International Journal of Sports Science and Physical Education
Volume 1, Issue 1, August 2016, Pages: 10-16

Job Performance Measurement of Physical Education Graduates in Private Fitness Centres and Municipal Sports Organizations

George Kipreos1, Stylianos Kaprinis1, Anastasia Perrea2, Vasilios Kakkos3

1Department of Sport Management, University of Peloponnese, Sparta, Greece

2Physical Education Teacher in Primary School, Athens, Greece

3General Secretariat of Sports, Athens, Greece

Email address:

(S. Kaprinis)
(G. Kipreos)

To cite this article:

George Kipreos, Stylianos Kaprinis, Anastasia Perrea, Vasilios Kakkos. Job Performance Measurement of Physical Education Graduates in Private Fitness Centres and Municipal Sports Organizations. International Journal of Sports Science and Physical Education. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2016, pp. 10-16. doi: 10.11648/j.ijsspe.20160101.13

Received: July 6, 2016; Accepted: July 15, 2016; Published: August 3, 2016


Abstract: Human resources performance evaluation is a useful management tool in order for an organization to prosper, to be competitive and to achieve its goals. Business operation, effectiveness, growth and profitability depend on the employees’ conduct and performance. Especially in service providers such as fitness centers and sport organizations, job performance is a critical and decisive factor which contributes to the success of the organization. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the job performance of physical education graduates who are employed in fitness centers and municipal sports organizations. 320 physical education graduates were evaluated, 146 of whom are employed in private gyms and 174 in municipal sport organizations. Regarding the sex of the participants, 144 were men and 176 were women. The evaluation of fitness trainers took place in 42 private fitness clubs and 28 municipal organizations. The evaluator was a person with a clear picture and view of the performance of the employees such as fitness managers, supervisors of the municipal programmes "Sports for all" and private fitness clubs owners. In order to evaluate the performance, a Multifactor Job Performance Assessment Model of employed physical education graduates was used, which assesses personality traits, professional attitude, cognitive development, leadership skills, general and specific job performance with the help of six questionnaires,. The validity and credibility of the questionnaires have been sufficiently proven. The Multivariate Analysis of variance (MANOVA) pinpointed that physical education graduates who are employed in private fitness centers show higher levels of extraversion, emotional stability and openness to new experiences while they develop more positive interpersonal relationships compared to their colleagues in municipal sports organizations. Moreover, private fitness centers employees are more intensely oriented towards lifelong learning, creating a vision and intellectual stimulation. Finally, they do better in fields such as planning, organizing and teaching sports programs and also in providing comprehensive quality services to their customers.

Keywords: Job Performance, Evaluation, Fitness Trainers, Fitness Centers, Municipal Sport Organization


1. Introduction

The health and fitness industry has shown significant growth around the world in recent years, since according to a report by the International Health Racquet & Sports Club Association [1], in 2014 more than 180.000 fitness centers were active worldwide, they offered their services to more than 140.700.000 members and their profits reached 84 billion $. In Europe, the fitness industry includes almost 50.000 fitness centers with 44.900.000 members while profits reach 32.900.000 $. In Greece, despite the difficult and uncertain financial environment, more than 850 gyms are active, with 35.000 members and profits that reach 257.000.000 $ [2]. The aforementioned numbers confirm that the fitness industry is extremely competitive and therefore in order for a fitness club to survive, maximum performance of staff and managers is necessary [3], [4]. Human recourses are the most powerful productive factor in every business. The employees’ knowledge, skills, ideas and talent are the comparative advantage for a business which cannot be duplicated [5], [6], and [7]. Therefore the study, the analysis and the evaluation of job performance of physical education graduates are crucial and decisive factors for the prosperity and competiveness of a sport organization [8]. On the whole, the evaluation of job performance, according to Kaprinis, Kipreos, Vrondou & Kakkos [9], pinpoints the current level of performance, provides the employee with feedback, highlights the strong and weak points of those who are evaluated, encourages and promotes job performance, traces training needs and provides a basis for rewards.

However, despite the apparent beneficial and developmental character of performance evaluations, longitudinal European studies [10-16], have shown that in countries such as Russia, Sweden, Serbia and Iceland, less than half the businesses adopt evaluation systems in opposition to France, Britain, Switzerland and Holland where, on the whole, organizations have incorporated some human resources evaluation methods. In Greece, while performance evaluation has significantly increased in recent years and it has become an indispensable tool of Human Resources management, especially in ‘successful’ businesses, the same does not apply in small and medium size businesses where evaluation is usually informal, oral and arbitrary and is restricted to the simple managing of work issues and human resources [12].

