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Original Author (Copyright Owner):

MADU, LAURETTE PHILOMENA NKEM

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The Project File Details

  • Name: ASSESSMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS APPLIED BY PRINCIPALS OF SCHOOLS OF NURSING IN THE SOUTH EAST ZONE OF NIGERIA
  • Type: PDF and MS Word (DOC)
  • Size: [683 KB]
  • Length: [240] Pages

 

ABSTRACT

Principals of schools of nursing are confronted with situations that involve a lot of communication.The aim of the study therefore was to assess the administrative communication skills of principals of schools of nursing in the South East Zone of Nigeria. Five research questions and 10 null hypotheses guided the study. A descriptive survey was adopted for the study and the 16 principals and 166 regular teachers in the 16 Schools of Nursing in the zone were used for the study, hence, no sampling. The instrument for data collection was questionnaire. The instrument was validated and found reliable following the reliability test using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. The reliability co-efficient on the principals questionnaire recorded 0.82 showing high internal consistency and that of the teachers recorded 0.94. The instrument was administered to the respondents directly. The data generated from the research questions were analysed using mean, while the null hypotheses were tested using ttest. Major findings include: the rating of the respondents indicated that the principals apply listening communication skills to high extent, except for item five which they apply to very high extent; the respondents believed that the principals apply non-verbal communication skills to high extent; they also indicated that the principals apply oral communication skills to high extent; the respondents accepted that the principals apply written communication skills to high extent; and, equally indicated that the principals apply feedback communication skills to high extent. The principals and teachers did not differ significantly in their assessment of the principals’ application of the listening and non-verbal communication skills while they differed significantly in their application of oral, written and feedback communication skills. There is significant difference in the extent prnicipals in small and large schools apply listening, non-verbal and written communication skills. Based on these findings and implications of the study, recommendations and areas for further studies were highlighted in this study.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAG i
APPROVAL PAGE ii
CERTIFICATION iii
DEDICATION iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v
ABSTRACT vi
TABLE OF CONTENTS vii
LIST OF TABLES x

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study 1
Statement of the Problem 11
Purpose of the Study 15
Significance of the Study 16
Scope of the Study 19
Research Questions 19
viii

Research Hypotheses 20
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 23
Concept of Communication 24
Process of Communication 33
Stages of Communication Process 37
Methods of Communication 40
Developing Communication Skills through
Speaking and Listening 47
Branches of Communication Study 49
Communication as Human Activity 50
Types of Communication/ Communication Flow 53
Organizational Structure and Communication 60
Relationship Between Formal and Informal communication
in an Organization 63
Communication Networks in Organization 66
Organizational Communication Behaviour 70
Barriers to Effective Communication 74
ix

Communication Competence/Communication skills 85
Administrative Communications Skills 89
The Principal and Communication 100
Qualifications, Duties and Functions of the School
Of Nursing Administrators 105
Ownership of Schools 110
School Size 110
Theoretical Framework of Communication 117

Social Penetration Theory 117
Uncertaity Reduction Theory 119
Relational Dialectics Theory 120
Information Theory 121
Symbolic Convergency or Symbolic Intrraction Theory; 122

Empirical Studies 125
Studies on Language Skill Acquisition 126
Studies on Written Communication 127
x

Studies on Non-verbal Communication 128
Studies on Organization Communication 131
Studies on Educational Administration 132
Studies on School Size 137
Study on Development and Validation of Administrative
Communication Skills Inventory 137
Summary of Reviewed Literature 139

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD 142
Research Design 142
Area of the Study 143
Population of the Study 143
Instrument for Data Collection 144
Validation of the Instrument 145
Reliability of the Instrument 146
Method of Data Collection 146
Method of Data Analysis 147

xi

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
Research Questions 149
Testing of Hypotheses 153
Summary of the Findings 160
CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSIONS 163 Discussion of Results 163
Conclusion 181
Implications of the Study 183
Recommendations 185
Limitations of the Study 187
Suggestions for Further Studies 187
Summary 188
REFERENCES 192
APPENDICES 207
A: Letter of Introduction 207
B: Instrument for data collection: 208

xii

Questionnaires for teachers 208
C: Questionnaire for principals 211
D: Population of Principals in the Nursing Schools
In the South East Zone 214
E: Number of States and Teachers in the
South East Zone Nursing Schools 215
F: Determination of Internal Consistency 216
G: SPSS Output of the Data Analysis 218

