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THE EFFECT OF QUALITY OF WORK LIFE ON EMPLOYEES’ COMMITMENT ACROSS NIGERIAN TECH START-UPS

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET)
Volume 10, Issue 03, March 2019, pp. 41-59. Article ID: IJMET_10_03_005
Available online at http://www.iaeme.com/ijmet/issues.asp?JType=IJMET&VType=10&IType=3
ISSN Print: 0976-6340 and ISSN Online: 0976-6359
© IAEME Publication
Scopus Indexed
THE EFFECT OF QUALITY OF WORK LIFE ON
EMPLOYEES’ COMMITMENT ACROSS
NIGERIAN TECH START-UPS
*Osibanjo, A. O., Waribo, Y. J
Business Management Department, College of Business & Social Sciences, Covenant
University, Km. 10, Idiroko Road, Canaan Land, Ota, Nigeria
Akintayo, D. I
Osun State University, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria
Adeniji, A. A. and Fadeyi, O. I
Business Management Department, College of Business & Social Sciences, Covenant
University, Km. 10, Idiroko Road, Canaan Land, Ota, Nigeria
*Corresponding author
ABSTRACT
Qualify work life is an organizational phenomenon that benefits both employers
and employees alike. As such, research continues to focus on how to draw out
employee commitment, given quality of work life. Ranging from increased employee
productivity to balance between work life and family life, literature has it that
organizational goals become more achievable, if desired quality of work life is
provided by the employer. Nevertheless, little or no attention has been given to startups in terms of empirically carrying out studies to determine how quality of work life
influences employee commitment in them. In this paper, staffs of 10 selected techstart-ups located in Lagos have been surveyed using a questionnaire form. Four
hypotheses were developed with a sample data of 300 employees across the different
tech-start-ups. By carrying out a structural equation modeling and moderating the
relationship with gender and marital, it was observed that employee commitment is
largely influenced by quality of work life.
Keywords: Organizational commitment; tech start-ups; organizational goals; quality
work life; commitment.
Cite this Article: Osibanjo, A. O., Waribo, Y. J, Akintayo, D. I, Adeniji, A. A. and
Fadeyi, O. I, The Effect of Quality of Work Life on Employees’ Commitment Across
Nigerian Tech Start-Ups, International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and
Technology, 10(3), 2019, pp. 41-59.
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Osibanjo, A. O., Waribo, Y. J, Akintayo, D. I, Adeniji, A. A. and Fadeyi, O. I
1. INTRODUCTION
Work life quality or Quality of work life (QWL) and job commitment have become crucial
areas of interest in business and management research, particularly in relation to human
resource management, where there is an ever-increasing stakeholders’ interest, thus birthing
continuous research (Epie, 2009). This is attributable to the varying effects these separate but
interwoven areas have on organizations’ dynamic asset; the employees. As expected, every
employee in the workplace has defined obligations to perform, and expects the other
employees to do the same. More often than not, expectations are either not met or partially
met, posing serious challenges to workplace success and sometime negatively affecting
workplace relationships. As a result, there is a need to properly manage employee related
matters via the proactive management of QWL with particular attention to gender and marital
status in order to promote and sustain employee commitment. It is pertinent to note that QWL
and commitment are needed to facilitate the achievement goals within an organization; thus, it
is difficult for either of these two terms to successfully operate independent of the other. In
the context of this study, we refer to employee commitment as loyalty to the organization as a
result of the provisions made by the employer referred to as QWL.
QWL is not only important to the employee but also to the employer. It refers to the
deliberate and concerted effort made by the employer to provide room for employees enjoy
positive experiences at work which will ultimately evoke loyalty and personal commitment to
the organization. QWL comprises both intrinsic and extrinsic components which keep
employees happy and satisfied; thus, checking unethical practices. Successful implementation
of QWL programmes reduces or completely eradicates employee dissatisfaction and increases
employee commitment (Rethinam & Maimunah, 2008). QWL has generally been viewed by
several management and non-management scholars as a catalyst of organizational
commitment. As organizations take on their duty of providing compensation and benefit
packages that are perceived to be adequate for the promotion and sustenance of employees’
wellbeing, they portray the workplace congenial where employees are seen as having a good
experience; that ultimately improves the quality of personal life (QPL) (Normala, 2010). A
close look at this assertion reveals that some elements in the behavior and attitude of
employees could be traced to latent dissatisfaction with the provisions the employer has made
available to them. Consequently, quality of work life is sometimes adequate in theory but
inadequate in practice. This theoretical adequacy and practical inadequacy are a precursor to
poor employee commitment and deviant behaviour (Rethinam & Maimunah, 2008) which is a
problem that needs demands urgent solution.
The broad divergent views on the efficacy of work-life quality; theoretical adequacy and
practical inadequacy have caused several arguments in the past. While the former deals with
the proposed or expected purpose of work-life quality, the latter focuses on the efficiency,
congeniality and acceptance of work life quality by employees when evaluated to ascertain
the degree to which set goals are met. Thus, the major challenge or problem asserted by some
scholars is ensuring that QWL actually achieves the practical needs of employees; eventually
leading to improved employee commitment (Pallavi & Kulkarni, 2013). Where QWL
programmes fail to practically make employees’ life better, deviant behaviours comes into
play (Chan & Wyatt, 2007; Osibanjo, Falola, Akinbode, & Adeniji, 2015; Osibanjo, Salau,
Falola, & Oyewunmi, 2016). Apparently, deviant behaviors such as lateness, absenteeism
and other corrupt practices as well as exit intentions are areas that must be deliberately tackled
and put under control in order to give room to better commitment, increased productivity and
efficiency.
