Perceived Records Management Practice and Decision Making among University Administrators in Nigeria

Article excerpt


Records management in developing countries, and indeed Nigeria is yet to attain the level of attention and support that it has received in countries of the developed world. All organizations, including the university systems, especially as nearly the entire product of administrative decision-making and service delivery are in the form of information. The records of an organization, such as the university system, constitute her corporate memory which supplement human memory and serve as guides for effective planning and decision making. Records are invaluable to university administration. Thus, in order to take advantage of past experiences, accurate records and good records keeping are the bedrock of planning for the future in the university system. Popoola (2000) stated that information and records management are the bedrock of business activity. If there is no information, the management is crippled in its planning and decision-making processes. Information is the factor input in achieving rational organizational decision-making and high quality service delivery. It is needed to develop, deliver and assess the effectiveness of organizational policies, make informed choices between alternative courses of action, provide the basis for openness and accountability, protect individual rights and enforce legal obligations

Despite the importance of records management in organizations, there are a lot of problems and constraints of records management in Nigeria. Ajewole (2001) stated that, the problem of records management is not with records and information per se but with those having interface and interactions with these two vital resources. The problems of records management can be summarized into inadequate knowledge of the life-cycles of records, inertia in implementing a form of system and information. He identified these problems in every phase of life-cycle of records.

Over the years, universities in Nigeria have consistently faced increasing complex organizational problems in areas such as resources maximization, staffing, procedural problems regarding planning, control and evaluation, information storage and retrieval (Longe, 1988). Nwankwo (1985) stated that modern educational system, like other modern social and economic systems have become increasingly complex. Educational institutions like the universities are not only facing complex managerial problems, they have become complex in themselves. The complexities of educational systems and their institutions, particularly in Nigeria and other developing countries, tend to be characterized by such phenomena as; student population explosion, diversities in the dimensions of programmes and procedures, inadequacy of funds and other material resources even in the face of inflation, conflicting models and policies adopted for implementation. At the core of the above bewildering list of complex variables is the problem of paucity of information as well as poor capacity for records and information management. The university provides education to the general populace catering for diverse fields of learning, ranging from the humanities, social sciences, arts, science and technology, medicine, law and education at different levels (postgraduate and undergraduate studies). The total enrolment in these universities ranges from 5,000 in the smaller universities to 30,000 in the larger ones and still growing. Various levels of activities are conducted in these universities ranging from ventures to academic and financial transactions. The general disposition of people, and especially office personnel, to have little regard for records has contributed to the poor state of records today in all of the nation's institutions of higher learning.

Popoola and Oluwole (2007) posits that Nigerian university administrators are often concerned about the alarming rate of misplacement or loss of vital records and the slow speed at which needed records are retrieved from their storage. …