1.1      Background to the Study

Nowadays, the role of human resources in organization is recognized as one of the determinants achievement factors of organizational goals. According to macro point-of-view, the theory of economic growth states that human capital accumulation gives important contribution to economic growth, and to micro point-of-view, human resource theory considers human capital as the primary source for sustainable competitive advantage for the organization (Lucas, 1998 in Koentjaraningrat, 2004). The importance of the role of human resource can be seen from the supply and demand of the labour market. There is suitability between supply and demand of the labour market that human resource as human capital itself.

Explicitly, the study of human resource management consists of two approaches, namely Harvard’s approach and Michigan’s approach. The first approach is known as the software version of human resource management, emphasizing that the commitment of staff is the primary driven factor to compete and to achieve the organization goals. Accordingly, this factor gains many attentions from stakeholders. The second approach is known as the hard version, emphasizing the capital resource and the human resource itself. This approach addresses the suitability of internal fit in the practice of human resource and external fit in the practice of human resource and the management strategy. This strategic point-of-view is known as human resource management strategy (Delery and Doty, 1996).

In order to bring good behaviours among employees in any organisation, it is required an optimal work enhancement that is able to utilize the potential of human resources owned by employees in a bid to set up organizational goals that will have a positive contribution to the growth and development of the organization. In addition, the organization needs to pay attention to various factors that may affect the behaviour of employees.

It must be understood that the work environment of any organization generally make up of three sub-environments, namely, technical, human and organizational environments. Technical environment comprises tools, equipment, infra-structure and other technical elements; the human environment comprises peers, and colleagues with whom employees relate, team and work group, interactions, the leadership and management, while organizational environment, on the other hand, includes systems, procedures, practices, values and philosophies (Opperman, 2002). Work environment of an organization can also be categorized into internal and external work environment. The totality of these environments has influence on the behaviour of employees. Since most people spend fifty percent of their lives within indoor environments, which greatly influence their mental status, actions, abilities and performance (Sundstrom, 1994). Better outcomes and increased performance is assumed to be the result of better workplace environment. Better physical environment of office will boosts the employees and ultimately improve their behaviour.

The environment that people are required to work in can have a significant impact on their behavioural attitudes at workplace. This can affect performance and employee health and well-being. The key factors fall into two categories, those that are driven by procedures, protocols and management requirements and the factors that arise from premises, office or factory design. Management driven factors include the development of organization plans such as the allocation of responsibilities at all levels of the organization, definition of job descriptions and the degree of access to the management and administrative support needed to complete their tasks; Working patterns, shift-working, break times, absence or holiday cover; and Health and safety policies, including the provision of training, development of safe working practices and the adequate supply of protective clothing and equipment. The key factors in work place environment impact greatly on employee’s level of motivation and their behaviour. The workplace environment set in place impacts employee behaviour, morale, productivity and performance both positive and negative. And if the circumstances are not good it will be affecting the behaviour of the employees in the form of delay in work completion, frustration, impact on personal growth etc.

Hornby and Sidney (1988) stated that an employee’s performance does not only depend on or limited by available resources but also on the willingness of workers to carry out all their tasks regularly and persistently, flexible, and finish the assigned duties. In this case, the performance is affected by the strong motivation of employees to work regularly and persistently to carry out the tasks assigned to him. It is on this background that this study seeks to examine the influence of organizational environment on employee behaviour.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The organizational environment has a significant impact upon employees’ behaviour which in turn affects their productivity and performance. Work environment means those processes, systems, structures, tools or conditions in the workplace that impact favourably or unfavourably on individual performance. The work environment also includes policies, rules, culture, resources, working relationships, work location, and internal and external environmental factors, all of which influence the ways that employee perform their job functions. It is widely accepted that the work environment has an impact positive or negative on employees’ behaviour.

The organisational environments in some firms are considered unsafe and unhealthy. These includes poorly designed workstations, unsuitable furniture, lack of ventilation, inappropriate lighting, excessive noise, insufficient safety measures in fire emergencies and lack of personal protective equipment. Employees working in such environment are liable to occupational disease and it impacts on their behaviour. Thus performance is decreased due to the organisational environment. It is a wide industrial area where the employees are facing a serious problem in their work place like environmental and physical factors.

Management’s new challenge is to build an organisational environment that attracts, retain and motivate its employees. Many organisational factors impact employee’s behaviour. Relationship among personality, organizational environment preferences and the outcome variables, performance and commitment affect employee’s behaviour at the workplace. A well designed office signals the values and objectives of the company and the use of design in office interior communicates a company’s values and identity. Office design therefore should be one of the factors affecting employees’ behaviour. It is therefore important to find out if work environment can directly or indirectly disturb employees’ performance or productivity.

Consequently, the lack of confirmed knowledge on which factors relating to working conditions, as experienced by employees influence behaviour, prevents the management team from taking the necessary actions to help employee cope effectively with the challenging environment. Therefore, the problem that this study will address is the investigation on influence of organizational environment on employee behaviour.

1.3   Research Objectives

The general objective of this study is to investigate the influence of organizational environment on employee behaviour. The specific objectives are:

i)            To examine the impact of organizational environment on employees’ behaviour.

ii)          To identify the factors influencing the employees behaviour.

iii)        To investigate the relationship between employees and their organisational environment.

iv)         To suggest measures and make appropriate recommendations to improve the working conditions for better performance.

1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions will guide the study

i)            What is the impact of organizational environment on employees’ behaviour?

ii)          What are the factors influencing the employees behaviour?

iii)        What is the relationship between employees and their organisational environment?

iv)         What are the measures and make appropriate recommendations to improve the working conditions for better performance?

1.5   Research Hypotheses 

The following research hypotheses will guide the study.

i)            There is a significant correlation between organizational environment and employees’ behaviour

ii)          There is a significant relationship between employees’ behaviour and employees’ performance

1.6   Significance of the Study

It is anticipated that the findings of the study will pave way for the stakeholders, human resource Managers and employers of labour  to accept the variable that affects employees’ working environment and their performance in their organization. Such an acceptance could be utilized to improve on the working conditions of employees. It will also visualize that the findings of this study will enable organizations to know how to address issues concerning the employees and its working environment and to consider office design as an important factor in increasing employees’ performance.

It will therefore serve as a reference material for future researches in this area. Also, the results will throw more light on factors affecting employee’s behaviour as far as their environments are concerned. The study is expected to provide knowledge and measures to improve the working environment of employees for better performance in organisations.

1.7   Scope of the Study

The study will focus on employees at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. This is the public institution which operates at the city centre of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria with over 20000 students. This study will find out how working environment has a significant impact upon employee behaviour, performance and productivity.

1.8   Definition of Terms

The following terms were used in this study:

Organisational Environment: this is used to describe the surroundings conditions in which an employee operates.

Employee: a person who is paid to work for somebody. A person who works for another person in return for compensation.

Performance: here, it is defined as the act of successfully carrying out task assigned to one.

Employee Performance: This means a job related activities expected of a worker and how well these activities are executed.