Beginning Secretaries Challenges In A Modern Office (A Case Study Of Owerri Urban Council)

Project and Seminar Material for Office Technology and Management (OTM)

Project and Seminar Material for Office Technology and Management (OTM)


Beginning secretaries have encountered so many difficulties in the performance of their duties in modern offices. In the past, many secretaries were retrenched because they could not meet the required standard of the organization. Some of the difficulties include poor educational background poor human relations, unable to handle or operate some automated machines and more, contributed to the problems beginning secretaries faced.

It is our aim in this project to find lasting solutions to these problems so that our beginning secretaries will find work very interesting.

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Problem

A beginner in all works of life encounters one problem or the other and the beginning secretary is not an exception. The contribution and services of a secretary can either improve or mar the efficiency of an organization.

In order to succeed, secretaries have to relate well with other people and use the modern machines and materials well. All these indicate that one has to develop on the job ion order to meet the ever changing business environment, which will encourage the executive to admire her work.

At the end of the training, the secretary is expected to secure a job in an organization or set up a business no matter the one, chosen; she will be expected to face some challenges and difficulties. Some of the difficulties are inherent in today’s office machines and equipment. The beginning secretary has to understand the objectives of the organization how it functions and what is expected from employees. The secretary is also expected to improve some vital services such as acting as a memory aid to the boss, keeping custody of documents, using office machines to get her job done and maintaining good human relations.

According to Nwosu (1996), a secretary is defined by national Association of America as “An assistance to an executive possessing mastery of office skills and ability to assume responsibility without direct supervisions who display initiative, exercises judgment and makes decision within the scope of her authority. This means that a good secretary is a public relation expert, a staff assistant to the boss’s office memory.

The secretary is responsible for much of the details of the office work, and is expected to carry out the duties with a minimum of supervisions and direction. A secretary is expected to represent the organization and the employer attractively to the public and generate good human relations in working with all employees in the organization with the advancement in the technology which is now with us, the secretary needs to have a computer competencies and processing skills.

Ifedili (1975) also noted that secretaries are note of the most indispensable tools needed precisely in organizations. He further stated that government parastatals, companies, ministries, establishments and indeed the private sectors all need the services of secretaries for the smooth operation and achievement of their objectives.

Secretaries are responsible primarily for covering all meetings, collecting and harmonizing the activities of the departments, in spite of some motivational aids to the beginning secretaries, a lot of constraints appear to cripple and incapacitate the smooth functioning of beginning secretaries in carrying out their functions in modern office.

The use of office automation makes the information to be routed out faster, recorded easily and quickly assessed irrespective of the volume of no efforts is made to identify the solutions confronting beginning secretaries in modern offices, the constraint will continue to hinder their performance of the secretary in carrying out her conventional duties. Therefore, the beginning secretaries are those that have worked or began work in an organization and it is necessary to carry out a study to identify the areas of difficulties encountered by them in various modern offices and proffer some solutions.

1.2 Statement Of Problems

However, the beginning secretaries in spite of their immense contributions to the overall development and the realization of the organizational goals, Are skill Faced with a number of operational problems.

Many beginning secretaries know their jobs but find it difficult when it comes to informing their employer about what they need to know. They may have adequate decision making, ability and secretarial competency but they have neither recognized the importance of communication dearly and nor mastered the art. Good communication requires time and efforts. In working, talking, reading listening and interpreting. It represents a definite skill in which every secretary should gain proficiency.

According to Ukandu. (1996), a beginning secretary finds herself in a few environment with a view of making a carrier as a secretary the facilities which are not up to date and adequate are used for training in school and facilities in all ramification including the office. The use of office equipment in many offices has meant a substantial change in the office skill thereby rendering obsolete to the skill required by those unable to abreast of the technical changes.

As a result of the above development, the changing office skills constitute great problems to the beginning secretaries. On graduation, the secretary finds herself in a complete new environment with modern machines with which she was not familiar during her training at school with these challenges faced by beginning secretaries, some employers start to develop doubts as to whether the certificate the beginning secretary claim to have acquired was authentically obtained.

Furthermore, good human relation is one of the things needed in an office environment that usually confront a beginner in any organization. Some beginning secretaries do not have a good knowledge on how to relate with fellows students at school and they also be have in the same manner when they work with people in the personal need of their fellow workers. Because of this sometimes, there tend to be conflicts in the office.

This study is aimed at examine these difficulties militating against effective performance of the beginning secretaries in the modern offices, to find solutions and suggestion on how to reduce to the bravest minimum those crises facing the beginning secretaries.

