The Confidential Secretary’s Effectiveness Through Adequate Communication

Project and Seminar Material for Secretarial Administration

The Confidential Secretary’s Effectiveness Through Adequate Communication


Communication within any organisation is vital for the achievement of organizational goals. These are the processes that link the various composition of the organisation together. They are found in all levels of the organisation and they affect every individual working for the organisation, in one way or another. The effectiveness of communication medium. The way in which it is managed has a significant impact on the ultimate effectiveness of the total organisation.

Communication has a major influence on both types of organizations goals, task and maintenance with respect to task or productivity, without provision for downward communications, employees would not know what to do.

Without adequate provision for upward communication, secretaries would not have the information needed to decide what to tell employees to do.

This project therefore examines the place of communication in secretarial functions of an organisation.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

Although communication applies to all phases of effectiveness, it is particularly important in the function of leading. People communication is the transfer of information from a sender to a receiver, with the information being understood by the receiver. This definition then becomes the basis for the communication process model (discuss) in this project. The model focuses on the sender of the communication the transmission of the message, and the receiver of the message.

The model also draws attention to noise, which interfer with good communication and feedback, which facilitates communication. This chapter also examines the impact of the electronic media on communication. It is no exaggeration to say that the communication function is the means by which organized activity is unified. It may be looked upon as the means of which social inputs are fed into social systems. Whether it is church, a family, a scout, troop, or a business enterprise the transfer of information from one individual to another is absolutely essential.

Over the years, the importance of communication in organized effort has been recognized by many authors, Chester I. Barnard for example, viewed communication as the means by which people are linked together in an organization to achieve a common goal. This is still the fundamental function of communication. Indeed, group activity is impossible without communication because coordination and charge cannot be effected.

Psychologists have also been interested in communication. They emphasize human problem that occur in the communication process of initiating, transmitting, receiving information. They have focuses on the identification of barners to good communication, especially those that involve the interpersonal relations of people, sociologists and information theorist as well as psychologist concentrated on the study of communication network.

1.2 Historical Background Of The Study Area

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is one of the most important and Strategic Federal Ministries which has been in operation prior to Nigeria’s Independence. The Ministry, Precisely came into being on 1st April, 1958, when the control of the Nigerian Military Forces was surrendered by the British War Office to the Government of Nigeria. With this creation, the ministry of Defence became institutionally responsible for the administration of the Armed Forces Comprising of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Airforce and comprising of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Airforce which are collectively referred to as the Armed Services. In addition to the services, the ministry also has under its umbrella the Defence Headquarters, the Defence Industries Corporation, the command and staff College, the Veteran Affairs Section and the National War College.

The Ministry of Defence Headquarters is headed by the Honourable Minister of Defence ably assisted by the permanent secretary. The Civilian cell of the Ministry which operates through Departments in consonance with the 1988 Civil Service Reforms has eight (8) Departments and three units, while the military cell comprises of the Armed Forces. The Civilian Cell provides supportive services to the Armed Forces in order to ensure their combat readiness. The eight (8) Departments and the three units of the civilian cell of the Ministry are as following:

  1. Personnel Department
  2. Finance and Supplies Department
  3. Planning Research and Statistics Department
  4. Joint – Services Department
  5. Army Affairs Department
  6. Navy Affairs Department
  7. Airforce Affairs Department
  8. Veteran Affairs Department
  9. Legal; Audit and information units.

The Armed Services cell of the Ministry Comprises the following:-

  1. Defence Headquarters
  2. Nigerian Army Headquarters
  3. Naval Headquarters
  4. Nigerian Airforce Headquarters
  5. Defence Institutions like the NDA, War College and CSC, Jaji.
  6. Defence Parastatals like Dicon Kaduna, Tafawa Balewa Square Investment Limited Lagos.

