Research Article: 2020 Vol: 26 Issue: 4S
David Imhonopi, Covenant University
Abaye Friday Igbadumhe, Covenant University
Community service has been acknowledged as one of the core responsibilities of academics in higher institutions, along with research and teaching engagement. This study examined predicting role of job security and academics’ community engagement of selected universities in Southwest Nigeria. The study adopted both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection that involves the use of questionnaire and interview as research instruments for data collection. A total of 545 questionnaires were retrieved from the faculty of six selected universities in this study and six senior academic staff (one each from the selected universities) were involved in an in-depth interview for qualitative data. Overall, the relationship between perceived job security and community service engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions was confirmed to be directly significant. It was recommended that deliberate effort should be made by the university management to create sense of job security among academics, in order to enhance their desire for community engagement.
Job security, Community Service Engagement, Academic Staff Universities.
Universities are increasingly being recognised as major agents of knowledge and innovation generation which are critical drivers of economic growth and development. There is currently a strong global advocacy for inclusive development, and universities are consequently realigning their teaching and research missions to embrace community engagement as a means of creating knowledge that engender inclusiveness (Ahmed et al., 2015; Adekalu et al., 2018).
According to UNESCO (2009), higher institutions are expected to create mutually beneficial partnerships with communities and civil societies to facilitate the sharing and transmission of appropriate knowledge. One of the core responsibilities of academics in higher institutions is active participations in community service (Awwalu & Najeemah, 2014). Community service is a medium through which management of Universities respond to community needs and development of host community, through academics’ engagement. It also serves as a strategy that focuses on the career and human capacity development of faculty member in the universities (Neuman 2000; Metha et al., 2015).
Studies regarding community engagement among academics indicated that those who engage in community service are more likely to experience professional and personal growth (Kogan & Teichler, 2007; Adekalu et al., 2017). This is because through community engagement service, faculty members are able to have the knowledge and experiences, and practical skills required for career growth, competencies, development and professionalism.
However, in the African context and particularly in Nigeria, the passion and involvement of community engagement of academics has been greatly affected due to lack of institutional supports and perceived lack of job security. According to Mustapha & Zakaria (2013), lack of academic staff involvement in community service is due to perceived lack of job security. Similarly, Akpan, (2013) stated that job security was assured among academic staff in the past, which means that lecturer could not be dismissed from their job arbitrarily. This gave academics a sense of job security. However, in recent time, the job security of university staff is consistently under serious threat. This left a spell of fears in the minds of some academic staff resulting to lack of patriotism and feelings of allegiance towards their universities, hence lack of interest in community service engagement (Akpan, 2013 & Waribo, et al., 2020).
This paper therefore, examines how perceived job security affect academics’ community engagement. Most of the work on academic staff engagement has been based on teaching and research output. Little or no research has been carried out to examine how perceived job-security of academic staff members, particularly in Nigerian universities affect academics’ community work engagement.
H0: Perceived job security does not affect community service engagement of academic staff in the selected Institutions.
Concept of Job Security
Job security is employees’ expectation of continuity in a job situation. It is an essential factor in employees’ engagement. Mohd et al. (2015) defined job security as the degree to which an employee could expect to stay in the job for over an extended period. Studies show that job security is negatively related to employees’ intention to quit an organisation (Meyer & Smith, 2000; Allen et al., 2003). Samuel & Chipunza (2009) found job security as a significant contributing measure in employee retention in public and private organisations. Same authors reveal that job security is a reflection of the organization’s commitment to employees, which enhances employees’ commitment to the organisation in return (Meyer & Smith, 2000, Fadeyi et al., 2019).
Lucky et al. (2013) argued that the higher the level of job security for an employee, the less intention it is for employee to quit. It is an important issue for most employees in many organizations. According to Dhanapal et al. (2013) Low job security in an organisation increases employees’ intention to quit. Masri, (2009) points out that job security is a significant factor that influences job satisfaction and takes the turnover intentions away from employees' minds. McKnight et al. (2009) argued that the relationship between job security and employee intentions is mediated by job satisfaction. Cross & Travaglione (2004) stated that employees who feel secure at their jobs would have less absenteeism and turnover intentions. Das & Baruah (2013) in their study, revealed that job security is significantly related to employee retention. In other words, for the employee to perform at an optimal level as required by the employer, job security plays a significant role. The focus of this paper is to examine the extent to which perceived job security could affect community engagement.