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Principals of schools of nursing are confronted with situations that involve
a lot of communication. How effective they become depends largely on their
ability to apply the appropriate communication skills in their daily interaction
with people. Coordinating the efforts of people towards the achievement of
objectives and goals in any establishment has administrative communication
skills as its main trust. Without communication there will be no good
organization. According to Adewale (2001), organization requires understanding
if it should achieve its goal. The office of the principal as the nerve centre of the
establishment deals with communication extensively. The aim of
communication is much more than the mere transmission of ideas, it must result
in the transmission of meaning that leads to action/s. Communication is a
complex process as it involves all the senses, experiences, emotions and
intelligence of people ( Beniger & Gusek, 1995). In fact, it is the totality of all
the things that one person does to create understanding in the mind of another
person.
2

The primary aim in school administration is the improvement of teaching
and learning process. Therefore, all the activities and efforts of the school must
be tailored towards employing adequate communication techniques. In order
that the school administrator achieves this, he or she must inevitably interact
with various groups and individuals within the school, community and with
people outside the school utilizing desired communication competence and
skills. It is likely that the rampant cases of unrest recorded in many schools of
nursing in the South East Zone may be blamed on the principals who may not
have addressed adequately, the various cases ranging from increased pressure
for candidates seeking for admission, to failure of Nursing and Midwifery
Council of Nigeria (N&MCN) to index all students presented to them.
According to Obi (2003), the principals must communicate effectively with their
subbordinates and students as well as the School Board ,and the appropriate
State and National Agencies. Chinweuba (2004) also asserts that the school
administrator must work with the Parents Teachers Association (P.T.A) and the
Alumni so as to make remarkable impact in the running of the school. The
administrator’s programmes and policies are often influenced by these people or
3

group with whom he/she is in constant interaction with just as his/her
administrative decisions affect them.They therefore need to be carried along.
For effective administration of establishments, communication is central
and a sine qua non. Hence, in the absence of effective application of
organisational communication, a vagary of individualistic and personal goals
may most likely mar the organisational objectives. This will inevitably result to
stagnation of activities of the teaching-learning process and reduced school tone
with resultant poor academic performance of both the students and the school.
Some schools in the South East zone have been sanctioned by placing embago
on their students intake because they failed to communicate effectively the
accreditation requriements to their respective propriators and concerned bodies.
Moris (1984) sees the principal as one occupying a very important
position in the school and who most of the time, has his/her mind brimming over
with ideas, questions, solutions, directives and plans. For the principal to be able
to communicate these ideas, directives and solutions, she/he must be familiar
with the basic communication skills so as to interact meaningfuly with every
body. Strother (1983) and Walker (1990) maintain that communication skills of
principals have been well documented as key to their success as administrators.
4

It is disheartening that some principals lack the most essential skills that would
make them effective communicators. Such principals in the South East zone ,
hardly pay attention when someone is speaking and are often impatient with
people that have difficulty expressing themselves. Hence, this category of
principals draw conclusion before thier interactant/s could land.This attitude is
simply unacceptable and is detastable to many people. The principals need to
be aware of how they are perceived by others. It is very necessary that the
principals become aware of their verbal and non-verbal communication and
realize that their approach towards communication should be situational holding
others in contemplation each time.
Adequate application of communication skills are imperative for
decision-making. The administrator that worth his salt should be able to define
problems, generate and evaluate alternative courses of action, implement
decisions, control and evaluate results formatively and summatively using the
right communication skills. The principal is the Chief Executive of the nursing
school and according to Ezeocha (1990) the principal is defined as the man in
the middle because she/he has to interact with all and sundry on a daily basis-
the staff, students, parents, benefactors, community and the state, national and
5

international officers of the system in question. The principal also interacts with
public and private organizations as well as law enforcement agencies. In all
these interactions, the principal has to establish rapport with all to promote
conducive atmospher necessary for effective communication.
The principal is expected to maintain a school climate conducive to
students’ achievement and learning, school growth, in addition to overseeing the
enforcement of school rules and regulations, as well as the meting out of
disciplinary measures when indicated (Ukeje, Nwagbara & Okorie,1992). Ani
(1999) maintains that students these days demand more careful handling while
Akubue (1997) aptly remarks that a good administrator should be able to
communicate with the students in any of their swinging moods. Each of the
situations, he argues, will necessitate the use of effective communication skills
like selection of adequate verbal or documented responses that can help defuse a
tense interaction or situation. The tone of voice set in each communication
situation goes a long way to establish the feeling for the entire institution and its
environment (Kelley, 1980). Some principals do not seem to realize that a
frustrated teacher who is having difficulty controlling his/her class will need a
6