The Overall Policy Objectives of the Ministry of Defence include the following:-

  1. Maintaining men of the Nigerian Armed Forces in a state of combat readiness on land Sea and Air.
  2. Maintaining a proper balance in Arms and Men to meet the needs of Internal and external Security of the Country.
  3. Making Provision for the welfare of the men of the Armed Forces in terms of training, accommodation, health care and other benefits aimed at boosting their morale.
  4. Enhancing the capability and sophistication of the country’s Defence Industries in order to rescue the country’s dependence on foreign sources of supply.

Each of the Armed Services – Army, Navy and Airforces has its own peculiar history which explains its evolution, with the Defence Headquarters being at apex of the Armed Forces hierarchy. As with other military organizations the world over, the creation of Defence Headquarters (DHQ) was predicated on the need to have an Organ with the Nigerian Armed Forces whose primary role would be to harmonise and co-ordinate the activities of the 3 services. This aspect of the Armed Forces hierarchy came into existence with the creation of the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) by the 1979 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The CDS formally took office in April 1980. The Defence Headquarters was however abolished with the change of Government in 1983. In 1985, it was re-established as Joint Chief of Staff Headquarters and headed by a Chairman. As the military embarks on restructuring and preparation for civil rule, the Defence Headquarters along with the office of CDS, recognized in the constitution was re-introduced with effect from September 1990. In its basic concept therefore, the DHQ is tasked with the duty of removing operational bottlenecks in interservice combat functions by giving firm policy guidelines on command, control communications and intelligence. Other tasks of the DHQ include general administration and attending to the logistics needs of combat forces. The operational, logistics, training, planning, intelligence, administration and information are co-ordinated by five Departments namely:

Department of Training, Operations and Plans, Department of Logistics, Department of Administration and Defence Intelligence Agency.

The ministry of Defence takes responsibility for matters that are of common interest to the three armed services on training, welfare, procurement, international engagements.

1.3 Statement Of Problem:

As Explained by Denyer (1980) it is not an exaggeration to say that the standard of an Organizations Corporate Image and efficiency is directly related to the standard of its communication systems and their operation. Loss of business to the tune of millions of pounds, loss of customers and loss of prestige in the market, can and all too often do, result from poor communications.

All communications have to be originated, produced transmitted, received and understood. Each communication is intended to provide information or evoke action.

The main aspects of communication, which need to be considered, are therefore:

  1. The source of communication, i.e. the sender;
  2. The content of the communication;
  3. The process by which the communication is produced, e.g. dictation and typing;
  4. The method by which the communication is transmitted e.g. letter, telephone, telex;
  5. Procedures involved in receiving a communication, e.g. mail handling distribution;
  6. The destination of the communication, i.e. the recipient,
  7. The understanding of the communication by which recipient.

Communication may be written, oral or visual, and systems must be designed to cater for a variety of each kind. Although Communications is now a highly specialized field, Involving a vast range of equipment and technology from a simple portable typewriter to computer terminals linked by satellite to computers thousands of miles away, the keynote of any system should be simplicity in operation. The systems installed in any organization should meet the specific needs of that organization so as to give maximum effectiveness at minimum cost.

Communication is a discipline in itself and every office secretary requires to study its many aspects since communication is the basis of office work, generally it is also necessary to ensure that the staff realize the importance of communication and that they know and practice of the basis rules. Since example is one of the best teachers the office secretary should evaluate his own standards of communication from time to time. The starting point is never to blame anyone else if there has been a misunderstanding. Rather say, it is my fault. I did not communicate adequately/clearly/effectively. “In this way one gradually becomes self-critical and develops better communication habits.

The following basic rules, if followed carefully by everyone. Should ensure fast, accurate communication in the office and with people outside the organization.

In view of the above, this project was designed to investigate the following problems;

  1. Communication is the life wire of any business organization.
  2. It is necessary to ensure that the staff realizes the importance of communication.
  3. Communication must contain all the information required for the recipient to make a decision or take action.
  4. Breakdown in communication can lead to mismanagement of the organization.
  5. Adequate communications is entail for effective business management.