Community engagement as a concept is applied in different context by practitioners. There are several definitions and interpretations of the concepts in the literature. (Ifedili & Ifedili, 2015). In this paper, it is important to first understand the term community and then engagement. Communities refer to those specific, local, collective interest groups that participate, or could potentially participate, in the community service activities of a higher education institution (Onwuemele, 2018). In the above definition, the term community is seen as made up of local groups which may be entire community or a subgroup within a community. In this paper, the term communities represent the immediate environment in which the university is located (Weerts & Sandmann, 2008). Community engagement therefore is defined as initiatives and processes through which the expertise of the institution in the areas of teaching and research are applied to address issues relevant to its immediate environment.
There are three conceptual models that have been developed to explain and analyse the patterns of university community service engagement. The first of these models is the Silo model which emphasises the fact that universities have three core responsivities – teaching, research, and community service (Onwuemele, 2018). The silo model however, sees community service engagement as a separate and predominantly voluntary activity for the academic staff. The silo model conception of university community engagement as voluntary activity that gives little or no motivation to academics to engage in community service.
The second model is the intersection model of community service engagement that also sees the university as having three responsibilities – teaching, research and community service but acknowledges that there is intersection in the three core responsibilities or functions. It observed that where these roles intersect, there will be Service-Learning and some form of community-based research. Where there is no intersection, community outreach and volunteerism continue as separate activities (Onwuemele, 2018). This approach views community engagement as part of the primary responsibilities of a university. However, this model of university community engagement cannot bring about a sustainable university community interaction, most especially when only one of the parties is benefiting from the interaction. This occurs when there is no intersection among the three roles of academics in the university.
The third model is the infusion model which sees higher institutions as having two fundamental responsibilities teaching and research output. However, it sees community service as infused into the teaching and research processes (Moore & Ward, 2010: Onwuemele, 2018). The third model of community engagement is referred to as the "community engaged institution". This approach regards community service as the overriding goal of higher institution, arguing that it should be embedded within the core responsibilities- teaching and research functions.
In this way, the benefits and outcomes of institutions community service accrues to both the university and immediate communities. It is important to state here that the infusion model of institution community service holds the key to a sustainable institution community interaction since both parties in the engagement benefits from the entire process (Adekaluet et al., 2018). These benefits serve as a source of motivation for the two parties to continuously participate in the community service shows in Figure 2.
The study adopts both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection that involves the use of questionnaire and interview as research instruments for data collection. Also, the study involved descriptive research design and convenience sampling technique. Out of five hundred and eighty-three (583) copies of questionnaire distributed among the faculty of six (6) selected universities, five hundred and forty-five (545) copies were retrieved (Shows in Figure 1) and analysed using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) -Partial Least Square (PLS. The survey questionnaire designed for this study is made up of three parts. Part A consists of questions requiring respondents to answer about their background. Part B comprises of questions related to job security; part C consists of questions regarding community engagement. Academics were required to indicate the level of agreement by ticking 5 to 1 where 5= strongly disagree 4= Disagree 3= Neutral 2=strongly agree 1 = Agree for each of the respective statements. To complement the data that was obtained through the questionnaire, in-depth interview was conducted with six senior academics (two each) from the selected universities and were purposively selected.
Five hundred and forty-five (545) copies of questionnaire were usable out five hundred and eighty-three (583) distributed among the faculty in the studied university in Nigeria. The demographic profile of the respondents is as shown in Table 1.