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The Effect of Quality of Work Life on Employees’ Commitment Across Nigerian Tech Start-Ups
2. LITERATURE
2.1. Quality of Work Life as a Concept
Subjective (status) and objective (monetary) indicators have been identified as the kinds of
indicators that point out the meaning of work-life quality (Blishe & Atkinson, 1978).
Subjective indicators explain psychological improvement while objective indicators are
physical indicators such as pay rise. Both forms of indicators are very important in QWL in
organizations as failure in any, will lead to poor commitment on the part of employees.
Generally, the employer has the responsibility of providing QWL experiences for employees
so that in turn their personal life quality is positively influenced (Normala, 2010) and personal
output within the organization increases. Kontz (2005) explained that as a compensation for
the dedication shown by employees to the organization, the employer should take the
responsibility of providing a good work-life experience. Employees generally expect to be
treated satisfactorily at work, when this is in place, loyalty and commitment comes naturally
(Asgari, & Dadashi, 2011). In contrast, employees must show traits that they are dependable
and must work towards high level efficiency, so that they get the confidence of the
organization and enjoy the gains accrued from operating ethically, devoid of behaviors
inimical to organizational success.
Researchers in the field of business and management have examined and defined worklife quality from varying backgrounds; among these are Adhikari and Gautam (2010) who
defined QWL as the satisfaction derived by the employee from his/her work life, the authors
stressed that when a smooth relationship exists amongst employees and their work
environment viz socio-economic and physical aspects, QWL is said to have been achieved.
Thus, employees are career development trainings, partaking in the processes that give rise to
organizational decisions, occupational safety and health, balance between work and family
life as well as work-based relationships. Bumin, Gunal and Tukel (2008) defined QWL as the
entirety of an individual employees’ wellness in terms of the opinions held by the individual
on health-related issues which ultimately influences the level to which the employee performs
at work. Hence, QWL is “the extent to which the personal and professional needs of
employees of an organization is met through the happenings in the organization”. QWL is
also seen as “an organizational phenomenon that seeks to understand employee total wellness
on the job, through carefully structured programmes for which every employee must
participate (Sirgy, 2007). In another way, QWL is the result obtained if an employee is fully
satisfied with work and other aspects of life which are distinguishable from work
commitments (Sirgy, Efraty, Siegel, & Dong-Jin, 2001). It has several dimensions and levels,
each with unique areas of satisfaction, which include non-work-related domain. The first level
classified high level is life satisfaction; the next is mid-level i.e., job satisfaction (workspecific factors such as pay) and a third level classified as low level (work relationships).
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living Conditions (2002) explained
that QWL is a made up of a number of parts with interrelated factors that include job
satisfaction, involvement and security; safety and health; motivation, competency
development and productivity as well as work-life balance. Walton (1975) formulated the
eight-component model for QWL, which is still a classic reference on the subject; these QWL
components include sufficient and fair monetary compensation; and the non-monetary
components such as current opportunities to develop capacities in employees, opportunities
for constant growth and security, safe and healthy working conditions, organizational
constitutionalism, work and total life space, importance of work life to society and
organizational integration.
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Chandranshu (2012) carried out a further improvement on the work of Walton (1975) and
developed twelve components of QWL which include growth and development in career,
employee’s commitment in organization, communication, flexible work arrangement,
emotional supervisory support, responsive family culture, motivation, good organizational
climate, organizational support, rewards & benefits, compensation and on-the-job satisfaction.
To get the best with respect to monetary aspects of QWL, pay must be at par with efforts,
even though fairness and adequacy are relative. Also, a functional performance management
system that rewards adequately must be in place; this will facilitate fairness and adequacy.
Adequacy reveals the need for periodic reviews of monetary rewards and implementation.
This will facilitate adequacy per time considering current socio-economic realities. Apart
from the aforementioned monetary and non-monetary components of QWL, Table 1
summarizes a further grouping of other components of QWL.
Table 1 Further grouping of the components of QWL
Factor
Intrinsic
Nature of work and employees’ power or strength
Job security, training, utilization of acquired skills, career
advancement, job satisfaction
Psycho-social
Importance of work life to society, Organizational integration
Trust in senior management, recognition of efforts, participation in
decision-making, organizational image, organization’s contribution to
society
Physical
Safe and healthy environment, Occupational health and safety, Level
of stress experienced at work, Work-life balance
Constitutional
protection of employees’ right, job security
protection of employees’ right, job security
Reference
Baba &Jamal, 1991
Watson, 1975; Guna &
Ismail, 2008; Stephen, 2012
Watson, 1975
Ellis & Pompi, 2002
Guna & Ismail, 2008
Watson, 1974
2.2. Employee Commitment
There seem to be no universally agreed definition of commitment. This is evident in the many
definitions from which similarities and differences are observable. While the similarities serve
as the essence of commitment leading to its definition, the differences highlight the forms of
commitment and the targets to which commitment can be directed – these include the team,
organization, supervisor, program, occupation, union and customer. One popular definition
refers to commitment as “the binding force that ties a person to an action course which is of
utmost importance and channeled towards a particular event (Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001).
