The Challenges Facing The Newly Employed Secretaries In Selected Ministries In Imo State

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

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


Abstract


This research study focuses on an investigation into the challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in selected Ministries in Imo State. Specifically, five Ministries located in Owerri, Imo State were investigated, Ministries of Lands and Survey, Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Works and housing, Education and Finance.

The study adopted simple random sampling techniques taking into consideration the five ministries and the “secretaries” experiences with much emphasis on newly ones. Instrument for data collection was the questionnaire.

In this study, three research questions were formulated for the purpose which include the roles expected of the newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State, the office skills expected of newly employed secretaries in the ministries, and the various challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in the ministries.

The result of the findings reveals that the general agreements on the first research question are endorsed as strongly agreed. Also the calculated mean responses for the items under research question two reveals that the respondents strongly agree to all the skills identified as the required office skills expected of the newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State.

In research question three, four out of the seven challenges indicated were strongly agreed to as the challenges facing the newly employed secretaries, while the remaining three were strongly disagreed upon as challenges facing newly employed secretaries.

It was therefore, recommended that the executives and indeed all staff should extend their hand of fellowship to the newly employed secretaries. They should neither be abused nor misused. The secretaries on their own part should work with caution.


Table Of Content


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of content
  • Abstract

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Purpose of the study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 The secretary and her roles
  • 2.2 The challenges automation and societal misconception
  • 2.3 Secretarial skill and human relations
  • 2.4 Summary of the literature review

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Design of study
  • 3.2 Area of study
  • 3.3 Population of study
  • 3.4 Sample and sampling techniques
  • 3.5 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.6 Validation of instrument
  • 3.7 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Presentation and Analyses of Data

  • 4.1 Research question 1
  • 4.2 Research question 2
  • 4.3 Research question 3
  • 4.4 Summary of findings

Chapter Five

5.0 Discussion of Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations

  • 5.1 Discussion of findings
  • 5.2 Conclusions
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • 5.4 Suggestion for further studies
  • References
  • Appendix 1
  • Appendix II

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

In every area of human endeavour, new entrants are naturally faced with certain challenges. The challenges are not usually very simple. Some are complex and so frightening that they can easily throw the ill equipped out of the track. This phenomenon is found in every profession including secretarial profession.

However, the intensity of the challenge varies according to the circumstances and the demands of the job. The newly employed secretaries in the ministries such as ministries of lands and survey, ministries of agriculture and natural resources, work and housing, education and finance, are prone to these challenges much more than others. One of the major challenges they face is that of acceptability.

Before any secretary can comfortably work in any office, there must be an evidence of co-operation among the staff. This co-operation is born out of the willingness of the senior staff to accommodate the new staff. The co-operation is expected from both the super ordinate, coordinate, and subordinate staff of the organization.

Before such co-operation is given, however, the newly employed secretary must show an evidence of proficiency. She must display the skills, qualities and attributes which are required of a secretary. Furthermore, she must understand that most of her sub-ordinate staff have been in the ministry for many years. They are more experienced in the jobs than her and mighty even think that her presence in the organization is a threat to their chance of moving forward.

Ifedili (1995) noted that secretaries are one of the most indispensable tools needed in all spheres of human endeavour. He further added that government parastatals, ministries, companies and private organizations need the secretary for the smooth operation and achievement of their set objectives.

Elendu (2000), described the secretary as the life-wire of any organization. He further defined secretary as the pivot on which the management of any organization revolves. The Secretaries Association of United States of America (SA USA) describes the secretary as an assistant to the executive, possessing mastery of office skills and the ability to assume responsibilities without direct supervision, who display initiative, exercise judgement and makes decision within the scope of her authority.

But research have shown that the newly employed secretaries in some of our ministries are found wanting in these attributes. The newly employed secretaries are fresh graduate secretaries who have little or no previous work experience. They were trained with obsolete equipment.

Okoye (1999), stated that employers expects their secretaries to be able to operate electronic gadgets such as word processors, computers, telex, fax machines, the switch board equipment and other office equipments. It has been discovered also that the new graduate secretaries cannot operate these machines (a part from computer) because they were not exposed to these machines during their training. This has placed a question mark on their skills.