Especially regarding service providers, such as gyms, human resources performance is essential since the role of fitness trainers is multidimensional as they are called upon to perform many different roles such as that of teacher, trainer, supporter, nutrition advisor, active way of life coach [17]. Moreover, fitness trainers’ efforts to supply high quality services in order to satisfy the customers’ needs reinforce the customer-oriented strategy of the organization and they increase the commitment of sports consumers to reuse the services [4,19,21]. The gym employees, who adopt customer orientation as a personal and business priority, significantly affect the reputation of fitness centers [4], [22]. MacLean [8] claims that fitness trainers’ performance evaluations are necessary for managing a sport organization because this way, the quality of human resources performance is examined and the orientation towards the customers and their satisfaction is explored. Chelladurai [3] pinpoints that sport organizations provide ‘high’ human contact professional services, while Leblicq, Van Hoecke & De Knop [23] add that trainers who are employed in gyms affect significantly the quality of services by being constantly in touch with the customers. The closeness of interpersonal relationships between sports consumers and fitness trainers is a very important factor of a profitable programme and has an immediate impact on the customers’ behavioral loyalty [24]. Quality physical education trainers are extremely popular with sports club members [25].

However, as mentioned earlier, small and medium size businesses do not implement a human resources evaluation system or they perform informal, oral and arbitrary job performance assessment [15]. But government organizations are not generally considered to be a model for management, since Public Administration falls short of adopting evaluation methods and measurement [26]. In particular, regarding Greek Public Administration, Spanou [27] points out that there is inadequacy in management, non-implementation of evaluation systems as well as inefficiency of administration services. Public organizations in the 21st century must integrate performance evaluation methods for their human resources quickly [28].

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the job performance of physical education graduates who are employed in municipal sport organizations and private fitness centers.

2. Methodology

2.1. Sample

For the purpose of this research, three hundred and twenty physical education graduates (Ν=320), of which 144 were men (45.0%) and 176 women (55.0%), were evaluated. One hundred and forty six of them (45.6%) were employed in private fitness clubs, while one hundred seventy four (54.4%) in municipal sport organizations. The participants’ age ranged from twenty one (21) to forty nine (49) years old (Μ = 32.3 SD = 6.28) and their work experience from one (1) to twenty three (23) years (Μ = 7.89 SD = 5.37).

2.2. Measurement

In order to assess job performance, the Multifactor Job Performance Assessment Model of employed physical education graduates was used [29]. The battery consists of six questionnaires which evaluate the employee as follows: [a] Personality Description Scale (19 items), [b] Job Behavior Assessment Scale (11 items), [c] Cognitive Development (10 items), [d] Leadership Scale, (10 items), [e] General Job Performance (10 items), [f] Job Specific Performance [based on Job Analysis] (18 items). Each question is answered on a 5 point Likert-type scale from 1 to 5, where 1 corresponds to ‘Very Poor’, 2 to ‘Poor’, 3 to ‘Average’, 4 to ‘Good’ and 5 to ‘Very Good’. The structural validity and reliability of the questionnaires have been adequately proven [30], [31].

2.3. Distribution Process

The questionnaires were distributed to fitness managers, supervisors of the municipal programs "Sports for all", and owners of private fitness clubs. These people, on the condition that they had a clear view of the employees’ performance, assessed physical education graduates. There was one assessor for each sport organization. The evaluation of the physical education graduates’ performance took place in 28 Municipal Sport Organizations and 42 Private Fitness Centers.

2.4. Statistical Analysis Methods

In order to analyze data and form results, a simple descriptive analysis, a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) and a t-test analysis for independent groups were employed. In the analyses which showed a significant value for indicator F, post hoc comparisons employing Tukey’s test were performed in order to pinpoint the groups that create the greatest differences.

3. Results

Table 1. Means (Μ) and Standard Deviation (SD) for the factors in the Multifactor Job Performance Assessment Model of Physical Education Graduates.