different approach from an irate parent who storms the office demanding an
explanation why his/her son/daughter has been suspended or expelled.
The principal should always bear in mind that the school is part and parcel
of the community where it is located and so should endeavour to engender an
amicable rapport between the school and the community. The ugly incidence
that took place in one of the schools in Imo state betrays the principal’s poor
rapport with the locality. Communication with the Board of Governors,
Academic Advisory Board, P.T.A., Alumni and community leaders should be
open and cordial if an administrator wishes to make a significant impact in the
school as a whole. The activities of the indigens of one of the schools in
Anambra state during the accreditation exercise by N&MCN is rather
commendable. The community came to the assistance of the school because they
are often carried along in most of the happenings of the school.
Therefore, the principal’s manner of transmitting information is of
paramount importance. It matters a lot not only what a principal says but how
he/she says it (Akubue, 1997). In the school, information transmission has been
hampered by prejudice and bias emanating from the manner of transmission. If a
school administrator fails to control his/her emotions, language becomes a
7

vehicle of aggression and vindictiveness leading to a highly charged
atmosphere, which affects adversely the teaching and learning process.
Dimbleby and Burton, (1992) assert that the need to control ones’ networks in
school cannot be over emphasized. The principal does not necessarily have to
follow the bureaucratic chain of command but can make use of the more
effective methods or channels of communication for a particular situation.
Ikediugwu (2001) observes that the delay resulting from towing the long line of
bureaucratic chain leads to backdating of documents, which unfortunately is
prevalent in the educational system, and nursing education cannot be an
exception. In like manner, deadline is a common reference and the existence of
so many of them to be met by administrators, teachers, and others create time
pressures and constraints that affect communication negatively (Middlemist &
Hitt, 1981).
The number of people to communicate with at a time will most likely
determine the extent or degree of use of the various communication skills. For
instance, Meier (1996), as if in favour of small group says that small school size
encourages teacher innovation and student participation, resulting in greater
commitment for both groups. However, some principals do not believe that
8

number of students has anything to do with effectiveness in application of
communication skills. The alarming rate with which they overshoot the
approved quota per session betrays their belief.
However, the increasing number of students seeking enrolment into
schools of nursing presently, compels some erring principals in the South East
zone to admit as many as 500 to 700 students in a class despite the N&MCN’s
(N&MCN, 2004) stipulation of 50 students per session. Most of these students
end up spending six to seven years in the school because the Nursing Council
indexes only 50 students per school per session. The above situations obviously
breed discontent and could make it difficult for the principals to reach every
section of the school and interact on one to one basis with all. The principals in
such a situation find it difficult to pay attention when subbordinates or visitors
are speaking, respond in a more cautious ways to issues and give feedbacks
based on content and context of the subject under discussion. This is
compounded by the general observation that some principals in the schools of
nursing in the South East zone lack the competence to organize their thoughts
accurately and succinctly and to select appropriate alternative courses of action,
implement decisions, control and evaluate results formatively and summatively.
9

There is also the problem of students’ poor acquisition of the expected
skills when the number of students is such that supervision and control at
clinical demonstration is difficult owing to inadequate space to accommodate
the alarming number. A reasonable school size would make that application
easier. This goes to agree with the opinion of Bedeian (1980) and Betts (1981)
that the larger the organization, the less the likelihood of effective application of
communication skills owing to large number of teachers, students and others to
be reached. The problem with the above situation is that with utter disregard to
the policy on students’ intake, inexperienced principals may be so deluged with
pressure being mounted on them for admissions, mis-information and data that
they can neither absorb, reason nor respond to all objectively, and so they
simply screen out majority of the messages and consequently attend to them
half-harzardly. Nevertheless, some of the experienced schools of nursing
administrators in the zone have developed over the years good and stable
communication skills, thereby being able to confront difficult people and
problem situations in a more positive and constructive manner (Hendricks,
1989).
10

The administrator should be able to define feelings of happiness, anger,
displeasure, confidence and fear (Moorhead & Griff, 2001). This is only
possible where the principals are able to apply communication skills
appropriately and as situation demands. A Problem ensues if the school head
fails to know that she is communicating principally for information sharing
through which the institutional goals are defined and members given sense of
purpose and direction (Dostal, 2007).
Adequate assessment of the principals’ application of communicative
behaviours is imperative in this study. Assessment according to Oxford
Advanced Learners Dictionary is an opinion or a judgement about something
that has been thought about very carefully. According to Dossey, Guzzette and
Kenner (1992), assessment is a logical, systematic and ordered collection of data
used to evaluate a given phenomenon. Watson (2005) asserts that assessment
underpins the traditional careful planning approach of any process. All good
implementation starts with assessment which is a continuous process of
collection of data about peoples’ responses and concerns. In assessing, the
ACSP of nursing schools in the South East zone, the researcher was very
11

objective, noting things the way they are and checking their relevance to the
entire study aimed at fulfilling the vital need of the study.