A good human relation is very important in every office without good human relations, there would not be the co-operation, which is vital for the smooth running of the office. According to Azuka and Agomuo (1993), human relations refer to the relationship between individuals and group of people within an organization.

A secretary is a harmonizer who acts as intermediary between management and those in the lower echelon as well as the public (Anyatonwu, 1998). The new employed secretary still need some time to familiarize his/herself with the ministry before she can carry out this essential duties. Another big challenge to the newly employed secretaries in the ministries is the “Nigeria Boss”, majority of the Nigerian executive are very fastidious that is, they always like every thing to be correct.

Therefore, you will hardly do something to please or to earn their praise. Some of them come to the office daily with piles of family problems, which they heap on their secretaries. Some of them are very inquisitive towards every movement made by their secretary, and they find it very difficult to resist the urge to show love to their secretaries. There is also the challenge of societal prejudice. The free use of the term “secretary” has made it impossible for people to appreciate the importance and the concept of the profession (Anyatonwu, 1998).

Furthermore, the traditions and conventions of the colonial experience when secretary typists were the order of the day, have created a situation in, which there is imposed limit of career prospects of the secretary inspite of her accumulated years of useful experience and education. These are some of the challenges, which the newly employed secretaries in some of the ministries in Imo state face.

Their ability to contend with these challenges is the mystery, which this project has revealed. It also offered suggestions on how to improve the work performance of the secretary in the face of these challenges.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Many studies carried out on the performance of fresh graduate secretaries more often than not point to the fact that newly employed secretaries’ lack some important skills needed to cope with the demands of the job. It has therefore become a challenge for them to live up to their responsibilities. The areas of deficiency should be sort out and possibly, an alternative retraining arrangement be made.

This is necessary to save the executives from possible an embarrassment. There has been an expressed fear that secretarial functions will in no distant time be taken over by sophisticated office equipment being brought into business by growing technology.

Unfortunately, the new graduate secretaries face a lot of embarrassment from these sophisticated machines with which they are supposed to work. If standard job classifications are defined on the basis of duties and output and not on ego according to Anyatonwu (1998), the challenge has arisen for the secretary to reaffirm her importance.

Today’s employer prefers the worker who helps him in improving or discovering new methods of solving problems or maximizing profit or meeting organizational objectives. The chief executives look for persons who can take responsibility in both routine and delegated functions, they need initiator and “self-starters”, there is need, therefore, to investigate so as to help the newly employed secretaries in Imo-State ministries to get on with their jobs without problems. (Anyatonwu, 1998).


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate into the challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in Imo State ministries in the discharge of their duties. Specifically, this study will find the following:

  1. The secretarial roles of the newly employed secretaries in Imo-State ministries;
  2. The secretarial skills possessed by the newly employed secretaries in Imo-State ministries;
  3. The various challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in Imo State ministries.

1.4 Research Questions

In the researcher’s effort to carry out this research, the following questions were asked in order to form the researcher’s guide for the study.

  1. What are the secretarial roles expected of newly employed secretaries in Imo state ministries?
  2. What office skill should the newly employed secretaries in Imo State ministries possess?
  3. What are the various challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in Imo State.

1.5 Significance of the study

This study is significant because some results of this investigation will enable the newly employed secretaries in Imo State ministries to know how to tackle the various challenges facing them in the execution of their duties. Some results of this investigation will bring to focus the office skills required of the newly employed secretaries in Imo State ministries. It will also serve as a scale for the newly employed secretaries to weigh their performances vis-à-vis their expected roles and responsibilities in Imo State ministries.

Through it they can find out their shortcoming and make amends. With the results of this study, the executives will conveniently appraise the newly employed secretaries in Imo state ministries. The result of the study will also keep in the recruitment and training of secretaries and other secretarial staff in Imo State ministries. It will also enable the experienced secretaries to know the challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in Imo State ministries. They can use their wealth of experience to alleviate the problems of the newly employed secretaries through the result of the study.