1.3 Purpose Of The Study

The main purpose of the study is to find out some of the difficulties encountered by beginning secretaries in the performance of their functions in modern offices.
The specific objectives of the study include.;

  1. To identify the office equipment present in the secretaries work place.
  2. To find out the difficulties facing the beginning secretaries in their office.
  3. Suggest solutions to the difficulties facing secretaries as beginners in modern offices.
  4. To find out course that are not adequate in content.
  5. To ascertain the adequacy of the content of the secretarial administration curriculum.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

The findings of the survey will help the offices (organization or management) to know the feelings of her secretaries and how best to attend to her problems. It is also hoped that if the study is successfully carried out, it will help out educational institutions to channel the training programmed of the secretaries towards the industrial needs of the country.

The study will also help to bridge the gap between business and school as this is to ensure that whatsoever equipment used in offices are present in schools, also the study will make institutions see need to redesign the curriculum especially that of secretarial administration.

Above all, the study will also help the beginning secretaries cope of manage with the difficult problems encountered in our present modern offices.

1.5 Scope Of The Study

The study is delimited in scope to the difficulties encountered by beginning secretaries in their functions in a modern office, a case study of Owerri Urban Council of Imo State and its implications on the organizational efficiency.

1.6 Research Questions

  1. Are the contents of the secretarial administration curriculum adequate for effective preparation of an effective secretary?
  2. What are the nature of equipment you used while in school and the equipment present in your work place?
  3. What are the effects of good human relations in you?
  4. What are the problems encountered by beginning secretaries and the likely solutions to these problems.

1.7 Limitations

In limitations of this chapter, the researcher found it difficult in collecting the materials and information to used in the write-up. It cost the researcher a lot in transporting herself to the place/reach of materials o information. Also physical stress caused by going for research and jotting of relevant information which will be of great help of this write-up.

1.8 Definition Of Terms


A secretary is an assistant to an executive possessing mastery of office skills and ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, who displays initiatives, exercise judgment and makes decision within the scope of her authority.


An office is a place where decrial work is done and where all kinds of paper work is being carried out i.e. letter, files correspondents, records, memos, queries, notice and so are maintained and dealt with.

Office Machine

These are equipment used by the secretary to carry out her duties in the office e.g, computer, duplicator typewriter, stapler, perforator etc.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

This chapter discusses the summary, conclusion and recommendation of the study “beginning secretaries challenges in modern offices a case study of Owerri Urban Council Headquarters of Imo State.

5.1 Summary

From the indication of findings, it showed that curriculum of secretarial administration is inadequate for the preparation of effective secretary. And the secretaries in the Owerri Urban Council Headquarters who were not properly trained in the rise of some modern office machines found it difficult operating the sophisticated machines found in work place which they did not meet in their higher institutions of learning.

Furthermore, in the Owerri Urban Council Headquarters, they were found to be deficient in the area of human relations which was why many found their jobs uninteresting.

5.2 Conclusion

  1. It has been revealed in Owerri Urban Council Headquarters that a beginning secretary, more likely encounters difficulties in the performance if her duties which is as a result of inadequate secretarial administration curriculum, that is poor educational background. A good background is necessary as this is a good determinant of her performance as a beginning secretary in an organization.
  2. One of the challenges facing beginning secretaries in the Owerri Headquarters more likely is the risk of coping with the high rate of automation in the office as the equipment they were exposed to in school are not the same with the ones in the offices.
  3. Human relations is very important in any field of endeavour and the beginning secretaries who lacked human relation skills are more relating with people or in the organization. In the Owerri Council Headquarters who lacked human relation skill are likely to face problems in relating with people in the administrative functions in the organization.

5.3 Recommendation

With the above views, the researchers recommends that the following states should be taken to solve the difficulties encountered by beginning secretaries in modern offices.

  1. The National Board of Technical Education should update and review from time to time the secretarial administration curriculum.
  2. The government should provide enough modern equipment in various schools of higher learning so that students would be able to operate any type of office machines.
  3. Institutions should collaborate with business organization to discuss the problem of the beginning secretaries to fond lasting solutions to them.
  4. Finally educational institutions should arrange with business establishment to enable their students have access to modern office equipment especially during the industrial training period.

5.4 Areas For Further Study

In the light of the above, further research could be conducted in the following areas:

  1. To find suitable ways by which institutions can work in collaboration with business establishments.
  2. The implication of producing unqualified secretaries in the labour market.
  3. How government and institutions should collaborate in finding e lasting solution to the existing problems.

Beginning Secretaries Challenges In A Modern Office (A Case Study Of Owerri Urban Council)

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