|Table 1 Demographic Characteristics of Respondents|
|Age||20 – 38 years||132||24.2|
|39 – 54 years||249||45.7|
|55 – 73 years||164||30.1|
|Present Academics’ status/ Cadre||Professor||83||15.2|
|Year of Teaching Experience||0-3 years||4||0.7|
|16 years and above||173||31.7|
The Table 1 Presents results of frequency distribution based on demographic characteristics of respondents. Regarding respondents’ gender, the total number of respondents was five hundred and forty-five (545). From this number, one hundred and forty-two (142: 26.1%) respondents were female, while four hundred and three (403: 73.9%) were male. The implication of this is that there are more male academic staff than the female staff and this suggest that the male are more likely to be involved in community engagement. Regarding respondent’s age, the findings as presented in Table 1 reveals that from 545 respondents that participated in the survey, 132(24.2%) were 20 years-38 Years, 249(45.7%) were within the age bracket of 39-54 Years, while 55(164%) were 55 years and above. High responses of 164% were received from age 55 and above which indicates that majority of the respondents fall within the higher cadres. The years of teaching experience was also sought by the researcher. The findings revealed that majority of respondents have spent seven years and above, which suggests that most of them have acquired much experience in teaching, research and community engagement.
Table 2, shows the mean and standard deviation of each item for Job security and Community service engagement on the research instrument across the six selected Universities in Nigeria. The mean represents average that measures central tendency while standard deviation measures the extent of variation compared to mean. The standard deviation roles states that if the ratio of the standard deviation to mean is greater than 1, it indicates high variation compared to mean but if it is less than 1, it suggests a low variation compared to mean.
|Table 2 Mean Scores for Job Security and Community Service Engagement|
|I have sense of job security in this university||4.18||4.18||3.89||3.95||2.52||2.88||3.6|
|This university policy guarantees job security||4.16||4.18||3.81||3.93||2.35||2.52||3.49|
|I can stay in this university as long as I want to stay||4.22||4.21||3.78||4.07||2.3||2.44||3.5|
|The level of job security in my institution is satisfying||1.99||1.99||2.61||2.31||3.52||2.83||2.54|
|The university’s policy on job security is cleared to everyone||3.92||3.89||3.59||3.7||2.41||3.02||3.42|
|Average mean for Job Security||3.69||3.69||3.54||3.59||2.62||2.74||3.31|
|Community Service Engagement|
|Community advocacy involvement||3.53||3.51||3||3.15||3.8||3.65||3.44|
|Public lecture outside University||3.08||3.17||3.16||3.03||3.02||3.21||3.11|
|Interaction with outside university community||3.3||3.27||3.39||2.95||3.67||3.71||3.38|
|Involved in community service project||3.8||3.73||3.15||3.41||3.87||3.73||3.62|
|Social group Involvement||3.44||3.39||2.92||3.12||3.78||3.5||3.36|
Measurement Model for the stated Hypothesis
Both structural and measurement models were considered for data analysis. For the measurement model, all items are reflective, R2 and the minimum acceptable value for a factor loading is 0.60 (Fornell & Larcker, 1981), and remarkably, all the constructs have values higher than 0.60. Few items that have a factor loading less than 0.5 were removed, and the results are presented in Table 3. The structural model measures path coefficients (R2) values and significant values. Boots strapping method finds the significance relationship (Vinziet et al., 2010; Sanchez, 2013). Results showed that selected institutions sampled had almost the same opinion. The hypothesis formulated thus:
|Table 3 Factor Loading for Perceived Job Security and Staff Community Service Engagement|
|AVE||Cronbach's Alpha||No. of Indicators|
|Indicators||> 0.6||< 0.5||≥ 0.8||≥ 0.5||≥ 0.7|
|Perceived job security (PJS)||0.819||0.6444||0.7417||5|
|Community Service Engagement||0.8365||0.7132||0.8379||5|
H0: Perceived job security does not affect community service engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions.
The hypothesis has one exogenous variable (Perceived job security) and one endogenous variable (community service engagement of academic staff). The coefficient of determination/ rsquared, path coefficient (β value) and T-statistics value, effect size (ƒ2), the predictive relevance of the model, and Goodness-of-Fit (GOF) index were the core standards for evaluating the structural model as presented in Figure 3. All the research variables have been measured using a structured questionnaire with a five Likert scale. The perceived job security, which is the latent variable was measured with five items while community service engagement of academic staff was measured with five items as shown in Table 3.
The items adapted for measuring perceived job security include; high sense of job security, university’s policy fosters job security, ability to stay as long as possible, satisfactory compliance to job security policies and the clarity of job security policies.