Organizational commitment can be considered from two perspectives - employee and
employer; thus, the statement “be committed to your organization and your organization will
be committed to you” (Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982). Rajendran and Raduan (2005)
explained that organizational, career and work commitment are the types of commitments that
make up employee commitment.
Akintayo (2010) explained that the extent to which workers in an organization feels
devoted towards organizational progress is what encompasses commitment. Ongori (2007)
defined employee commitment as an emotional tie an employee feels towards the entirety of
an organization. Zheng, (2010) explained commitment as the attitude exhibited by the
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The Effect of Quality of Work Life on Employees’ Commitment Across Nigerian Tech Start-Ups
employee towards the organization. Explanation is broad considering that employees’ attitude
encompasses various components of commitment. According to O'Reilly and Chatman
(1989), employee commitment is "an employee’s way of being psychologically attached to an
organisation". The importance of commitment cannot be over-emphasized, infact increased
rate commitment on the part of employees will ultimately yield positive feedbacks for the
organization. In general, employee commitment is a pointer to employee performance (Ali,
2010; Ajila and Awonusi, 2004). The continuous dependence of organizations on committed
employees to achieve set goals is a major motivation factor for continuous research on the
subject of commitment (Akintayo, 2010; Tumwesigye, 2010; Osibanjo, Adeniji, Salau,
Akinbola, Falola and Akinbola, 2018)). Infact this group of individuals are valuable assets
and intellectual capitals to their organizations (Hunjra, 2010). Social responsiveness, style of
leadership (Lo, 2009), fairness practices within organization (Ponnu and Chuah, 2010), job
enrichment, employee empowerment and compensation (Ongori, 2007), educational level,
personality and position (Camilleri, 2002) are some of the already discussed antecedents of
employee commitment in literature.
For overall organisational commitment to be achieved, individual employees must
channel their efforts in the same direction. Arnold (2005) defines organizational commitment
as “an individual’s identification with and involvement in a firm”. Commitment can be
described as the act of an individual identifying with an organisation and its objectives with a
desire to retain membership of the organisation.
2.3. Components, Stages and Benefits of Organizational Commitment
Notable in the study of commitment are some underpinning theories that govern the subject.
The work of Meyer and Allen (1997) explained commitment as possessing three subsets and
employees fall into these three major categories; affective, normative, and continuance
organizational commitment. While affective commitment is directly linked to emotional ties
to the organization routed in effectiveness and efficiency at work, commitment in its
normative form is based on perceived reciprocal obligation to remain in the organization. On
the other hand, socio-economic cost consideration of exiting the organization defines
continuance commitment. Thus, employee outcomes such as turnover intension, performance
and attitude towards work have been predicted (Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch & Topolnytsky,
2002). Summarily, when these three levels are low, turnover intension is likely to be high and
vice versa. Organizational commitment can be measured by employees’ contribution level
(quality and quantity of output); compliance with organizational culture and belief; identity
with the organization and turnover intension. In terms of stages of organizational
commitment, three developmental stages have been identified, these are; compliance,
identification and internalization (O'Reilly, 1989); each connected to the different components
of commitment. At compliance stage, employees are calculative and mindful of the gain they
will get; thus, they accept being under the influence of others as long as they are assured of
personal benefits (O’Reilly, 1989). Important considerations at this stage include
remuneration and promotion, thus employees adopt attitudes and behaviors even when they
do not share in the beliefs of the organization.
At identification stage (connected to normative dimension) (Meyer & Allen, 1997) the
individual’s decision is to stay rooted in a sense of duty and loyalty to the organization. At
this stage the employee voluntarily subjects himself/herself to others to achieve a desire level
of association with the firm (O’Reilly, 1989). Here, there is a sense of pride to be identified
with the organization, as employees see their roles as a special identity with the organization.
Internalisation which is the third stage of organizational commitment is a function of
commitment in its affective form (Meyer & Allen, 1997). Here, employee finds intrinsic
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reward in the organization as organizational values are congruent with that of the employee.
The employee develops a rapport and passion; which are key reasons not to leave; thus,
employee commitment is founded on personal decision to stay. From the foregone, it can be
said that employee commitment can either increase or decrease with each degree having
specific identifiable characteristics that is determined by various factors that include jobrelated, personal and managerial factors as well as organizational structure.
2.4. Quality of Work Life and Employee Commitment
QWL is directly linked to employee commitment because they influence performance as well
as profitability and sustainability of the organization. When QWL initiatives are perceived
and accepted as adequate, employees are happy leading to increased motivation, strength and
commitment to the organization. Thus, they tend to contribute meaningfully to the
achievement of organizational goals, which confirms the assertion of Howard’s bet side
theory, which states that employees give more when they perceive that they will have
commensurate reward in return for their service. Employee acceptance of QWL further results
to visible operation of various levels of commitment as posited by the three component
models, which specify the levels of commitment. Conversely, the reverse is the case when
QWL is perceived as inadequate and unacceptable. When this situation arises, some deviant
behaviours (adverse outcomes) come in to play, which negatively affects performance as well
as corporate existence and sustainability (Osibanjo, Falola, Akinbode and Adeniji, 2015).
