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An employee's job performance affects the overall performance of his organization. The job performance of individuals and the overall organizational performance are changing drastically across time. This is due to the increasingly widespread globalization and the rapid development of technology which lead to the major changes within organizational structure and context. The competitive environment in workplaces is becoming fiercer than ever especially in organizations within the same industry. Thus, organizations need to be cautious of running on the right track towards the accomplishment of their goals while competing fiercely with their competitors. The positive effect of competitive environment is that it helps to enhance the organizational performance by motivating all the employees within the company to work harderand helps toboost the economy of the country as well.
1.2 Research Background
Job attitude and performance among working adults vary across individuals based on their personal needs and wants. The growing number of working adults especially females is due to the need for survival andthe necessity in managing thechanging standard of living. Besides that, more and more individualsyearnto fulfill their dreams and desires through their jobs, such as social needs and status recognition. This practice has become the current trend of the society to the extent that individuals tend to be more engaged in work than ever to ensure that they meet the minimum standards in order to achieve their personal targets.
The number of workplace learning programmes within organizations which is increasing over time brings huge benefits to individuals as it helps to improve job performance among working adults in their workplace. The purpose of workplace learning is to enhance an individual's skills and competencies so that he can raise his productivity and thereby contribute to increasing the organization's production. At the same time, the improved competency shows the individual's interest and willingness to work with his co-workers cooperatively in executing and developing a task (Ellstro¨m, 2002a, b).Workplace learning can be implemented in a combination of formal, informal and practical methods of learning. However, in order to establish a good and proper environment for workplace learning, this is not easy to achieve as it has to be organized in different ways whereby it requires a supportive structure and the involvement of middle managers (Svensson et al., 2009). Hence, it is not confirmed that the job performance of every working adult will be improved whenever workplace learning programmes are carried out.
Generally, organizations can be divided into two sectors, namely the public sector and private sector. There is a possibility that the job performance of the same working adult will be very different when he or she works in either sector. This may be due to the distinguishable vision, mission, goals, objectives, work environment and the expectationsofemployers. Public sector organizations have been expanded and grown in their functions. They are not equal to non-profit organizations from the aspect of goals, pay and criteria (Luoma-aho, 2007). At the same time, public sector organizations are not necessarily similar as they differ in goals, objectives, functions and scope. The productivity of the public sector is equally important as the productivity of the private sector for the economic performance for the country. Thornhill (2006) states that public sector productivity is important because "the public sector is a major employer, major provider of services in the economy especially in business services which affect cost of inputs and social services which affect labour quality, and consumer of tax resources". On the other hand, Black, Briggs, and Keogh (2001) state that private sector organizations deal more with the marketplace principals and they interact directly with other firms and customers or end users directly or indirectly. They are very concerned with their organizational position in the competitive environment and the identification of marketplace environment. Compared to the public sector, private sector organizations have heavier responsibilities in managing customer satisfy action. This is because they desire to increase and maintain customer loyalty which will very possibly lead to increase in profit. Therefore, service quality serves as an important factor for private sector firms to differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to be effective and to achieve competitive advantage.
By using Malaysian manufacturing data, Yusof (2008) has suggested that there is a long-term relationship between real wages, employment and productivity in which these three variables are important in labour economics whereby real wages act as the main variable out of the three variables. These relationships can be used to explain briefly the concept behind the job performance among working adults. A positive relationship between employment and real wages exists in the long-term relationship. There is a possibility that a higher level of employment is linked to the exertion of higher pressure in increasing the real wages of the employees (Yusof, 2008). At the same time, the level of productivity is directly related to the real wage of an employee. Higher pay motivates the workers to work extra hard and encourages higher moraleand improved job attitude. However, the increase in real wages leads to higher labour cost which may result in labour being substituted by capital. On the other hand, the relationship between employment and productivity can be seen as a change in the productivity level may influenceemployment in two opposite ways. In a positive way, the increase in the productivity level will lead to a greater employment level due to higher production. In a negative way, when the employment level is too high, employees will tend to reduce their effectiveness and efficiency due to congestion of the workspace. Hence,the labour force has to be reduced in order to allowemployees to have more space and opportunities to work more effectively and efficiently.
1.3 Problem Statement
Job hopping from one place to another is a common issue among working adults and most of the job hoppers are below the age of thirty.It is assumed that most organizations prefer to hire new employees who are at a young age as younger employees are more likely to be energetic and flexible in their job. It is also believed that working adultsshould get a suitable job with a high job satisfaction level as early as possible in order to get settled down in their personal life. Individuals tend to switch jobs until they are truly satisfied with their current job with reasonable pay and a comfortable work environment.
Besides the above, job hopping may be caused by fluctuationsin the global market which will also lead to drastic changes in the organizational structure and context. This brings a huge impact to the work environment within organizations as well. Thus, the organizational context, policy and structure should not be fixed but have to be flexible and organized in order to ensure the organization is in a strong and stable position.
Different organizations have different work environments with distinguishable cultural values, vision, mission, goals, objectives and targets regardless of the whether they are in the public or private sector. Hence, it is not unusual that similar individuals working in different organizations will have different job performance even working within the same sector. At the same time, the workplace environment can bring huge impact to a person to the extent that it can directly or indirectly affect his or her attitude and behaviour while performing the job. Employers should ensure that a comfortable environment is provided for their employees to work optimally so as to allow them to give their best contribution to the organization.