Table 4 depicts the structural equation modelling of the stated hypothesis with standardised estimates that indicates the influence of perceived job security (PJS) on community service engagement of academic staff (CSE). It must be noted that factor loading depicted in Table 4 for all the items of perceived job security (PJS) were above the minimum threshold of 0.60 and as well statistically significant at 0.05 level of significance as suggested by (Fornell & Larcker, 1981; Newkirk & Lederer, 2006).
|Table 4 Path Coefficients for Perceived Job Security and Community Service Engagement of Academic Staff|
|Variables and Cross Loading||Path Co-efficient
|High sense of job security #q1 à Academic Community service engagement||0.293||0.09||2.424||0.02|
|High sense of job security #q1 à Academic Community service engagement||0.211||0.08||2.467||0.01|
|University’s policy fosters job security #q2 à Perceived job security||0.214||0.08||2.712||0|
|University’s policy fosters job security #Q2 à Academic Community service engagement||0.158||0.07||2.274||0.02|
|Ability to stay as long as possible #q3 à Perceived job security||0.257||0.09||3.497||0.02|
|Ability to stay as long as possible #q3 à Community service engagement||0.183||0.06||3.291||0|
|Satisfactory compliance to job security policies #q4 à Perceived job security||0.186||0.05||2.351||0.02|
|Satisfactory compliance to job security policies #q4 à Academic Community service engagement||0.137||0.06||2.092||0.04|
|Clarity of job security policies #q5 à Perceived job security||0.21||0.1||2.467||0.01|
|Clarity of job security policies #q5 à Academic Community service engagement||0.159||0.06||2.282||0.02|
|Perceived job security à Academic Community service engagement||0.706||0.07||6.834||0|
|R Square (R2)||R Square (R2) Adjusted|
|Perceived job security à Community service engagement of Academic staff||0.499||0.487|
Fornell and Larcker (1981) recommended the threshold for all the scales and measurement items. First, the factor loading must be above the minimum threshold value of 0.70. Second, the construct composite reliability must be equal or greater than 0.80. Third, the construct average variance extracted estimate (AVE) must be above the minimum threshold of 0.50. Finally, the Cronbach Alpha must be equal or above 0.70 for the instruments to be reliable.
From the table above, it can be depicted that all the constructs of perceived job security and community service engagement of academic staff have values higher than 0.80 and 0.70, which means that they have composite and Cronbach Alpha reliability respectively. The factor loadings for the specific measures of construct ranged between 0.631 and 0.817. The instrument is adjudged reliable and valid since all the requirement for the degree of fitness were satisfactorily met. None of the items had a factor loading less than 0.7 and the results of the inner structural model are presented in Table 4.
This hypothesis predicted that perceived job security, which comprised High sense of job security, university’s policy fosters job security, ability to stay as long as possible, satisfactory compliance to job security policies and the clarity of job security policies significantly and positively influence community service engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions. The path co-efficient affirmed that high sense of job security #q1 indirectly and insignificantly influence community service engagement of academic staff (β=0.293, f2=0.211, p <0.05). The indirect influence of the fairness of job security policy was significant on community service engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions #q2 (β=0.214, f2=0.158, p <0.05). Ability to stay as long as possible #q3 also recorded a positive and significant impact on community service engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions (β=0.257, f2=0.183, p <0.05). Satisfactory compliance to job security policies #q4 significantly influenced community service engagement (β=0.186, f2= 0.137, p<0.05) while clarity of job security policies #q5 have significant influence on community service engagement (β=0.210, f2=0.159, p <0.05). Overall, the relationship between perceived job security and community service engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions is confirmed to be directly significant with a beta value of 0.706, which also indicates a strong degree of association.