While high commitment level is linked to the affective dimension of commitment, it
entails accepting the values of the organizational and willingness to contribute meaningfully
to the achievement of corporate goals as well as identifying with the organization. Partial
commitment level is characterized by a fair or average degree of willingness to remain with a
firm coupled with partial acceptance of organizational objectives and values. Thus,
commitment here is said to be normative (Meyer & Allen, 1997). Furthermore, low employee
commitment level is linked to the continuance dimension (Meyer and Allen, 1997). In this
case, organizational objectives and values are not imbibed or accepted, there is an
unwillingness to contribute meaningfully to organizational growth. At this level, employee
stays just as a routine and possesses a high intension to exit as soon as an opportunity shows
up. At this point it is noteworthy that there are obstacles to employee commitment as well as
enhancers of same.
Certain factors are responsible for different responses to issues related QWL. They
include; individualism, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance as well as power distance.
While power distance has to do with individual opinion about accepting or rejecting
hierarchies of power, individualism is concerned with self as against collectivism.
Masculinity deals with emphasis on personal achievement and success at the expense of
relationship and care for the vulnerable; while uncertainty avoidance has to do with taking
personal risk and avoiding unpredictable situations (Hofstede, 1984). Another possible cause
of differing responses is individual employee differences such as age and other preferences.
Older employees seem to exhibit satisfaction with their jobs and pay than the younger ones
who seem to be highly mobile (Mathieu and Zajac, 1990). Individual preferences influenced
by status in an organization can also affect individual definition and acceptance of QWL even
in same cultural situations. (Hofstede, 1984). Management can enhance QWL and employee
commitment by the understanding and holistic application of relevant theories just as
concerted effort enhances QWL and commitment on the part of employees.
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2.5. Perceived Organizational Support (POS) and Employee Commitment (EC)
Studies based on equity theory have shown that organizational support (POS) enhances
employee affective attachment to an organization. This confirms the assertions of the threecomponent model. POS is the perception held by an employee on the commitment level of an
organization to its employees (Moorman, Blakely & Niehoff, 1998). POS, having been
defined as employee perception of organization’s commitment is important as it shows how
much employers value and acknowledge employees’ contribution towards the achievement of
organizational goals. Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) discovered that POS is linked to
fairness, which is connected to commitment ending up in employee affective attachment to
the organization. The study, which was carried out among different professionals, precisely,
high school teachers, brokerage clerks and police officers revealed a high positive relationship
between POS and attendance to work and performance. It is deducible that if POS is high,
employee affective commitment will be high and vice versa (Eisenberger, Huntington,
Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986).
In proving the link between POS and employee commitment, a questionnaire was
developed consisting 36 questions that represented employees’ position and expectation on
the subject. A to 0.97 reliability coefficient was observed (Eisenberger et al., 1986). Another
study carried out in a steel manufacturing plant proved the same; A significant and positive
relationship was found to exist between innovative support and affective attachment
(Eisenberg, Fasolo, & Davis-LaMastro, 1990). Using Eisenberger’s questionnaire, Stowers
(2010) conducted a study on 1500 army officers; the study found POS to positively relate to
the affective dimension of organizational commitment. From the foregone, it is evident that
POS affects employee affective commitment, their attitude and job performance as well as
organizational commitment on the long run. This is corroborated by Howard’s bet side theory.
2.6. Work-Family Conflict and Employee Commitment
It is a well-known fact that humans the world over have special attachment and commitment
to their families as asserted by the basic needs theory (BNT) that humans have three basic
needs among which is relatedness; in most cases first allegiance goes to the family while
frantic effort is made to maintain commitment to other relationships. Consequently, there is a
constant conflict between relationships or commitment as each struggle to get more allegiance
over the other; this goes for work-family relationship too. Work-family conflict can be
defined as the counter simultaneous pull or demand for allegiance or attention from work and
family of an individual. This pull from both ends creates pressure (Greenhaus and Beutell,
1985); thus, giving rise to distress and tension which people make effort to balance up as the
factors competing for commitment are both important.
One area where this conflict is observable is time spent for work and family related
matters; the time-conflict is serious, since concentrating on one will cause the other to suffer.
Of particular note is overseas assignments which makes families to move in part or in full;
thus, making adjustment difficult (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). Some studies show that
work-family conflict can adversely affect commitment; among these studies is one carried out
to examine how to improve health system among nurses. The study strongly suggested that
managers should deliberately work to improve work-family relationship because it has direct
bearing with low turnover intension as it was observed that nurses have had higher
professional commitment to the organization when they don’t have to worry too much about
family related matters (Russo and Buonocore, 2012). In a similar study carried out on army
officers and their families, it was found that organizational commitment is increased as workfamily relationship is improved; thus, both officers and their families show strong
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commitment to the army. (Stowers, 2010). Consequently, organisations are advised to
improve and sustain work-family programmes.
As earlier discussed, Chandranshu (2012) tested 12 QWL components he developed. It
was found that good QWL breeds organizational success and achievement of set objectives as
it has direct link with outcomes related to job. Examples include; turnover intension, tardiness
and healthiness, absenteeism as well as improved job performance (Wright and Bonett 2007).
