Involvement of non-teaching administrators in participatory decision making in public universities in Kenya
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The participation of non-teaching administrators in decision making has become considerably minimal since the revision of the Universities Act in 1985. Non-teaching administrators are preoccupied with supply of information and consumption of decisions which top management make. The statutes of public universities do not adequately give non-teaching administrators representation in committees of councils and senates. Besides, non-teaching administrators in public universities in Kenya have not been an object of investigation by researchers in strategic studies. The purpose of the study was to investigate the extent of involvement of non-teaching administrators in participatory decision making in three public universities, namely; University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Demographic variables such as age, gender, academic qualifications, position and work experience were examined so as to determine if these variables influenced involvement of non-teachinq administrators in participatory decision making process. The attitude of the universities top management and that of the teaching administrators toward involvement in participatory decision making was also assessed. Against this background, six null hypotheses were formulated stating that there is no c::inr,ifir'~nt relationship between academic qualifications, work experience, position, gender, chronological attitude and the extent of involvement of non-teaching administrators in participatory making. The Brown's model of participatory decision making in college administration was opted in this regard. After purposively sampling three public universities, a descriptive research design collect data from the top management and non-teaching administrators. Through a pilot research instrument was validated and found to be reliable. The split half correction method Spearman-Brown Prophecy formula were used to test the reliability of both instruments found to be 0.79 and 0.96 for non-teachinq administrators and top management respectively high reliability coefficient was realized because the respondents perceived the questions the same way. The target population consisted of 189 top management and 682 non-teachinc administrators. Systematic random sampling was used to select two samples from the independent populations. The sample consisted of 126 top management and 246 non-teaching administration.The percentage of the top management who responded to the questionnaire was 246 non-teaching administrators, representing a return rate of 100%. Participation in decision making was measured in terms of attendance of meetings where major decisions are made. Attendance of meetings where decisions are made comprised sub-items such as types of meetings attended, free expression of views, perception of contributions being taken or not taken seriously and why, and the level at which non-teaching administrators participate in decision making. From the responses received, it was apparently evident that non-teaching administrators participate in decision making irrespective of their academic qualifications, age, work experience, position, gender and attitude. This was statistically tested and the contrary was true. The hypotheses of the study were analysed using frequencies, modes, median, percentages, cross tabulations and Pearson Chi-square. The Pearson Chi-square at a. .05 level of significance was used to test the six hypotheses. The Chi-square was used because it was the most appropriate statistical measure for statements of tendency. The results showed that there is a significant relationship between academic qualifications, work experience, position; and the extent of involvement of non-teaching administrators in participatory decision making. There was, however, no significant relationship between age, gender; and the extent of involvement of non-teaching administrators in participatory decision making. With regard to attitude, of the top management and that of non-teaching administrators towards the participation of the latter in decision making; no significant difference between the two was found. It was concluded from the findings that non-teachinq administrators and top management do not differ in towards participation in decision making.For committees, which advise on staff training in public universities. Work experience and position were also found to significantly predict involvement of non-teach administrators in participatory decision making. Arising from these findings, recommendations were made that a scheme of service for non-teaching administrators which incorporates a systematic policy on job description and staff training and career progression should be considered for implementation. Also a mechanism should be put in place which ensures that positions or functions are strengthened through proper delegation of responsibility and authority. There should be openness in the management practices of public universities so as to give a clear sense of direction for the achievement of mission and vision of these institutions. Above all, top management in public universities should involve non-teaching administrators in the process of participatory decision making. In conclusion, it is proposed that the study could be replicated but the use of other scales of measurements other than ordinal should be considered to find out whether there would be significant variations in the findings. Studies should also be conducted on the effects of inertia on strategic decision making in public universities.