The path coefficient and bootstrapping of all constructs indicates significant relationships in the analysis at 0.05. The model found insignificant path co-efficient between high sense of job security and community service engagement of academic staff (β=.211, Tval=2.467, p=02), fairness of job security policy and community service engagement of academic staff (β=0.158, Tval=2.274, p=0.02); Ability to stay as long as possible and community service engagement of academic staff (β=0.183, Tval=3.291, p=.00); the relationship between satisfactory compliance to job security policies and their community service engagement was also observed (β=0.137, Tval=2.092, p=.04); and finally, the relationship between clarity of job security policies and community service engagement was insignificant (β=0.159, Tva =2.282, p=0.02). Hence, all path coefficients were of practical importance since the significance level is below .05. The result suggested that high sense of job security have the highest beta value among the constructs that best predict community service engagement of academic staff; while satisfactory compliance to job security policies had the least value.
Specifically, the path analysis and bootstrapping based on the selected universities was also developed to ascertain and assess how perceived job security influences community service engagement of academic staff of the selected institutions in Nigeria. This showed high predictive and explanatory power of the structural models and path analysis for perceived job security and community service engagement of academic staff based on institutions (shows in Figure 4).
Figure 4 Path Co-Efficient and P-Values for Perceived job Security and Community Service Engagement of Academic Staff Across the Selected Institutions
Table 5 shows that the perceived job security of selected federal universities had the topmost path coefficient of β=0.351 compared to the β values of other selected state and private universities in the model, which showed that it had a greater value of variance and high effect with regard to community service engagement of academic staff. Whereas, the perceived job security of selected private universities had the least effect on community service engagement of academic staff with β=0.164. In view of this findings, the null hypothesis (H0) which indicates that perceived job security does not significantly have combined effects on community service engagement of academic staff of selected institutions was rejected.
|Table 5 Institutions Based Path Coefficients for Perceived Job Security and Community Service Engagement of Academic Staff|
|Variables and Cross Loading||Path Co-efficient
|Selected Federal Universitiesà Perceived job security||0.423||0.07||4.742||0|
|Selected Federal Universities à Community service engagement||0.351||0.08||3.591||0|
|Selected State Universities à Perceived job security||0.34||0.08||4.082||0|
|Selected State Universities à Community service engagement||0.303||0.07||2.665||0|
|Selected Private Universities à Perceived job security||0.209||0.08||2.509||0.01|
|Selected Private Universities à Community service engagement||0.164||0.06||2.334||0.01|
Above all, the results established that perceived job security is a significant predictor of community service engagement of academic staff of selected institutions. By implication, this means that management of selected private universities needs to develop appropriate strategies to give academic staff sense of job security. In that way, they would be motivated to get involved in community service engagement.
In line with quantitative findings, the qualitative method was also adopted through the use of interview sessions to validate the influence of perceived job security on community service engagement of academic staff. The interview session focused on areas that were not captured in the questionnaire. When asked about the extent to which academics are involved in community engagement, some of the respondents have the following to say:
I must say that when it comes to community engagement as part of academics’ core responsivity, the consciousness is not really there as much as teaching and research functions as academics’ core responsibilities. Here in this university, the focus is more on teaching and research with less emphasis on community engagement (Private university 2020)
“Community service is very important in any university community. This is because the essence of research is not just to produce and arrange it on a shelf, and allow it to be gathering dust; it should have a positive impact on the community. However, I don’t think we (academics) are doing enough of it the focus is more of research because is tied to promotion” (Federal University 2020)
Actually, community service is one of the core responsibilities of academic staff, but I think the motivation is what is lacking. Some of us don’t even see the benefit of being involved in community service” (state University 2020)
In view of the above findings, it can be inferred that most academics in the selected universities focus more on teaching and research output with less emphasis on community service engagement. In view of the above, it was important to identify the likely factors affecting community engagement among academics. The responses to the question, what are the barriers to academics’ participation in community service engagement? Provide an understanding to the barriers that obstruct community engagement activities among academics in the selected Universities. These include; benefits gap, lack of funds, time constraint, perceived lack of job security. In this case, the respondents provided an understanding to the barriers that obstruct community engagement activities among academics in the selected Universities.
