Work Environment and its Influence on Productivity Levels among Extension Officers in the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya


From a broad perspective, a work environment can be defined as the location in which a task is performed. However, from an employment perspective, the work environment entails the physical geographical location of the job as well as its immediate surroundings (typically the tools and equipment required for the performance of the different tasks required for the job, work processes and procedures, quality of the air, noise level and any additional perks). As known, the work environment in an organization plays a crucial role in determining the productivity levels of its workforce and the organization’s ability to sustain these productivity levels and retain its workforce and may determine, how well the employees get along with the organization, the employees’ error rate/s and level of innovation and collaboration with other employees, levels of absenteeism, and ultimately, the duration of time the employee choose to stay with the organization. The purpose of this study was to determine how productivity levels among extension officers in the Ministry of Agriculture, Kilifi District have been influenced by their work environment. This was a case study which sought to identify the effects of the work environment with an aim of opening doors for further research on the same and recommending strategies for addressing the problems to ensure that the country (Kenya) becomes (once again) self sufficient in food production.

At the time of the study, there were a total of 45 extension officers in Bahari District, which had just been annexed from Kilifi District. Due to the small number of officers, a census was done and all officers involved in a focus group discussion for triangulation purposes. This is because it was only through a census that more comprehensive and accurate information could be gotten. The data collected was analyzed for any causal- effect relationships, correlations and variances, by use of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), and the results presented in pie charts and tables to give a picture of the research findings at a glance. The findings on how the work environment influences extension officers’ productivity in the Ministry of Agriculture showed that extension officers feel that their work environment is not conducive to provide for job enjoyment and consequently enable them become productive in their work. It is thus safe to conclude at this point that, an overwhelming majority of the extension officers in the Ministry of Agriculture are not satisfied with their work environment, citing lack of sufficient work infrastructure, a large work area and a poor supervision system as their main reasons for dissatisfaction with the general work environment.

Key Words: Extension officers, Agriculture, Work Environment, Employee Productivity

Peter Mutua Mutia, Damary Sikalieh, Ph.D