the Nigeria public service for failing to live up to expectations and responsible for their negative performance by the public service in Nigeria.

The performance of most public organizations in rendering effective service to the public has remained epileptic for decades despite huge investments on them by past government reforms. Efforts in transforming the civil service and other governmental institutions for effective and efficient performance have no doubt in recent times become one of the most pressing and fundamental preoccupations of government in administrative, economic and social reforms by the Obasanjo’s administration (Agba, 2006).

Nigeria civil service has consistently faced increasingly complex organizational challenges in areas such as resources maximization, staffing, procedural problems regarding planning, control and evaluation, information storage and retrieval. Civil service and other modern institutions such as universities are not only facing complex managerial problems, they have become complex in themselves. The complexities of these institutions, particularly in Nigeria and other developing countries, tend to be characterized by such phenomena as staff or student population explosion, diversities in the dimensions of programmes and procedures, inadequacy of funds and other material resources even in the face of inflation, conflicting models and policies adopted for implementation of programmes, (Atulomah, 2011; Longe, 1988 and Nwankwo, 1985). At the core of the above bewildering list of complex variables are the problem of paucity of information as well as poor capacity for records and information management. The general disposition of people, and especially office personnel, to have little regard for records has contributed to the poor state of records today in all of the nation’s institutions of higher learning and civil service.

To affirm the depth of the above crude situations, scholars posits that Nigerian administrators are often concerned about the alarming rate of misplacement or loss of vital records and the slow speed at which needed records are retrieved from their storage (Popoola and Oluwole, 2007). Accurate retrieval and time availability for use of the required information would reduce common problems of management in institutions, such as:

  • difficulties in finding information needed to take decisions or respond to inquiry.
  • delays in payment of staff emoluments and fringe benefits.
  • accumulation of administrative matters which ought to have been discharged, but now causing discontent among staff.
  • inaccurate demographic figures resulting in lack of accurate budgetary provisions.
  • inability to forward  staff or students’ reports/records for promotion / assessment or release results on schedule as in academic institutions (Iwundu, 2008 and Nwankwo, 1985).

It has been regrettably noticed that the growing culture of government policy discontinuity and the emergent turbulence in the general public environment hinged on the above flaws. To address this development, an effective system in an organization to acquire and manage information is necessary. This is because knowing how to put information to use has become critical to the success and survival of the organisation. Hopefully, the invention of the microchips and computers has made information management more efficient and organized in this era of phenomenal information explosion. The desires to upgrade its information database and information management systems also enhance management success.

Nevertheless, it is imperative to point out that computerization is not just a matter of technological innovations and developments. It should be seen as a process, which involves individuals, organization and society. The innovations and exploration of the technologies meets human needs and HR use same to achieve an organizational goal by applying it to problem solving. Computer is the core issue in the innovations. Basically we have three classes of computer based systems. There is the Electronics Data Processing (EDP), the Decision support System (DSS) which aid the decision making of management and the information support oriented systems like the management information system which is the Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS) which provides timely and accurate information on the desk of the human resources manager.

The civil service as the biggest employer of labour in Nigeria and as the unit that make up the public service are large with complex departmental structures, large deployment of human resources over time and space and with the fluid and uncertain operational terrain has subsequently made the information environment of human resources manager in the civil service amorphous. This calls for the entrenchment or consolidation of a good information management system in order to cope with the expanding and challenging tasks associated with human resources management in the present digital age. To successfully do this and ensure that the essence of MIS in HRM is achieved in civil service, the following questions would guide the study:

  1. What are the roles of MIS in human resources management in the civil service of Enugu State?
  2. What are the relationships between MIS record keeping and planning in Enugu State Civil Service?
  3. What has Enugu State provided as the facilities, skills and competencies required for the application of MIS for human resource management in civil service?
  4. What are the major challenges of MIS for human resource management in the civil service of Enugu State?

1.3       Objectives of the Study

Based on the above problems, the broad objectives of this study is to identify how the application of management information system enhances human resources management in Enugu State Civil Service, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to:

  1. identify the roles of MIS in human resource management in Enugu State Civil Service;
  2. find out the relationship between MIS and record keeping and planning in Enugu state Civil Service;
  3. ascertain the facilities Enugu State has provided for the effective application of MIS for Human Resource Management in the Civil Service and
  4. findout the challenges of MIS for human resource management in Enugu State Civil Service.