It is asserted that management should identify gaps in quality of work life and adequately
bridge the same; not making gain s at the expense of the employee who are the organisation’s
assets (Abdeen, 2002) and sources for which the organization gains competitive advantage.
Thus, organizations are to provide good QWL to elicit commitment on the part of the
employees, which ultimately results in good job-related responses culminating in
organizational commitment. The research further divides the 12 components of QWL into
three broad groups of employee perception of high-quality work-life. These according to
Nadler and Lawler (1983) include; futuristic and professional orientation, relationshipsustenance orientation, as well as self-deterministic and systemic orientation. While the
futuristic and professional group concerns itself with career-wise growth and development,
flexible work arrangements, emotional-supervisory support as well as benefits and rewards;
the relationship-sustenance group bothers on on-the-job satisfaction, responsive family
culture, motivation, support and compensation within the organization; while the third group
concerns itself with organizational climate, emotional-supervisory support, communication,
organizational commitment.
Contrary to a general belief that employee commitment to QWL is mostly bound by
income, a research conducted by Arie, James and Arthur (2009) to ascertain globally accepted
areas of life satisfaction revealed four of life satisfaction (LS) areas and the global consensus
of the level of the impact of these areas. The four LS areas are health; income; daily or job
activities; as well as social contacts and family. On level of impact, social contacts and family
ranked highest, then job and daily activity; health, while income had the lowest impact.
Although this research was conducted both in the U.S and Holland, it is worthwhile
considering the result as it relates to the effect of QWL on employee commitment in our
environment with life satisfaction in view. Similarly, based on Richard E. Walton’s eight
component model, a study carried out precisely on total life space; found that respondents
called for improvement in work-family life balance and this was achieved. Since then, the
need to improve in this area has been a global concern to date (Lewis, 1997).
2.7. Marital Status, Gender and Employee Commitment
Islam et al., (2012) posited that gender and marital status have been researched to influence
commitment to a certain extent. In a study carried out on married and unmarried teachers,
Islam et al. (2012), found that teachers who already started a family with a spouse are more
committed to the organisation than their colleagues who are not yet engaged. The need for a
stable source of income was observed as the main reason for this result; thus, married teachers
remained committed to the organization in order to continue to fulfil their obligations to the
home. A similar study carried out in Bangladesh revealed that the percentage of married
employees who derived on-the-job satisfaction was more than that of those of unmarried
employees. The reason for this seems to be the need to meet up marriage-imposed
responsibilities. Hence, they are constrained to seek and stick to a steady job.
In the same vein, gender has been seen to affect employee satisfaction and commitment at
different levels within organizations and at different domains. Some studies opine that women
tend to show more commitment (Islam et al., 2012), while other studies support that men
show more commitment. These varying levels of satisfaction and commitment seem to stem
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from individual expectations of the two groups and their values as well as their assessment
criteria (Oshagbemi, 2000). It is observed that while women seem interested in socialization,
men are interested in influencing decision and supervision. However, in contrasting views,
another school of thought says that even though a relationship does exist between
demographics and commitment, it is insignificant (Meyer and Allen, 1991). From the
foregone, it is observed that while the studies cited had varying opinions on the components
of QWL and organizational commitment, due considerations has not been given to how
marital status and gender can moderate the relationship. As such, it can be said that there is a
gap in literature of QWL and organizational commitment as marital status and gender are
essentially crucial to an individual’s perception of QWL, which undoubtedly influences
attitude and work-related outcomes and ultimately affects organizational commitment.
Consequently, this study proposes carrying out further studies on how gender and marital
status influences QWL and organizational commitment.
2.8. Quality of Work Life and Employee Commitment: The Nigerian Perspective
Having discussed QWL and employee commitment from a global perspective, this section
briefly looks at QWL and employee commitment in the Nigerian context. This is important
because Nigerian employers and employees alike are becoming more aware of their work
environment with their rights and privileges as well as challenges arising therefrom.
Consequently, employees expect a balanced work and family life; the result of this desire is
that employees ultimately seek ways to survive and this inadvertently leads to various
reactions among which are demand for better conditions and strike action (Dada, 2006;
Fapohunda, 2013).
Fapohunda (2013) evaluated experiences of QWL and perceptions in four organisations in
Lagos, Nigeria with a total population of 300 employees. It was revealed that some employees
(34.2%) agree that they enjoy perceived organizational support. In terms of training men were
rated to have more training (32%) than women (20.6%) and so had the advantage of
occupying higher positions (21%) than women (13%) who were adjudged less committed
than. On intrinsic indicators of QWL such as on-the-job satisfaction and motivation, women
had more positive rating, while men did well on extrinsic indicators such as compensation,
reward and job security. Akanji, (2012) found that female employees suffer more with respect
to role overload as a result of the patrichial system that is prevalent in Nigeria; this system
puts more stress on female employees who contend with work-family conflict as they have to
effectively manage work and family responsibilities simultaneously. This is directly opposite
of the situation of their male counterparts whose work-family responsibilities are lesser as
they are generally seen as the bread winners and head of the family (Mordi, Simpson, Singh
&Okafor 2010). This socio-cultural system-induced situation inadvertently affects the
commitment level and height women attain at work; placing male employees in a better
position (Mordi & Ajonbadi, 2012). It is believed that female employees go through
occupational stresses of higher degrees due to the demand placed on them by their dual roles
in the family and workplace.