“To me, the missing link is clear benefits of community engagement to academics’ career development, unlike that of research output and teaching engagement. I think that is a huge hindrance to community engagement outreach” (Federal University 2020)
“The problem with community engagement is that not all academics are aware of its relevance. The fact that is one of our core responsibilities does not mean everybody knows its benefits and how to go about it, and I think it affects the collaborative work between host community and university” (Private University 2020)
“I think the gap is linking research to community service. Many faculty members do not possess the experience necessary for community service. I think that is where the main problem is” (Private university 2020)
“For me, I think fund is the problem because not every university can really afford to sponsor community projects and it impedes faculty involvement. You know money is needed especially for creating awareness” (State University 2020)
Regarding the perceived influence of job-security on community engagement, one of the respondents has this to say;
“Yes I think perceived lack of job security could be a factor, as it tends to affect the motivation of academics to be involved in community service engagement. However, lack of perceived benefits of being involved in community service may be a major factor why most of us are not involved in community service” (state University 2020)
Even though a number of factors were identified as limiting academics’ involvement in community service, it was revealed that lack of perceived sense of job security could also affect their level of community engagement in Table 6.
|Table 6 Development of Themes for General Objective|
|Participants from selected universities||Response Codes||Categories||Themes|
|Fed 1||§ Lack of clear contribution(s) of community engagement to academics’ career progression||§ lack of clear impact of community engagement on academics’ progression||§ clear purpose of community service|
|Fed 2||§ Lack of sponsorship||§ required experience for community engagement|
|§ Lack of need experience for community engagement||§ sense of job security|
|Private 1||§ Lack of awareness of community engagement as academics’ core responsibilities||§ Lack of fund on the part of university management||--|
|Private 2||§ Many faculty members do not possess the experience need for community development service||§ Perceive sense of job security||--|
|State 1||§ Lack of fund on the part of the university to sponsor community development project||--||--|
|State 2||§ I think fund is the problem because not every university can really afford major community projects||--||--|
|§ Yes! Perceived lack of job security could be factor||--||--|
In developing themes for the research objective, key words from the excerpts of each respondent were extracted. The key words form the response code, and it was done in order to identify the most relevant viewpoints. As such, response codes were generated from all the participants regarding the study objective. Also, categorisation was done in order to group concepts having similar meanings. The process of categorisation streamlines several similar responses codes into groups to further come up with the most occurring concepts. Finally, the most reoccurring concepts becomes the themes for the objective. Therefore, the themes that came up are: clear impact of community service, required experience for community engagement and sponsorship for community engagement as revealed in the table above.
The relationship between perceived job security and community service engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions was confirmed to be directly significant with a beta value of 0.706, which also indicates a strong degree of association. The result suggested that high sense of job security have the highest beta value among the constructs that best predict community service engagement of academic staff; while satisfactory compliance to job security policies had the least value. In the same vein, the analysis showed that the indicators of exogenous (perceived job security) variable substantially explain 49.9% of the variability of community service engagement of academic staff of selected universities. This hypothesis predicted that perceived job security which include high sense of job security, university’s policy fosters job security, ability to stay as long as possible, satisfactory compliance to job security policies and the clarity of job security policies significantly and positively influence community service engagement of academic staff of selected universities. Hence, the alternate hypothesis (H1) was strongly supported.
Similarly, the study show that perceived job security of selected federal universities had the topmost path coefficient of β=0.351 compared to the β values of other selected state and private universities in the model. This confirmed with the study by Maneno, (2018) substantiating that academics in private institutions are challenged with job security. This outcome agrees with findings by Markos and Sridevi (2010), Majidi, et al., (2008) and Das and Baruah (2013), where there were conclusions that job security has significant effect on employees’ job engagement.
The relationship between perceived job security and community engagement of academic staff in the selected institutions was confirmed to be directly significant with a beta value of 0.706, which also indicates a strong degree of association. The findings show that perceived lack of job security has direct positive effect on community engagement of academic staff of selected universities. Hence the following recommendations:
1. University management should encourage selfless performance and a sense of patriotism within the university with the objective of promoting sense of organisational citizenship behaviour. This will in turn encourage academics to be involved in community engagement.
2. Management should invigorate the awareness and consciousness of community service as part of the core responsibilities of academics.
3. Deliberate efforts should be made by government and management of universities to encourage communitybased research work.
4. Universities should recognize community engagement activities as may performance criteria for academic promotion and recommendation for awards.
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