Statement of the Problem
In any organization, like educational institution, where poor
communication exists, a lot of problems are generated for the administrator and
the entire system as a whole (Betts, 1981 & Obi, 1997). The principal, to reach
his/her audience, is ideally expected to be competent and skilful in
communication as he/she relates with all levels of groups and individuals.
Unfortunately, some principals exercise authoritarian type of leadership more
often, such principals tend to engage only in downward process of
communication; taking decisions alone, disregarding subordinates’ viewpoints
and scaring people away by their aloofness and superior airs which militates
against effective application of communication skills. When effective
communication is absent, the institutional goals and objectives would be
reduced to individualistic and personal goals governed by undue sentiments and
individual whims and caprices, characterized by poor feedback mechanism
which makes coordination of peoples’ efforts towards achieving organizational
12

goal and objectives, an uphill task.
The above inevitably results to stagnation of activities of the teaching-
learning process with reduced school tone as the principals become too
authoritarian. They utilize classical mode of administration and so arrange
schedules that mandate who is supposed to be where and doing what. They
ensure tight control over financial supply and dictate the curricula, goals and
means (Barth, 1991). According to Okeke (2004), most principals fall short of
the desired competence and skills and so communication gap of one form or the
other is created. In a situation where neither the teachers nor the students are
carried along, there is bound to be disorder and chaos. The principals stay in
their offices flouting the super-ordinates directives, for instance, some principals
exceed the admission quota by having as many as 500-700 students per session
thereby neglecting organisational regulations. It becomes impossible for such
principals to interact with the students effectively. Such principals are rather said
to be scaring people with their superior airs, dictating and circulating
programme of events and even the time table without involving those earlier
assigned with those responsibilities. The above action/s would invariably result
13

to negative attitudinal changes of many of the staff which quickly spreads over
to the students.
In such a scenario, some staff members may decide to sabotage the efforts
of the principal. Supervision and control of staff and students would be in
jeopardy and there would be gross ineffectiveness, reduced school tone with
resultant lawlessness and poor school performance. This kind of situation easily
creates gullible gap and gives room to click formation by the staff members
leading to unwholesome behaviour of one form or the other as have been
recorded in some schools of nursing within the South East zone. This could have
been the reason for the numerous cases of quarels, petitions and counter
pertitions between the tutors, students, parents, communities , and their
principals.
Hence, the problem of this study is, to what extent do principals of
nursing schools apply the various communication skills in thier schools?
Therefore, the need to assess the application of the administrative
communication skills of principals of schools of nursing became imperative so
as to find out the real situation in the communication skills applied by the
principals by ascertaining their level of listening skills, if they are able to resist
14

dominating discussion with others, pay attention when someone is speaking,
centre attention on the content of speech, exercise patience and give fair hearing
to all parties. Again, whether they observe non-verbal cues of others, give non
verbal messages/ signs that can be easily understood. To determine if they are
able to choose suitable environment when addressing subordinates with well
articulated ideas and feelings, concisely and briefly, choosing words naturally
followed with a summary. In addition, to ascertain whether they apply adequate
writing skills-by collecting needed information, reviewing draft for style,
purpose and audience before writing, organize routine for working on incoming
correspondence, prepare agenda and circulate minutes of meeting to paticipants
with well outlined ideas. Lastly, to observe their feedback skills, such as
insisting on feedback on circulated memos, working with deadlines, assuring
others that their inputs are valued and so encourage participants through
questioning without responding untactfully to emotion ladden situations but
acknowledges and respond to feedbacks positively, giving corrections to others
constructively before drawing conclusion/s, write reports to parents about their
wards for necessary recommendations and for improved communication by the
school principals.
15

Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to assess the administrative
communication skills applied by the principals of nursing schools in the South
East zone of Nigeria. Specifically, the study was designed to achieve the
understated objectives:
1. ascertain the extent of the application of listening communication skills by
principals of Nursing Schools in the South East Zone of Nigeria;
2. determine the extent of application of non-verbal communication skills by
principals of Nursing Schools;
3. ascertain the extent to which principals of Nursing Schools in the South
East zone apply oral communication skills;
4. determine the extent to which principals of Nursing Schools apply written
communication skills;
5. determine the extent of application of feedback communication skills by
principals of Nursing Schools;
6. ascertain whether principals’application of administrative communication
skills differ due to the status of the respondents; and
16

7. ascertain whether application of administrative communication skills by
the principals differ due to the school size.

