Students Perception Of Secretarial Profession In The Era Of Information And Communication Technology
The functions and effectiveness of the secretary in every business organization depends on the availability of office technologies as well as the skills and competencies of the secretary. Modern business organizations have come to appreciate the role and importance of the secretary as well as the need to providing the needed and necessary office machines and equipment for the efficacy of the secretarial functions. The study covered 80 randomly selected students in Osun state Polytechnic to examine their perceptions on the secretarial profession in the era of Information and Communication Technology, four research objectives guided the research.
The findings of the study revealed that there was some level of availability of modern office technological gadgets in Osun state polytechnic, their use by secretaries cause increase in productivity. Amongst others, it was recommended that organizations should procure as many modern office technological gadgets as are available in the market to ease the job of secretaries to enable them increase their productivity.
1.1. Background to the Study
For decades now, fast changes have been taking place in all facets of human life including the office environment. This is as a result of technological advancement. Every office in today’s business world, be it government, industry or other human endeavors, require facts and accurate information for quick decision-making. The office worker, including the secretary, expects certain support from the organization into which he/she is employed. This support can be technological (machines and equipment) and human. In offices of past, manager’s dictated memos and letters and secretaries typed them. Most recently, business have developed word processing centers and relied on personal computers and even electronic mail in an effort to lessen the need for secretarial support and make the employee-secretary very productive (Ezoem, 1995; Osuala, 2004).
As a result of changes in technology, the role of secretaries in business has changed tremendously from that of typewriting and shorthand dictation, answering of telephone calls and processing of mails. Today’s secretaries are exposed to office technology including the internet that make work much easier and knowledge more accessible (Edwin, 2008). It is now easier to send messages by telex, electronic mails (e-mails), fax and telephones. Other office gadgets available to the secretary are photo-copy machines, duplicating machines, dictating machines, printers, among others. This is the era of computers and information technology which has become an enabler of greater convenience. Three of the most popular types of computer software programs are word processing, which help the user to write and edit memos, letters and reports, data management programs or databases, which help the user/ secretary to use long lists of data and spreadsheet programs, which handle tables and numbers (Dulek and Fielden, 1999).
Secretaries now have many technologically advanced office gadgets to ease their jobs and enhance proficiency and productivity leading to improved access to goods and services globally (Wofersohn, 2001). There are wide range of office machines and equipment which now enable secretaries to improve their performances. Such new machines take the form of electronic typewriters that have replaced the manual ones. Word processors with milt-purpose facilities, computers and other sophisticated office machines and equipment are now provided by employers. Some of the physical equipment used by secretaries includes computer communication equipment and electronic pocket organizers (Lucas, 1997). New technological equipment that has altered the procedures and technique for office functions include the computers, electronic mail/ commerce, voice mail, and the Internet.
However, these new developments brought by technological challenges require even more knowledge and skills beyond being a professional secretary. For the secretary to be abreast with the changing times, face the challenges and overcome the old ways of doing things she or he needs training requirements in recent times to help meet organizational objectives. Information technology has affected many professions in recent times. The roles of secretarial professionals have been turned around by technology. It has provided the tools that shift the role of secretaries from that of information recorders to business strategists (Appah and Emeh, 2011). Several other authors are of the view that the secretary has to be well equipped to meet the present challenges of a modern office.
The ministry of Education is one of the key ministries for the Government of Ghana. The overall goal of the Ministry is to provide relevant and quality education for all Ghanaians especially the disadvantaged to enable them acquire skills which will make them functionally literate and productive to facilitate poverty alleviation and promote the rapid socio-economic growth of the country. In order to achieve its broad objectives the ministry has employed a significant number of secretaries to perform clerical works. This study seeks to examine the level of productivity of the secretaries in the context of modern office technologies.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
An automated office, undoubtedly, offers new roles and responsibilities for the secretary. Such new roles presuppose that additional training and qualifications are required from the secretaries. The relevance of automation in business was identified by Aromolaran (2003) as follows
- Creating a distinct career path for the secretary.
- Automation creates a prominent place for the secretary on the organization chart.
- It creates routine and assigned roles for the secretary.
- With automation the secretary now spends less time in correcting, revising, proof-reading and reproducing documents.
Cameron (1982), a very long time ago, commented that it takes up to 10 to 15 years between the introduction of new equipment in the market and its installation in small organizations. This is particularly peculiar to private business organizations in developing countries. In modern times, it is not uncommon to find some organizations still subjecting secretaries to the use of manual typewriters. When secretaries are not provided with efficient and effective working tools, productivity is definitely bound to be low.
Duniya (2011) also observed that due to the introduction of sophisticated technological (electronic) office equipment into today’s office and the role secretaries need to play in ensuring accuracy and efficiency in their jobs, the secretaries need to meet the challenges by acquiring new skills and competencies for efficient operations in the electronic office. There is continuous advancement in technology which has affected the secretarial profession in terms of the quality, speed and accuracy of works performed.
This study is therefore undertaken in order to gain understanding about the perception of students on office technologies on secretaries’ productivity in Osun state polytechnic, Iree
1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study
The main aim of the study is to examine the impact of modern office technologies on secretaries’ level of productivity at the Head office of the Ministry of Education. Specifically, the research aims at achieving the following objectives.
- To ascertain the range of new office technologies existent in Osun state polytechnic
- To investigate the level of usage of these new office technologies in Osun state polytechnic
- To identify the level of productivity of the secretaries in Osun state polytechnic
1.4 Research Questions
In order to achieve the objectives of this study a number of questions would be explored. Consistent with the topic and objectives the following questions will guide the study;
- What are new office technologies in Osun state polytechnic?