Factors of Scales Private Fitness Clubs Municipal Sport Organizations
  M/SD M/SD
1. Personality Description Scale    
Extraversion 16.36 (2.78) 15.56 (2.79)
Agreeableness 16.50 (2.53) 15.89 (3.31)
Conscientiousness 15.69 (3.13) 15.29 (3.35)
Emotional Stability 11.58 (2.24) 11.06 (2.35)
Openness to Experience 14.99 (3.57) 14.01 (3.61)
2. Job Behavior Assessment Scale    
Interpersonal Relationships 25.12 (3.55) 24.09 (4.54)
Communication 11.45 (2.16) 11.32 (2.16)
Professionalism 8.64 (1.33) 8.40 (1.57)
3. Cognitive Development    
Cognitive Status 16.09 (3.16) 14.95 (3.29)
Lifelong Learning Orientation 22.46 (4.35) 20.93 (5.51)
4. Leadership Scale    
Intellectual Stimulation / Vision 11.73 (2.29) 10.89 (2.49)
Management Skills 24.96 (6.07) 23.91 (6.65)
5. General Performance    
General Job Performance 40.47 (7.26) 38.93 (8.71)
6. Job Specific Performance    
Design & Organization of Sports Programs 16.24 (2.89) 15.00 (3.52)
Teaching of Sports Programs 20.31 (3.28) 19.16 (3.99)
Customer Services 17.93 (4.23) 16.36 (4.94)
Managing Materials & Resources 15.38 (3.43) 14.68 (3.33)

3.1. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA)

The results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) for the factors of the Personality Description Scale, highlighted the statistically significant differences between employees in Private fitness clubs and their colleagues in municipal sport organizations regarding the factors (1) of extraversion (F2,317 = 6.538, p<.05, η2p = .020), (2) emotional stability (F2,317 = 4.11, p<.05, η2p = .013) and (3) openness to new experience (F2,317 = 5.83, p<.001, η2p = .018), (figure 1).

Figure 1. Bar graph of the differences in the personality traits between employees in Private Fitness Clubs and Municipal Sport Organisations.

The results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) for the factors of the Job Behavior Assessment Scale pinpointed statistically significant differences between employees in Private fitness clubs and their colleagues in municipal sport organizations regarding the development of interpersonal relationships (F1,318 = 4.902, p< .05, η2p = .015), (figure 2).

Figure 2. Bar graph of the differences in the Job Behaviour Assessment scale between employees in Private Fitness Clubs and Municipal Sports Organisations.

The results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) for the factors of Cognitive Development showed there are statistically significant differences between employees in Private fitness clubs and their colleagues in municipal sports organizations (Wilkslambda = .969, F1,318 = 5.129, p< .01, η2p = .031). The individual analysis pinpointed the existence of statistically significant differences regarding the cognitive status factor (F1, 318 = 9.884, p<.01, η2p = .030) and the lifelong learning orientation factor (F1,318 = 7.431, p< .01, η2p = .023). Employees in fitness centres achieve higher means than employees in municipal sport organisations (figure 3).

Figure 3. Bar graph of the differences in Cognitive Development between employees in Private Fitness Clubs and Municipal Sports Organisations.

The results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) for the factors of Leadership Scale showed there are statistically significant differences between employees in Private fitness clubs and their colleagues in municipal sports organizations (Wilkslambda = .960, F1,318 = 6.685, p < .001, η2p = .040). The individual analysis pinpointed the existence of statistically significant differences regarding the intellectual stimulation factor (F1,318 = 9.871, p< .01, η2p = .030). Employees in fitness centres achieve higher means than employees in municipal sport organisations (figure 4).

Figure 4. Bar graph of the differences in the Leadership scale between employees in Private Fitness Clubs and Municipal Sport Organisations.

The results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) for the factors of Job Specific Performance pinpointed statistically significant differences between employees in Private fitness clubs and their colleagues in municipal sport organizations (Wilkslambda = .960, F1,317 = 3.250, p< .05, η2p = .040). The individual analysis revealed the existence of statistically significant differences regarding the factors of (1) Design & Organization of Sports Programs (F1,317 = 11.394, p< .001, η2p = .035), [2] Teaching of Sports Programs (F1,317 = 7.762, p< .01, η2p = .024), and (3) quality Customer Services (F1,317 = 9.054, p< .01, η2p = .028). Employees in fitness centres achieve higher means than employees in municipal sport organisations (figure 5).

Figure 5. Bar graph of the differences in Job Specific Performance between employees in Private Fitness Clubs and Municipal Sport Organisations.

3.2. T-test Analysis for Independent Groups

The results of the t-test analysis for independent samples of the General Job Performance questionnaire, showed there are statistically significant differences between employees in different sectors, with the employees in Private fitness clubs scoring higher in job performance when compared to employees in municipal sport organizations (t=1.69 p< .05) (figure 6).

Figure 6. Bar graph of the differences in the Assessment of the General Job Performance between employees in Private Fitness Clubs and Municipal Sport Organisations.