A study on Nigerian employees found the use of “coping strategies” as a means to work
place survival. Precisely, coping strategies include positive thinking, assistance seeking
strategy, avoidance/resignation strategy, as well as physical and psychological coping
strategies (Greenhaus& Powell, 2006). The study further revealed that employees possess and
exhibit cognitive survival and hardness traits which serve as psychological and physical
coping strategy. Thus, it can be said that Nigerian employees deliberately exercise self-control
in order to survive harsh organizational conditions. Assistance seeking is also quite common
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especially amongst female employees. Even though this strategy is sometimes successful,
when it fails, it often leads to more stress in the psychological and work facets.
2.9. Tech start-ups and tech hubs
Due to its slow-paced economic development, Africa has had to depend on international aids
for its development (Gameli, 2015). So far, the United Nation’s effort has helped build
entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at fostering technological growth, a panacea to sustainable
development. Gamelli (2015) further explained that tech start-ups in Africa has brought about
discussions on “Africa rising”, an opportunity for African nations to find their rightful places
on the world stage with respect to development. In Nigeria, tech hubs are becoming popular
with many of these small firms having started business after 2010. Popular among tech startups in Nigeria are Konga, Jumia, OLX, Jiji, Taxify, and Car45, all of which offer one
commercial service or another with employee base ranging from 10 to 50 persons.
According to Ogbari, Atolagbe, Adeboye, and Uzuegbunam (2017), Nigeria’s
technological revolution started unexpectedly but has so far given room to huge investment
opportunities, service improvement as well as human capital development. With all these
positive impacts that have been seen, it becomes imperative to look into the QWL offered by
these tech start-ups and the corresponding responses by employees in terms of commitment to
the goal of the firms. Generally, research into factors that determine employees’ base in startups has not gained popularity. As such, Mata and Machado (1996), stated that “even though a
lot of attention goes into creation of start-ups entrepreneurial businesses, the actual number of
employees needed for smooth running of most of these firms is often neglected” (pp.1306).
As a result, most start-ups are either over- or under-staffed leading to very low QWL.
Colombo, Grilli, & Delmastro (2004) explained that analysis that relates the determining
factors for the size of start-ups has not evolved. This problem therefore affects tech-start-ups
in Nigeria as employers are not often guided on the effective number of persons that will get
the firm’s day-to-day activities up and running. The result of this challenge is that employers
want to avoid recruiting too many hands, thinking that business may not actually thrive during
the early days of the business life. In situations where the business thrives beyond
expectations, employees are made to over-work resulting in efforts outweighing rewards. This
ultimately affects employee commitment negatively. On the other hand, some start-ups recruit
so many staff without effective business projections. This often leads to delayed salaries
especially in in cases where business fails to thrive as expected, particularly in developing
countries like Nigeria where the labor laws are not fully effective. In general, only a few
literatures on QWL and commitment in tech start-ups are in existence today. It is against this
backdrop that this study seeks to examine how QWL influences employee commitment, given
gender and marital status as controls
2.10. Conceptual model and research hypotheses
From empirical evidences as well as the foregoing discussion, this study has developed a
conceptual model to guide its findings. Figure 1 is a conceptual sketch for the current study.
In addition to the model, the following hypotheses have been postulated:
H1: Quality of work life in Nigerian tech start-ups is positively related to employees’
commitment
H2: Quality of work life in Nigerian tech start-ups is positively related to employees’
marital status
H3: Quality of work life in Nigerian tech start-ups is positively related to employees’
gender
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The Effect of Quality of Work Life on Employees’ Commitment Across Nigerian Tech Start-Ups
H4: Employees’ commitment in Nigerian tech start-ups is positively related to employees’
gender
Figure 1 Conceptual model
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
For progress in this study, data were gathered by the administration of instrument on the
employees recruited into randomly selected from 10 tech start-ups in Lagos, Nigeria’s
commercial hub. The sample was made up of employees from the service sectors.
Administration of questionnaires was carried out by the researchers after seeking permission
from their employees. Questionnaires pointed out the importance attached to anonymity of the
respondents and educational usage of results. 400 questionnaires were distributed, 375 were
retuned. However, only 300 of the questionnaires returned were useful for further analysis.
3.1. Instrument
Previous studies on QWL and employee commitment served as the basis for selection of
research instrument. Specific amendments were however carried out so that instrument suits
the ongoing study. Hence, this study made use of the scale proposed by Donaldson, Sussman,
Dent, Severson and Stoddard (1999) to measure the perception held by tech start-up
employees of QWL. For employee’s commitment, a 5-item scale developed by Weng,
McElroy, Morrow and Liu (2010) was used. Items were measured using a 5-point Likert-type
scale consisting of 1= strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree so as to show the extent to which
the different constructs agree. Table 2 shows question under each of the major constructs used
for this study.
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Osibanjo, A. O., Waribo, Y. J, Akintayo, D. I, Adeniji, A. A. and Fadeyi, O. I
Table 2 Further grouping of the components of QWL
5.
Quality Work Life
The tech start-up where I work provides a good
working environment for its employees.
I am happy at the tech start-up where I work
On-the-job assignments at my work place is not
stressful.
I get along well with colleagues at my place of
work
I have good supervisors at work.