1.4 Objectives Of Study

Bearing in mind that the office secretary main responsibilities are the provision of information to top management and the maintenance of communications. It is his job to maintain, control and review a network of complementary systems which will meet the demands of the departments within the organization and the demands of people outside including customers. In the smallest office the communications network will, certainly include oral communication, correspondence, mail-handling, telephone switchboard and extension, typewriting and stationery. Additional components of the network may well be a teleprinter, telex, word processing, minute and report writing and visual presentation of various kinds.

The office secretary must develop the ability to see the communications network as the arterial system of the organization, and as a fundamental factor in the fulfillment of the office function and in the achievement of corporate objectives. He must be able to detect inadequacies and faults in any of its component parts.

Unless the communication system is “managed” in the fullest sense the word, problems will inevitably arise and the efficiency of the organisation as a whole will sufer.

For this simple reason, the project has the following as its objectives;

  1. To establish the fact that effective communication skills are required to deal successfully with all associates in an organisation.
  2. To prove that communication is the way secretary get its job done satisfactorily.
  3. To prove that without adequate communication, no organisation can attain its goals.

1.5 Significance Of Study

The findings in general provide empirical evidence that substantial communication problems exist at high management levels in organizations problems which one can expect to be reflected in poorer organizational efficiency and distortion of organizational goals at lower level in the hierarchy. From such studies, the problems of organizational communication can be seen, just because two persons in an organisation go through the act of trying to communicate does not necessarily mean that they have actually communicated.

In view of this glaring deficiency in communication acts, this study is significant for the following reasons.

  1. It will enable the management to appreciate communication as an essential element for a successful administration.
  2. It will establish the characteristics of accurate communication.
  3. Secretary are bound to understand the unique inferences in communication.

1.6 Hypotheses And Research Questions

(A) Hypothesis

As a way of investigating the problems identified for the study, the following hypotheses were formulated:

H1 – There is a significant relationship between secretary and communication.

H2 – No organisation can attain its desired goals without putting place strong pillars of inter and intra communication.

H0 – There is no correlation between organizational success and communication.

(B) Research Questions

The following questions would be incorporated into the research instrument (questionnaires in order to further assist in investigating the identified problems:-

  1. RQS 1; What is communication?
  2. RQS 2; What are purposes of communication in an organisation?
  3. RQS 3; What factors can hinder free flow of effective communication in an organisation?
  4. RQS 4; How can such factors be handled so as to establish hitch-free communication environment?
  5. RQS 5; What steps should be taken to ensure constant evaluation of communication network in an organisation?

1.7 Scope And Limitation

The study is in partial fulfillment of the conditions for the award of Diploma in secretarial studies. One is not therefore expected to carryout intensive and extensive research. The work would only be enough for the purpose it is meant to achieve. The limitations should be restricted to the number of pages to be written, so it is impossible to include everything that has to do with the topic in the limited number of pages.

However, there is no doubt that the project provides enough building block for future research work in the area.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

1. Goal:

Aim purpose, a place or object one wishes To Whom It May Concern: obtain or reach, or two upright posts between which players attempt to kick or hit ball.

2. Organisation:

Systematic arrangement, orderly grouping of parts and as assignment of functions. The arrangement of part so as to form an effective whole group of people with special purpose, such as a club or business the state of been organized.

3. Management:

Few people who control a business, make arrangement. The act of managing, the management of this company, people who are in charge of a firm or industry.

4. Public Service:

“Building, road, harbours, and other such apparatus provided usually by the government for public use, especially as improvements or additions to what was there before.

5. Workforce:

The people who work in an organisation, considered as a body, group or people who work their hands doing manual labour, group of people who make a physical or mental effort in order to achieve or make something.

6. Mutual Understanding:

This is the collective understanding or sharing of ideas between two or more people without any argument or problem.

7. Reinforcement:

This is referred to as beating up of the initial troops or increasing the strength of troop earmarked for an operation to enhance their performance.

8. Secretary:

It was derived from a Latin word known as “SECRETUM”, that implies “Secret Keeper”. It can do be regarded as a person who assist the executive possessing mastery of office skills as “SECRETUM”, that implies “Secret Keeper”. It can do be regarded as a person who assist the executive possessing mastery of office skills and ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision.

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