- What range of new office technologies exist in Osun state polytechnic?
- What is productivity and how is it measured in Osun state polytechnic?
- Does the introduction of office technologies impact on secretaries’ productivity?
1.5 Scope of the Study
Geographically, the study covers Osun state polytechnic, Iree, which is situated at the ministry enclave in the Accra metropolis as a case study. Contextually, the study focuses on students perceptions technologies and their impact on secretaries’ productivity.
1.6 Significance of the Study
To date, just a handful studies have been published that looks at modern office technologies and secretaries’ productivity in African nations and more particularly, in Nigeria. This study intends to contribute to a greater comprehension of the subject of matter. From a practitioner’s perspective, the results of the study will provide a benchmark that can be used in assessing the effectiveness of the implementation of new office technologies in an office environment as well as define key productivity factors.
Finally, this study will provide a foundation for future researches as this will serve as a motivation for many researchers to further examine other aspects of the subject matter.
1.7 Organization of the Study
This study is organized into five chapters.
- Chapter one of the thesis discusses the overview of the study, problem definition, research question, research objectives, significance of the study.
- Chapter two presents all the relevant literature review on waste management and its related concepts.
- Chapter three addresses the identification of the most suitable research methodology for this research and
- Chapter four presents a data analysis of findings gathered from the field.
- Finally, chapter five presents the summary of findings, conclusion, and made relevant recommendations.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Summary of the Study
The primary purpose of this study is to examine the perception of students on the secretarial profession in the era of ICT. Other secondary objectives guided the collection of primary data. A review of existing literature on the subject of Secretarial practices as well as productivity was presented in chapter two. This review explored important issues relating to the concept of secretary, the classification of the functions of the secretary and the secretarial productivity. Beside the secondary data, a primary data was gathered through the use of questionnaires from the sampled population selected for this study. A total of 60 respondents contributed to the findings of this study.
5.2 Finding of the study
Consistent with discussions and analysis of the primary data that were presented in chapter four of this study, the following findings are highlighted.
5.2.1 The Existence of Modern Office Equipments or Technologies
The primary data collected clearly indicated by the studentsthat Osun state Polytechnic has sufficient modern equipments. The data again showed the five major equipments present include the following;
- Telephone equipments (Land and Mobile)
- Personal computers
- Filling equipments
- Pen drives (Storage)
5.2.2 A high Knowledge and Usage of Modern Equipments
The study used employee knowledge of equipment to conclude the level of usage. The correlation is that knowledge suggests usage. Based on this premise the study found that there is a very high knowledge among the staff about these equipments hence the usage of these equipments are significantly high. For instance, respondents’ responses on some equipment were virtually 100%, indicating frequent use. Equipments such as listed below recorded high responses.
- Electronic calculators
- Filling equipments
- Telephone equipments
- Video equipments
5.2.3 A Relationship Between The Use of Office Equipments And Productivity
The study found that there exist a correlation between the use of office equipments and the level of productivity. 86% of the respondents noted that this relationship exists.
5.3.4 Perceptions on Productivity
The study found varied perceptions among the respondents on productivity. For example,
- The high productivity of the entire department
- The fear of laying off due to improvements in levels of productivity
5.3 Conclusions of the Study
In line with the objectives of the study and the data gathered from chapter four, the following conclusions have been reached;
- Osun state Polytechnic has sufficient modern office equipment and technologies
- There is a high level of usage of these equipments in Osun state Polytechnic
- The use of modern office equipment increase productivity of secretarial staff
- The secretarial staff believe they are highly productive.
5.4.1 Consistent Monitoring and Evaluation of the Supply Chain Performance Indicators
Monitoring is the routine and systematic accumulation of information against a plan. The information might be about activities, products or services, users, or about outside factors affecting the organization or project. Evaluation on the other hand is about utilizing monitoring and other information you accumulate to make judgments about the value of any component part of an organization or its projects, products, services or benefits, or about the organization holistically. It is also about utilizing the information to make changes and ameliorations.
Organizations use monitoring and evaluation for to learn about their own activities and results, and to fortify internal plan and development and be accountable to their stakeholders. Generally, organizations undertake two types of monitoring activities to understand how the organization is performing and to identify those areas which require further attention. The two types of monitoring activities are performance monitoring and compliance monitoring.
Performance monitoring involves an in-depth analysis of a process or project, to determine whether it is efficient and efficacious. It involves developing criteria, conducting interviews and examining documentation to determine how the process or project is conducted. Additionally, Compliance monitoring and compliance auditing aim to establish whether a process or procedure is carried out in conformance with pertinent external requisites, whether set through legislation, regulations or directions.
Although there exist high levels of productivity among the secretarial staff in Osun state Polytechnic, the business environment has become very competitive and there is no place for firms who relax on the past glory. The secretarial staff department must constantly be made to review their system to discover weaknesses that can quickly be addressed to meet customer satisfaction.
5.4.2 Continuous Staff training in the use of Modern equipments’
A learning organization where the members are continually gaining knowledge and enhancing their capabilities to aid the organization in adapting to dynamic environments and remain competitively superior over competitors . The driving force behind such an organization is its ability to effectively manage knowledge. The secretarial staff in
Osun state Polytechnic must constantly be trained to become their very best. The Ministry must invest in continuous training.
5.4.3 Continuous Investment in Modern Office Equipment and Technologies
To maintain a strong competitive advantage and customer satisfaction, the ministry be continually invest in the acquisition of the latest equipments that would enhance the productivity of its staff. For example, the study reveals a lack of video conferencing equipments, and these must be purchased to reduce travelling and promote technological advancement in Osun state Polytechnic.
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