Evaluation of the Performance of Management Package (PMP) in the Zambian civil service
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This study was aimed at evaluating the Performance Management Package (PMP) in the Zambia civil service. More specifically, it examined the key elements of the PMP and its implementation and attempted to determine the extent to which work plans and targets have been established and were adhered to in the Zambian civil service. The linkages between performance appraisal and the application of rewards, sanctions, training and skills development were also explored. In order to do so, a stratified random sample of 236 civil servants drawn from three ministries (i.e. Agriculture and Co-operatives, Local Government and Housing and Finance and National Development) and two government institutions (i.e. Cabinet Office and the Public Service Management Division) were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. In addition"to this were two members of the Performance Improvement Team (PIT) at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (where the team was found to be in existence). For these two PIT members at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing an unstructured questionnaire was administered so as to get more qualitative data. The results presented in this study show that although the PMP launch, briefing meetings and installation workshops had been carried out in the sampled organisations, no further work had been done to ensure that every employee had a work plan to follow and targets to achieve against which their performance could be evaluated. This was mainly due to inadequate financial and physical resources, on the one hand, and lack of visionary and committed leadership to continue with the PMP implementation, on the other. In addition, the government has never conducted a review of the PMP implementation in the ministries and institutions. Similarly, although 78 percent of the respondents had work plans created for their jobs only slightly over half of them (i.e. 55.5 percent) claimed that their work plans were completely followed or adhered to. The main reasons cited for the failure to adhere to work plans were poor funding, increased workloads due to manpower shortages and the absence of strict follow-ups by managers to ensure that work plans were being followed. As regards performance appraisal, slightly over half of the respondents (i.e. 53.8 percent) had the view that the IV PMP had introduced or helped put in place a more objective annual performance appraisal system (APAS). Furthermore, the study also found weak linkages between APAS and the application of rewards, sanctions, and training and skills development in the civil service today. As a result of this, the majority of the civil servants interviewed (i.e. 58.5 percent) argued that the administration of the performance appraisal system in the civil service today was just a matter of routine and served very little purpose. The study noted the absence of any reward or incentive schemes and sanctioning mechanisms in the organisations visited that are required to effectively manage performance. Therefore, as a way forward, the government can, among others, adopt the following measures to improve the implementation of the PMP: reduction of the five-step implementation strategy to make it more cost effective and easy to apply; provision of financial and physical resources at all levels of the PMP implementation process; introduction of a PMP implementation monitoring and evaluation mechanism; development and implementation of a clear rewards or incentives policy; resolution of the current dilution of authority over human resources and its management in the civil service; educating all civil servants on performance management and its importance.