BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Managing diversity and employee morale have had early influences. Management of diversity naturally has been of some concern to organized history throughout the history of civilization. Most of the early contributions came from practitioners such as Taylor and Fayol. Taylor is the father of scientific management and wrote his book in 1911 while Fayol developed the fourteen principles of administration (Koontz and O’Donnel, 2000). Management in antiquity shows the interpretation of early Egyptian papyri, extending as far back as 1300 B.C., that indicates the recognition of the importance of organization and administration in the bureaucratic states of antiquity with similar records of such existence for ancient China. Confucius’s parables include practical suggestions for proper public administration, and admonitions to choose honest, unselfish, and capable public officers (Koontz and O’Donnel and Weihrich, 2000).
The Roman Catholic Church, if one is to judge by age, is probably the most efficient formal organization in the history of Western civilization. Its long organizational life has been due not only to the appeal of its objectives but also to the effectiveness of its organization and management techniques. The development of the hierarchy of authority with its scalar territorial organization, the specialization of activities along functional lines, and the early use of the staff device are striking examples of these techniques. However, present times are showing the challenges of diversity management where the Pope Benedict XVI resigned on Thursday February 28, 2013 in the face of growing issues of age and general administration (Nwachukwu, 2013).
In the Military Organisations as might be expected, some of the more important principles and practices of modern business management may be traced to military organizations. Except for the Church, no other form of organization in the history of Western civilization has been forced, by the problems of managing large groups, to develop organization principles. Yet despite the need, the military organizations probably failed to put the theory to use before the past two centuries (Koontz and O’Donnel, 2000).
Management of diversity has also existed in Nigeria and employee morale has been a very important performance variable. In 1946 there was the first pre-development plan and it was financed by the British Administration. Its aim was to raise raw materials as inputs in the British factories to generate revenue to win the Second World War. The diversity here was whether the plan was for Nigeria or for Britain as their interest was on growth abroad rather than indigenous employee’s moral. Between 1962 and 1985 there were four post-independence development plans, followed by the 7-point agenda of late President Musa Y’Adua. There were the economic reforms of President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007 and presently there is a road map of President Goodluck Jonathan till date. The diversity here is that all the plans, programmes and strategies used by the various Nigerian administrations have had good formulations but it has been observed by some development experts that there were very poor implementations because of the diverse Nigerians socio-economic and religious backgrounds (Nwankwo, 2010).
Diversity management continued to have an influence on employee morale in relation to age, gender, religion, tribe, etc which could be positive if the strategies were right and negative if they were not. As Lawrence (2001) puts it, management of diversity in organisations is dependent upon the acceptance of some primary objectives to which the employees are ready to commit, like the way it would impact on their morale which is a state of the mind of the individuals, or groups as shown in the willingness to perform assigned tasks.
The effect of diversity management on employee morale was very relevant in the Managements of United States of America, Japan and Nigeria. The United States of America in the modern era had diverse management approaches that enhanced the spirit with which the American workers did their work. No wonder their economy became that of wealth and prosperity. A typical example was in the mass production which was initiated by Henry Ford which made it possible to produce a lot of cars that were different and similar as if it were the same brand. In American Management, there was a lot of planning but the Americans were too fast in their planning making for emergent decision making, demand forecasting and simulating the objective function (Koontz, O’Donnel and Weihrich, 2012).
In the case of Japanese Management, diversity management also had a positive effect on employee morale. The Japanese did not have raw materials but had the technology, so they could import raw materials and transform them through the production process to get product like electronic products and Toyota brand of cars. The transform consisted of different machines, methods and maintenance and so diversity management was very relevant. The Americans were very happy about the increased productivity of the Japanese so much so that American entrepreneurs built factories and asked the Japanese Managers to man the factories, so employee morale was very relevant. The Japanese Management was boosted by the use of life time employment, use of quality circles and effective technology (Koontz, O’Donnel and Weihrich, 2012).
In the case of Nigerian Management, diversity management had also had a positive effect on employee morale. In 1946, the pre-independence development plan which was financed by the British Government was aimed at raising different raw materials to finance the British factories so that Britain will not lose the Second World War. The plan lasted for 10 years between 1946 and 1956 (Nwankwo, 2000). So diversity management in Nigeria had a colonial origin. The Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decrees of 1972 and 1977 left the control and management of the different enterprises in Nigerian hands. Management was the factor that enhanced economic growth in Nigeria. Between the last quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, due to a rebasing done, the Gross Domestic Product growth rate of Nigeria was 7.4%. This made the economy of Nigeria bigger than that of South Africa that has continued to be an emerging economy with Egypt. The Nigerian economy became the largest in Africa (Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, 2014). Unfortunately, this economic growth has not been matched with effective employment of young school leavers, poverty alleviation and high literacy rate.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigerian managers since independence in 1960 have struggled with the challenges of managing religious, ethnic and political diversities bordering on gender, nationality, social class, background, sex orientation, age, mental and physical capabilities amongst others in organisations.