4. Discussion

According to Halachmi [32] one of the best ways to highlight the performance of an organization in the private or the public sector, is to ask those who buy the services the organisation provides. The evaluation that comes from sport consumers is extremely important since it reflects customer satisfaction [33]. In studies conducted in Greece, in municipal sports organisations, the participants have shown a high level of satisfaction regarding fitness trainers [34], [35]. Sportspeople consider that trainers fully satisfy their needs and expectations and evaluate their level of knowledge as being very high [36], [37]. Besides, the most important factor in order to become a member or renew a subscription in a fitness club, is the interpersonal contact with the group fitness trainers and factors such as price, equipment and atmosphere come next [18]. The results reinforce the importance of the physical education teachers’ role in the "Sports for All" Programs [35].

The results of the present study support the view that employees in private fitness clubs are superior when compared to those who are employed in municipal sport organisations as far as the quality and the quantity of work are concerned. They also show more intense intellectual stimulation and they do better in the creation of a personal and business vision. These findings are in accordance with a research by Buelens and Van der Broeck [38], who explore the causes for the differences in motivation and performance of employees and they claim that these differences among people are not so much affected by age, sex or educational level but they are mostly affected by the sector they work for, private or public. Furthermore, they note that civil servants work for less hours and show less interest and reduced motivation than employees in the private sector [38]. Perry and Wise [39] consider that the different attitudes and behaviours between employees in private and public organisations are due either to differences in the internal environment (organisational climate, structure, systems and procedures), or to the different pressures the exterior environment exercises on the two kinds of organisations. Bourantas & Papalexandris, [40] purport that the Public Sector is inferior to the Private because of several factors, with the most important being (a) the features of the content of the work (autonomy, variety, role confusion, vague targets) (b) the relation between performance and payment, (c) the quality of leadership and the organisational climate. They also maintain that employees in private businesses show higher organisational commitment, they are more motivated and show less indifference than employees in public organisations. Manolopoulos [41] claims there is a lack of motivation in public organisations and employees are unwilling to take part in non-obligatory work. He considers that lack of motivation creates a culture of indifference and avoidance of responsibilities. Frank and Lewis [42] assert that public sector employees are less motivated because of the security their job offers them. These two factors, low motivation and lack of empowerment, may possibly offer an explanation for the results of the present research.

Regarding the employees’ personality, as it is presented in this study through the dimensions of the Big Five Personality Dimensions theory [43-45], those who work in private fitness clubs showed higher levels of extraversion, emotional stability and openness to experience when compared to their colleagues in municipal sport organisations. Moreover, private sector employees develop better interpersonal relationships with the customers than their colleagues in the public sector. This finding can be explained if we take into consideration that private fitness clubs employees are much younger than their colleagues in municipal sport organisations and age seems to affect personality factors. The results of the research coincide with studies that claim that young adults, aged 20-25, show higher extraversion levels that older adults [46], [47]. Also, age seems to affect significantly a person’s openness to new experience, change and innovation. Young people’s openness allows them to adopt positive attitudes towards business innovation and makes organisational change easier [48]. The results confirm literature reports, that claim that young people show increased tendency towards openness to new experience [49-52]. Age may also explain the more intense lifelong learning orientation private cubs fitness trainers have shown compared to their colleagues in municipal sport organisations. Besides, as Chisholm, Larson & Mossoux [53] point out, sex and age are two crucial factors regarding readiness to learn and orientation to learning, since young employees aim to improve their qualifications, increase their knowledge, and acquire skills and certification.

Finally, the results point to the fact that employees in private fitness clubs are superior compared to their colleagues in municipal sport organisations regarding the factors of job specific performance such as planning, organising and teaching sports programs as well as offering quality services to customers. The results could be interpreted within the so far described framework of discussion since employees in private fitness centres demonstrate more intense quality teaching features such as intellectual motivation, vision and lifelong learning orientation. Moreover, they are extrovert, emotionally stable and especially open to new experience, innovation and organisational change. The findings confirm the relevant literature as several researchers claim that personality, educational level, age and experience are predictive factors of effective teaching [54-56].

5. Conclusions

The picture that emerges from the present study highlights the fact that the employment sector (Private fitness club- Municipal sport organization) is significantly related to many factors such as personality, professionalism, cognitive status, leadership skills and the employees’ job performance.

More specifically, regarding the personality of physical education graduates, those who are employed in private fitness centres seem to be more extroverts, more emotionally stable and more open to new experience in comparison to their colleagues in Municipal sport organisations. As far as their professional behaviour is concerned, employees in private fitness clubs develop more positive interpersonal relationships with the customers while they also seem to have a better cognitive status and to be more oriented to lifelong learning, to be more intellectually stimulated and to have a clearer vision than their colleagues in the public sector. Finally, the results support the view that, the employees in fitness cubs are able to plan, manage and teach sports programmes more effectively while they offer club customers more complete quality services when compared to Municipal sport organisation employees.


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