6.
My job security is good.
1.
2.
3.
4.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Employee Commitment
I would consider spending the larger part of my work-life
with this firm.
I take on-the-job problems as mine.
Not quitting my job at the moment is stems from an internal
desire, which is quite important for me
Quitting my job at the moment is almost impossible for me,
even if I wanted to.
I do feel obliged to remain with my employer.
Regardless of whether it would be to my advantage, leaving
my job this moment is not the best of decisions.
3.2. Data analysis
Table 3 shows that the tech-start-up business is mostly controlled by females. They make up
54.3 per cent of the employee base across all the surveyed tech start-ups. Unmarried
employees represent only 41.3 per cent, while 58.7 are married. From table 4.1, it is very clear
that a large percentage of participating tech start-ups have recruited between 1-25 employees.
The research also shows that a large number of respondents worked with start-ups within the
service sector, which occupies 97% as compared to the 3% from the manufacturing sector.
This study makes use of the two-step approach i.e., model estimation preceding structural
relationship examination (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988). Study items (QWL, commitment,
gender and marital) were treated as first-order factors in alignment with a six-item scale for
QWL factor and employee commitment respectively. The researcher made use of LISREL
8.8, calculating model estimates by inputting covariance. Table 4.2 shows measurement
model results. Adjusted goodness-of-fit index values were given as 0.80 and 0.76
respectively, showing a marginal fit. In structural modeling studies, there is a chance that
inconsistences may affect both the GFI and the AGFI, this may be the result of the sampling
features (Hoyle & Panter, 1995). Hence to be sure of this, three other fit indices were been
checked in order to arrive at highly robust to sampling features (Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson
& Tatham, 2006). Examples include; Normed fit index, incremental fit index as well as root
mean square approximation. Values around 0.80 have been noted as showing adequate fit for
the incremental fit and the normed fit indices while values lower than 0.070 for root mean
square approximation (Bryne, 2001). Table 4 shows adequate fit for the different indices.
Table 3 Respondent’s demographic units
Marital status
Gender
Employee population
Tech start-up sector
Sub-construct
Married
Single
Total
Female
Male
Total
1-25
>26
Total
Manufacturing
Service
Total
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Frequency
176
124
300
164
136
300
203
97
300
9
201
300
Percentage (%)
58.7
41.3
100
54.3
45.7
100
67.7
32.3
100
3
97
100
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The Effect of Quality of Work Life on Employees’ Commitment Across Nigerian Tech Start-Ups
4. RESULTS
Coefficient alpha as well as reliability (composite) show internal consistency generated within
LISREL (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). Table 4 shows that, coefficient alpha and α-values both
ranged from 0.76 to 0.77. In LISREL, AVE is a measure of the variation captured by a
construct relative to the error in measurement as well as latent construct correlations. AVE
greater than 0.50 means that the construct is valid (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). Table 4 shows
that both constructs used in this study were found to be valid. In addition, considering a
significant value (p<0.05), item-loadings was found to be significant for each factor and
ranged from 0.01 to 0.04 for QWL, 0.02 to 0.05 for employee commitment.
Table 4 Result of administered instrument (1)
Descriptive
Statistics
Standard
Mean
Deviation
Research items
Employee Commitment in
tech start-ups
Perception of QWL held by
Employees of tech start-ups
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
6
2.09
2.02
0.62
0.71
Cronbach Alpha
Total
Items
.05
.04
.04
.01
.03
.04
.02
.02
.03
.02
.05
.01
C.R
Loading
s
A.V.E
α value
0.76
0.76
0.51
0.77
0.77
0.53
.04
.05
.02
.03
.03
.02
.02
.02
.01
.02
.02
.04
Table 5 Correlation of research items
Research items
Employee
Commitment
QWL Perceptions
Marital Status
Gender
Employee
Commitment
QWL
Perceptions
Marital Status
Gender
0.618
-
0.542
0.530
0.511
0.541
0.530
Thus, both constructs show individual convergent validity since over 50 percent of the
individual variance of each construct was shared with respective sub-construct. For the
computation of factors discriminant validity, the square of the parameter estimates between
QWL and employee commitment were verified to be sure these values were less than the
AVE (Fomell & Larcker, 1981). Furthermore, the researchers verified whether the researcher
checked whether constructs correlations was less than .8. Since correlation was found to be
generally high, the results were found acceptable (Hulland, 1999). Table 5 shows the
correlation carried out between the constructs. The aforementioned test carried out was to test
specific criteria for the constructs.
