The human facter in decentralizing management functions : the case of the University of Zambia
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This study investigates the extent of staff preparedness and willingness to participate in the implementation of the decentralized functions at the University of Zambia. It does so by means of questionnaires and interviews administered to teaching and senior non-teaching staff. The study also compares the level of decentralization in policy documents with what is actually operating in the units. The findings of this research show that most teaching and senior non-teaching staff have a good understanding of the objectives for the devolution of selected functions to units at the University of Zambia. They understand that decentralization was adopted and is being intensified to remove the management dysfunctions of centralization. They see decentralization as being aimed at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in education delivery in the University. On the question of the extent of staff preparedness to participate in the implementation of the decentralization, the research has found out that both teaching and senior non-teaching staff feel they do not always have the required competencies in carrying out the devolved functions. While the two categories of staff have overwhelmingly supported decentralizatipn as a management approach, they are not keen to participate in its implementation. The comparison of the level of decentralization in policy documents with what is actually operating in the units shows that there is no discrepancy between the two models. In the light of the findings of this research, the report has recommended that the University of Zambia should not make further decentralization until the institution has consolidated what is currently in place. To do this the University should, firstly, conduct skills training for its staff to empower them in the management skills in which they have acknowledged inadequacies. Secondly, the institution should initiate longitudinal studies aimed at making periodic checks on staff readiness and preparedness to participate in the implementation of the approach. The implementation of the findings of these studies will further consolidate decentralization in the institution. Thirdly, the University should regularly communicate to its staff the positive impacts of the decentralization on the management of the University. Communication of the success of the decentralization will motivate willingness in the staff to participate in the current and future devolutions.
- Education