- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Manpower development and utilization is of utmost importance to any sector, as it deals with how best to keep employees comfortable in their jobs, up-to-date, resourceful and versatile; this is expected to ensure optimal and continual performance of their assigned roles in an efficient and effective manner. The above is very important given the nature of human existence in the contemporary times (Ajieh, 2014).
Nigeria’s continuous struggle for socio-economic and political development can only be achieved through efficient and proactive indigenous manpower to serve as the propelling force for national growth and development. This is quite indispensible considering the argument of the concept if transfer of technology as a propelling force for the development of the developing countries.
The quality, efficiency and effectiveness, as well as the general administration of a country or firm or organization’s human resources to achieve its goals depends to a large extent on the ability of its manpower. As such, manpower development is a critical factor in the achievement of organizational objectives. Notably, “human resources administration relates to the overall organizational planning process by which the organization tries to ensure that it has the right number of persons and the right kind of people, … at the right time and at the right place performing certain functions, …which are economically useful and which satisfy the need of the organization and provide satisfaction for the individuals involved, and all geared towards efficiency and productivity by the organization (Ezeani, 2005:15-18).
The development of manpower has been a critical issue for organizations over the years, owing to the fact that that some employees may not possess adequate skills required for a particular job or may be wrongly placed within the organizations; and also the fact that employees need to adapt to changes introduced by science and technology for the increment and achievement of important results.
The concept of manpower development, which is often interchangeably used with human resources development and utilization, staff development or training, has many connotations which more or less mean the same thing, or to a large extent, talk about the same thing. It is an organized, coordinated development of knowledge; skills and attitudes needed by an individual to master a given situation or perform a certain task within an organizational setting. According to Saraswathi (2010), manpower development in the organizational context is a process by which the employees of an organization are helped in a continuous, planned ways to acquire or sharpen capabilities required to perform various functions associated with their present or expected future roles; develop their general capabilities as individuals and discover and exploit their own inner potentials for their own and/or organizational development processes; and develop an organizational culture in which supervisor-subordinate relationships, team work and collaboration among sub-units are strong and contribute to the professional well-being, motivation and pride of employees for the general well being of the entire organization.
There are two major components of manpower development – individual and organizational. The one refers to the development of new knowledge skills or improvement of behaviours that result in performance enhancement and improvement related to one’s job. It involves formal programmes, but is most often accomplished through informal, on-the-job training activities. On the other hand, organizational development is directed at developing new and creative organization solutions to performance problems by enhancing congruence among the organization’s structures, culture, processes, and strategies within the human resources domain. In other words, the organization should become a more functional unit as a result of a closer working relationship among these elements. The ultimate goal of organizational development is to develop the organization’s self-renewing capacity through self-assessment, and geared towards improvement of the organization (Ubeku, 1975).
While manpower development is a necessity that contributes significantly to the overall effectiveness and profitability of an organization, the effectiveness and success of an organization lies on the people who form and work within the organization. It is the developed human capital of an organization that constitutes its wealth. Thus, the performance of employees towards achievement of set goals and successes is a function of the quantum of the relevant skills and knowledge programmes acquired on the job.
With this in mind, this study is therefore aimed at critically examining the issue of challenges of manpower development and utilization within the Rivers State Local Government system between 1999 and 2011. We shall also attempt the identify problem areas and also suggest possible ways of overcoming them so as to achieve greater success towards the realization of the overall goal.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is an indubitandum that manpower development and utilization is critically uppermost in the minds of any public or private organization for the purposes of optimal productivity. This is so much so in the local government system. But, for some time now it appears manpower development in the Rivers State Local Government system has been unsatisfactory, unplanned and unsystematic, and several of its employee such as machine operators, junior and middle level engineers, account clerks, computer operators, secretaries, drivers and many other category of workers, have not qualified for any form of training nor is there any systematic process of staff development in place.