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Table 6 Structural Equation Modeling Results (2)
Path
Quality of work life in Nigerian tech start-ups is
positively related to employees’ commitment
Quality of work life in Nigerian tech start-ups is
positively related to employees’ marital status
Quality of work life in Nigerian tech start-ups is
positively related to employees’ gender
Employees’ commitment in Nigerian tech start-ups is
positively related to employees’ gender
Hypothesis
Coefficient (β)
1
0.091a
2
0.073a
3
0.066a
4
0.061a
4.1. Structural model results
As a first impression, this study found acceptable CFA measurement model fit resulting in the
verification of structural model fit, which is followed by a confirmation of the hypothesis
developed. With a recommended statistic of the structural model indices given as; χ2/df
=2.9612; GFI=0.93; CFI=0.98; IFI=0.98; NFI=0.97; RMR=0.49 and RMSEA= 0.080, the
model was adjudged sufficient as indicated in table 4.2, Path estimates show that the interrelationship between QWL and employee commitment is significant at p<0.05 and rightly
supports hypotheses 1-4. The main objective of this study was to ascertain the kind of
relationship that exist between QWL and employee commitment. As shown in the table,
hypothesis one is significant, implying that improved QWL will bring about higher employee
commitment. This study found hypothesis 2 to be significant as QWL and marital status share
a positive relationship. Here, it was found that married employees perceive that their
organizations (tech start-ups) offer quality work life activities. For hypotheses 3 and 4, both
QWL and employee commitment in tech start-ups were found to be positively related to
gender. QWL path coefficient for gender is significant and positive. It means that improved
QWL and employees’ commitment are a function of employees, gender.
5. DISCUSSIONS
This study aimed at understanding the influence of the perception held by tech start-ups
employees of QWL life on the level to which they are committed to the job. The study posited
four hypotheses put forward for onward testing. Data was gathered from employees of 25
different tech start-ups randomly selected within Lagos, Nigeria. Overall, the study found that
the four hypotheses were significant. It is noteworthy to state that employees of tech start-ups
in Lagos perceive that QWL is largely related to their commitment. However, it was found
that QWL impacted more on gender than it impacts marital status. It implies that tech startups considered gender before they considered marital status. Although this study did not
consider whether male of female employees perceived better QWL or were better committed,
it was overall observed that QWL positively impacts employee commitments in tech start-ups
in Lagos State, Nigeria.
5.1. Managerial Policy Implications
A look at the discussion on QWL and employee commitment thus far shows that both Walton
(1975) and other referenced scholars agree on some points and differ in opinion on others.
Howbeit, organisations must make deliberate effort to identify and address specific areas in
order to gain and retain employee commitment. Firstly, start-ups and other organisations must
increase organizational support for their employees as it relates positively to affective
commitment dimension of organizational commitment (Stowers, 2010). This enhances
employee overall commitment level, their attitude and job performance on the long run as
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The Effect of Quality of Work Life on Employees’ Commitment Across Nigerian Tech Start-Ups
corroborated by Howard’s bet side theory. Secondly, management should address employees’
needs specific to gender and age groups so as to ensure that every employee benefit from
QWL. Furthermore, organizations should pay more attention to the implementation of worklife balance by ensuring that work-family conflict is reduced, if not completely eliminated.
This will reduce work related stress and promote good work-related outcomes among
employees who are the organisation’s assets (Abdeen, 2002) as well as sources by which the
organization gains competitive advantage in a changing business environment (Akintayo,
2010; Tumwesigye, 2010).
It is noteworthy to stress that attention must be paid to relevant principles and theories
needed to achieve improve employee commitment in start-ups. Examples include the
expectancy theory, which emphasizes employees’ quest for remuneration and benefits to be
commensurate with effort in order to be satisfied, motivated and give their best to the
organization (Greenberg, 2011). Employers must not lose sight of the influence of bet-side as
they move towards better rewarding organization or regulate effort to match pay. Thus, to
gain and retain employee commitment, QWL should be robust and attractive as well as
tailored to meet the needs of the diverse workforce whose reward expectations vary, in this
way, employees will be motivated and committed to achieving organizational success (Wright
and Bonett 2007). In general, organizations must deliberately evoke employee commitment to
remain relevant in an evolving business environment.
6. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
So far, it has been observed that Nigerian employees endure so much to keep both work and
family roles going successfully even in the face of perceived inadequacy of QWL; thus, it is
safe to say that QWL may not automatically translate to true organizational commitment;
rather true organisational commitment is contingent on individual decision rooted in ethical
and personal considerations. Conclusively, it is needful to increase organizational support
through improved QWL as it directly affects organizational commitment and employee
performance as well as profitability and sustainable growth of a business. This way, the
chances of leaving the vital tool (commitment) required from the organisation’s asset
(employees) will be reduced. As a result of the observations gathered so far, the following
suggestions are put forward:
1. Perceived organizational support (POS) must be increased in organizations if they are
to gain and retain continued employee commitment and excellent performance.
2. Organisations should work towards reducing conflict borne out of poor work-life
balance by implementing strategies that will allow employees remain effective outside
the work place
3. QWL should address specific areas such as gender and age to ensure that all category
of employees is adequately catered for. Periodic review of the efficacy of QWL
scheme in place should be carried out considering the prevailing socio-economic
realities.
4. Organizations must always have ethics and organizational justice as their watchword
in determining QWL initiatives and its administration.
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NOTES
(1)
Scores: 1 – Strongly disagree to 5 – Strongly agree. C.R.: Composite reliability; AVE:
Average variance extracted.; Measurement model fits: χ2/df =1.8501; GFI=0.80; CFI=0.86;
IFI=0.86; RFI=0.84; NFI=0.85; NNFI=0.86 and RMSEA=0.070
(2)
Structural Model Fits: χ2/df =1.8501; GFI=0.80; CFI=0.86; IFI=0.86; RFI = 0.84;
NFI=.85; NNFI= 0.86 and RMSEA=0.70. aSignifcance level: p < 0.05; sSignificance level: p
<. 0.01.
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