Significance of the Study
The study on the assessment of the administrative communication skills of
principals will generally benefit many persons and groups of people. These
include principals of schools, supervisors, Management Boards, N&MCN, other
health institutions, staff and student nurses at large.
The result of this study will help generate valid data for adequate
assessment of the principals. The feedback value of the administrative
communication skills for principals will help them in making modifications
where they are deficient for improved performance via quality interaction with
all and sundry. The implications of the study will serve as a guide for self
monitoring of both the principals and prospective administrators of nursing
schools in the South East zone and those in Nigeria as a whole.
The study will inform in-service training of principals at state, zonal and
national levels of the N&MCN so that the incumbent and prospective principals
can learn and imbibe the skills even before assuming office. From the result of
17

this study, the Council’s officials will be able to see how far the Council’s
directive on adequate communication competence has been adhered to by
principals of nursing schools. Based on the findings, they may deem it necessary
to put more machinery in motion to ensure that principals exhibit the desired
communicative behaviour patterns. Hence, the effect of job experience and
population of students on the principals’ responses on the items of the
administrative communication skills (ACS) will guide the N&MCN on how to
develop, structure and organize administrative communication skills workshop
programs in order to derive maximum benefit for the various categories of
school principals in Nigeria. More importantly, given the findings of the study,
the N&MCN will be compelled to increase students’ intake per school per
session by 50%/1oo%.
The result of the study on administrative communication skills will be
used by Board of Management during recruitment and selection of potential
principals. The Board of Governors and all relevant authorities in the institutions
could use the reliable information resulting from the study in taking decision
about principals who will be promoted or need in-service training to update their
communicative and professional skills.
18

The result of the study could serve as a dependable and valid yard-stick
for assessing principals of nursing schools by supervisors and also form a
measuring guide for assessing the principals’ credibility and ability to exhibit
the necessary communication competence expected of their cadre.
The result of this study will also sensitize the teachers and students of
Educational Management and Policy who are prospective education managers
on the need to ensure adequate communication competence in their day to day
running of schools for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
The result of this study will be useful to other health institutions such as
schools of midwifery, psychiatric nursing and all post-basic nursing
schools/colleges. The prospective and current students will benefit immensely
from the findings of the study in the sense that all educational endeavours are
aimed at enhancing meaningful learning among the students. The improved
manner of passing and obtaining information from the students will surely affect
them positively. They will improve in their manner of interaction with
colleagues, clients/patients subsequently thereby improving the image of the
profession.
19

Consequently, the respective parents/guardians of these students will
benefit when their wards are given quality communicative treatment.
Invariably,there will be satisfactory academic standard in the schools with
consequent elevation of professional and academic competence of the products
of the schools. This situation will obviously go a long way in improving on the
services rendered tohealthcare consumers and the general public as improved
communication seriously promotes the ability to establish rapport with clients
and patients, and enhances professional image of the nurses to a greater extent.

Scope of the Study
The study focused on the assessment of administrative communication
skills of principals of schools of nursing in the South East zone of Nigeria. The
study is delimited to five aspects of communication skills, namely: oral
communication skills; non-verbal communication skills; written communication
skills; listening communication skills, and, feedback communication skills.
Hughes and Ubben (1994) opine that effective communication embraces all the
above aspects. The scope of the study also covers the school size.
Research Questions The following research questions guided the study:
20

1) To what extent do principals of nursing schools apply listening
communication skills?
2) To what extent do the principals apply non-verbal communication skills in
nursing schools?
3) What is the extent of the application of oral communication skills by
principals of nursing schools?
4) To what extent do principals apply written communication skills in nursing
schools?
5) To what extent do principals of nursing schools apply feedback skills in
their communication?

Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of
significance:
1. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of principals and
teachers on the extent nursing school principals apply listening
communication skills.
21

2. The mean scores of principals and teachers do not differ significantly on the
extent nursing school principals apply non-verbal communication skills.
3. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of principals and
teachers on the extent nursing school principals apply oral communication
skills.
4. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of principals and
teachers on the extent nursing school principals apply written
communication skills.
5. The mean scores of principals and teachers on the extent nursing school
principals apply feedback communication skills do not differ significantly.
6. The mean scores of the respondents on the extent nursing school principals
apply listening communication skills do not differ significantly based on
school size.
7. The mean scores of the respondents from small and large schools do not
differ significantly on the extent principals apply non-verbal
communication skills.
22

8. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of the respondents on
the extent nursing school principals apply oral communication skills based
on school size.
9. The mean scores of the respondents from small and large nursing schools
do not differ significantly on the extent principals apply written
communication skills.
10. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of the respondents
from small and large nursing schools on the extent principals apply
feedback communication skills.

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