Therefore, the question is what are the major determinants of the job performance of working adults in the workplace?
1.4 Research Questions
Is there any significant relationship between income and job performance?
Is there any significant relationship between rewards and incentives and job performance?
Is there any significant relationship between workplace environment and job performance?
Is there any significant relationship between work-family factors and job performance?
Is there any significant relationship between personality and job performance?
Is there any significant relationship between income, rewards and incentives, workplace environment, work-family factors and personality?
Among all these variables, which variable is the most important and most influential factor that affects the job performance of working adults?
1.5 Research Objective
The purpose of the study is to investigate the extent to which the above factors affect job performance among working adults in today's society. The five variables are selected as the key factors as they appear to be more influential even though there are many other minor factors that may influence the job performance as well.
The research objectives are as follows:
To analyze the significant relationship between income and job performance.
To analyze the significant relationship between rewards and incentives and job performance.
To analyze the significant relationship between workplace environment and job performance.
To analyze the significant relationship between work-family factors and job performance.
To analyze the significant relationship between personality and job performance.
To analyze the significant relationship between income, rewards and incentives, workplace environment, work-family factors and personality.
To evaluate the most important and most influential variable that affects the job performance of working adults.
To make appropriate suggestions and recommendations for organizations in order to improve the job performance of employees thereby leading to an improvement in the their overall performance.
1.6 Justificationfor the Research
As the work productivity of working adults has been increasing in recent years due to the changing work environment and standard of living, organizations are trying their best to improve the job satisfaction and job performance of their employees in order to improve the overall organizational performance. Hence, this study provides useful information to organizationsand employers regardless of whether they are in the public or private sector whereby itcan help them to examine the factors that affect the job performance of the employees and the significant relationships between these factors and job performance. It is important to study the actual impact of the job performance of working adults as it can enhance the employer-employee relationship and boost organizational performance and reputation. This study assesses the five key factors that influence the job performance of working adults, which are income, rewards and incentives, workplace environment, work-family factors, and personality.
As the work environment is continuously undergoing major changes, this study also provides benefits to working adults as it helps them to gain a clearer understanding about the reasons or factors that affect their job performance in their workplace. Some working adults are workaholicsto the extent that they totally have no idea that there are many reasons or factors that unknowingly influence their job performance. Thus, the findings of this study may help them improve their job performance which will contribute towards achieving self-fulfilment and satisfaction in terms of their personal needs and wants.
Last but not least, this study is not only useful to organizations and working adults but is also beneficial to the country as well. This is because by improving an individual's job performance, the overall organizational performance will be enhanced as employees are considered the most valuable asset and resources of an organization. The resulting improvement of the country's economy will lead to further development and advancement of the standard of living.
1.7Outline of the Research Project Report
The outline of the study is divided into five chapters covering different methods and analyses.
Chapter 1 - Introduction. The basic understanding and general information about the study is reviewed. This chapter consists of research background, problem statement, research questions, research objectives, justification for the study, definitions of terms, scope and key assumptions.
Chapter 2 - Literature Review. Previous research studies related to income, rewards and incentives, workplace environment, work-family factors, personality and job performance are reviewed. Citations and dissertations are used to strengthen the findings.
Chapter 3 - Methodology. This chapter discusses the research method used for the study. The research framework, hypothesis, population and sampling approach, research design, data collection method, data sources and data analysis are described in detail.
Chapter 4 - Results and Discussion. The experimental results obtained from the study are analyzed in detail. The analysis examines to what extent thedifferent variables influence the job performance. The significant relationships between the variables and job performance areidentified and examined.
Chapter 5 - Conclusions and Recommendations. The main results and outcomes are summarized and explained. Recommendations are made to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the study for further research.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
Job performance - An action or execution of performing a job, task or duty required and viewed in the aspect of how successfully it is performed and accomplished. It can also be defined as a person's ability and actual effort in performing and accomplishing the tasks given.
Working adult-A person who is fully developed and emotionally and mentally mature, and actively engaged in a paid employment.
Work - A person's effort in physical or mental activities to accomplish the tasks or duties as a way to earn income in the paid employment.
Workplace - A place where an employee or self-employed person works regardless of building, premise or structure.
Organization - A group of people working together in an organized and systematic structure with a specific purpose.
Employer - A person or a firm that hires workers to work for the organization.
Employee - A worker who is employed and paid to provide labour for the firm.
Public sector - It can also be referred as state sector or government sector. The state or government deals with a part of the country's economy, such as productivity and goods and deliveryof services controlled by state/government.
Private sector - The non-public sector in which organizations arecontrolled by private shareholders or individuals.
1.9 Scope and Key Assumptions
This research project will mainly focus on the objectivesand findings of the study.The respondents consist of 200 working adults with different backgrounds in Peninsular Malaysia, mostly from Malacca and Kuala Lumpur. Data are collected through questionnaire surveys and other survey methods. It is assumed that the respondents will give their answers in a truthful and honest manner. Information regarding job performance, working adults and related organizations is obtained in an appropriate way. It is also assumed that all data and information obtained are reliable and applicable to current society.Opinions, suggestions and recommendations will be provided based on the results and findings of the research project. Consequently, it is assumed that this research project will be beneficial to all working adults and organizations.
To conclude, since the job performance of an individual worker affects the overall performance of his organization, employers should take action to improve his job performance to ensure that each and every member of the organization is not left behind. At the same time, organizations should be flexible in their plans and actions due to the rapidly changing work environment.