1.6 Scope of the study

This study is intended to find out the challenges facing the newly employed graduates secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State. The study is limited in its coverage because of respondents’ inability to supply necessary information and true situation of things affecting them. There is also the scarcity of text books, journals and relates literatures.


Chapter Five


5.0 Discussion of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation

This chapter discusses the results of the study as presented in chapter four. The sequence of the presentation is in line with the research questions posed and formulated. The conclusion and challenges of the study are highlighted; the recommendations are made, while suggestions for further studies are proffered.


5.1 Discussion of Findings

Research Question 1

Research question I investigated the extent to which the secretarial roles expected of newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State were being carried out. The results revealed that respondent strongly agreed upon the roles of the newly employed secretaries in Imo State ministries include all auxiliary activities which aid the executives in the achievement of the objectives of their ministries. The respondents strongly agreed also that the newly employed secretaries supervise the junior workers, represent executives in their absence and assist in the recruitment of junior staff in the ministries. This finding is supported by the view of Anyatonwu (1998) that the secretarial roles are multi-dimensional.

Research Question 2

Table 2 revealed the office skills expected of newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State. The respondents indicated with a mean score of 3.68 and 3.63 strongly agreed on shorthand and typing skills, that a minimum of 120/50 words per minutes is expected of the newly employed secretaries in shorthand and typewriting respectively. They also agreed strongly that proficiency in the use of word processors and computer literacy was a necessary necessity for the profession. The operating of office machines such as duplicating machines, photocopying machines, telephone, fax machines, e.t.c were agreed strongly by the respondents to be expected from the newly employed secretaries in Imo State.

Research Question 3

Table 3 revealed challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in state. The respondents strongly agreed upon to the various challenges including good human and public relations, sharing or allocating jobs/duties with bias, confidentiality as a secretary’s function is not strictly adhered to, and the imposed limit of the promotional prospects of the secretary inspite of her accumulated years of useful experience and education.

They also disagree very strongly that majority of the Nigerian executive are very fastidious that secretarial functions are taken over by sophisticated office machines and that some executives intentionally make some grammatical mistakes in their write-up just to test the “secretaries” knowledge of English language.


5.2 Conclusion

Having carefully investigated and analyzed the challenges facing the newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State and having analyzed also the findings of some scholars in literature review with regards to the questions, the researcher came out with following conclusion.

Secretaries are very important and indispensable in the selected ministries in Imo State. The importance of newly employed secretaries could be over emphasized, with their enhanced skill and knowledge they are expected to inject new blood into the productive organs of the ministries.

However, the newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State are faced with various challenges. These challenges include proficiency in skill, human and public relation and societal prejudice. These challenges militate against the productivity of the newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State.


5.3 Recommendations

The importance of newly employed secretaries in the ministries in Imo State cannot be over emphasized. By their education and training, they are expected to introduce new and modern system of office management in the ministries. However, the expectation should not be superfluous, they should be allowed some time to familiarized themselves with the existing system and the office environment before they could prove their mettle.

The practice of keeping away vital documents and important office information from the newly employed secretaries under the guise or pretence of testing their integrity impairs the performance of the secretaries. No secretary can perform effectively without adequate information. Therefore they should be allowed access to all necessary office information needed for the performance of their duties. Societal misconception and prejudice are major challenges to the newly employed secretaries in selected ministries in Imo State. It has led to the misuse or abuse of the secretaries. It should be understood that the secretary is a graduate who like every other graduate went through the rigors of education. She is not inferior and should not be treated with disdain. Her humility should not be mistaken for inferiority.

The new graduate secretary is better equipped with the modern system of communication and office management. However, if the newly employed secretary considers changes very necessary, she should be guided with wisdom and caution. She should as much as possible avoid the exuberance of fresh graduate.


5.4 Suggested Area for further studies

As a result of my findings in this investigation, the researcher suggests that further investigation be conducted on.

  1. There should be promotional prospects of newly employed secretaries in the ministries in Imo State.
  2. There should be conversion of the graduate secretary to a management position in Imo state civil service.

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