The effectiveness of capacity building for water services delivery objectives in a municipal authority
Netshidaulu, Ahuiwi Emmanuel
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The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), as a sector leader and regulator in the water sector, embarked on an accredited training project to supply the municipalities with urgently needed water and sanitation treatment works skilled operators and supervisors. This addressed the identified need for skills/capacity development in the municipal water and sanitation treatment works operators. However, the ineffectiveness of capacity building that resulted within the municipal authorities was expected due to the lack of operators' aligned-commitment. The result is that municipal water and sanitation works operators fail to apply and further develop their knowledge gained from theoretical training received during capacity-building programmes. This study outlined the objectives, framework, methodology, literature review, empirical research and the recommendations of the study in which the effectiveness of capacity building for water services delivery objectives in municipal authorities was evaluated. The effectiveness of capacity building depends on the level of employees' commitment to the organisational practice. Theoretical training is not a cure-all for the employees' capacity building to improve their job performance and organisational effectiveness on water service delivery. This study focused on the water/wastewater works operators' information, recognition, and empowerment concerning their duties as being responsible for poor effectiveness of capacity building within municipal authorities for water service delivery. It also focused on evaluating theories and the nature of organisational and employee commitment emphasising alignment to commitment. Evaluating the level of employees' commitment to the capacity-building programme contributes to the further recommendations for developing a comprehensive plan for creating an effective employee (operator) capacity-building programme. Reviewed literature shows that, in modern organisations, more concern is being directed towards stimulating employees to enhance their job skills in an effort to ensure continual effective capacity-building training and highly committed employees. There seem to be several reasons why the topic of employee commitment receives attention when it comes to job performance. In this study, the focus has been firstly on the theories and nature of organisational and employee commitment, emphasising the alignment to commitment (aligned-commitment) and the elements constituting the aligned-commitment equation. The relationship between employee commitment and effectiveness outcome measures received attention, where the general assumption was that in organisational and employee commitment literature, job performance/job satisfaction induces motivation / commitment, and that the committed employee will be dedicated to greater work effort. Finally, a study was conducted as to the role of management in employee commitment, seeing that the role of management is the factor that underlies the commitment of employees/plant-operators. Considering the literature reviewed, the empirical data gathered from the survey of municipalities' operators in the Free State were statistically analysed and interpreted. A response rate of 64 percent realised. The factor analysis of items that measured aligned-commitment indicated that items for each factor (knowledge, information, empowerment, rewards and recognition, and shared vision) clustered in a satisfactory manner. The Cronbach Alpha Coefficient was applied to determine the reliability of the aligned-commitment measuring instrument (Section A of the questionnaire). Subsequently, it was found that the instrument was indeed reliable. From the inter-correlations between each factor of aligned-commitment resulted low to moderate inter-correlations. The findings of the study produced evidence that the levels of employees' aligned-commitment within the Free State municipalities' operators were weak, when benchmarking it to the commitment levels of the Coetsee model. The response indicated the greater extent existence of each factor in which shared vision constituted a higher percentage, while empowerment, and rewards and recognition constituted lower percentages. The correlation between participants' organisational commitment and aligned-commitment was also found to be very weak, where only 3.7 percent variance in organisational commitment could be explained by operators' aligned-commitment. Additional findings include the overall perception of the participants on the benefit of capacity-building training, showing it to be beneficial 'to some extent' and 'to a much greater extent'. Additionally, most of the participants regarded their supervisors as being able to identify and address the basic needs of the operators to improve work performance to some extent, and described the relationship between them and their supervisors as being neither good nor bad. In this study, employees' aligned-commitment levels explained variance in employees' job performance. To address this does not only require capacity building through training, which only provides knowledge, but engagement of practices resulting in all five elements of aligned-commitment as described by Coetsee. However, this study also suggests that high levels of employee job satisfaction will be present where employees' levels of education are low, irrespective of the level of organisational and/or employee commitment present. These suggestions offer additional opportunities for future research to establish the relationship among aligned-commitment, organisation commitment, and job satisfaction, comparing both findings from employees with adequate levels of education and employees with inadequate levels of education. Therefore, this study contributes to growing literature on the influence of aligned-commitment and organisational commitment on job performance and job satisfaction.