A Study Of The Sociological Factors Affecting Professional Secretarial Career In Nigeria

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A Study Of The Sociological Factors Affecting Professional Secretarial Career In Nigeria


Abstract


This study is a study sociological factors affecting professional secretarial career in Nigeria. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected higher institutions. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up secretaries, senior lecturers junior lecturers and graduate assistants were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

In this part of the world a careful observer would discover that what we refer to as sociological factors affecting professional secretarial career in Nigeria has always been mistaken. The management of some entrepreneur and institution management has failed in their duties of providing these basic needs to their secretaries.

The world “secretary” has been defined by A.S Hornby, in the Advanced Learners Dictionary, as an employee or an official who deals with correspondences, keeps records, makes arrangements, appointment and other business affairs of the firm, society or club.

The Lexicon Webster dictionary, an encyclopedic edition, defines secretary as one entrusted with secrets, one who caries on another’s correspondences and performs other routine task; an officer of an organization or business who keeps records and assists in major decisions, a government officer whose business is to superintendent and manage the affairs of a particular department.

Office is of paramount importance to the organization since it is a decision making centre and it is through the office functions that the organization achieves its goals.

The importance of a secretary in any organization is not to be over –emphasized but the profession has been misconstrued due to small ill informed masses. M. blight (1983) in duties of a professional secretary commented on this. He said that, this argument is, in part, attributed to the inability of employers to clearly specify job description for professional secretaries. Again, B.O.Ekong (1984) in his article titled problems in professional secretarial career’ hold that, ‘some employers believe that the secretarial school merely teachers shorthand and typewriting to its graduates therefore, did not see the reason as to the substance of making them beneficiaries of some service conditions and promotional benefit, with their counterparts in other fields. This could be the reason why a secretary’s opinion is always neglected in decision making. Although he has been employed by the boss for his assistance, but his opinion is not always appreciated.

He attends meeting just as minutes jotter and reporter, his opinion is not being sought for in decision making. L.N.Mbaga (1984) in contemporary views, said that, “a professional secretaries are held as drop outs forced by self –induced disappointments and frustrations to specialize in typewriting and shorthand”.

Due to this misconception of the profession, less importance is attached to the secretary position. The secretary in an organization, is seen by other members of the organization, as merely an appendage. In most cases, he is regarded as a shorthand/typist by a majority of people. People well informed who are supposed to acknowledge the importance of secretaries in the society and consequently he feels slighted.

Some employers seen not to know the difference between the work of an office messenger and that of a secretary. Some secretaries are expected to do the boss’s wife or other co-workers and consequently this affects her psychologically. This was confirmed by an interview conducted by Nicola Tyre (1984), when a lady secretary said that at one time she had two houses to run as well as her normal job. She went on complaining that she was used as a domestic skinny, doing her boss’s personal errand running such as buying a present for the wife and her weekly shopping.

These type of problems facing secretaries in the job tend to affect their productivity and stability, even those with genuine interest for the career one scared away and consequently secretaries change of occupation becomes more, than in other fields like engineering, business administration etc.


1.2 Statement of Problem

It is an understatement to say that the professional secretarial career is unimportant. It is obvious that it is much important, it is also competitive and marketable and deserves nothing but recognition from every perceiving eye. A training secretary is capable and prominent office hand hence has presence is essential to the office. Infact, he is the boss as a nurse or a paramedical staff into the office. Surgeon and this contributes is no small way to the success of the boss and the entire organization.

The secretary profession is indeed on career that attracts a discrimination image from society’s evaluating eyes. Most managers who require to assistance of the secretary in the office fail totally to accord him a befitting recognition, rather they show disregard and disrespect for the career.

As a matter of fact, the word secretary is often misunderstood by many people. While some are of the opinion that anybody who can write short-hand and use typewriter as well as known as a secretary, others see it as merely a woman’s career and consequently, a non –prestigious one

The trend of though is due to a misconception and the culminating results from this trend of events are for reaching and affects the secretarial career very adversely. The secretary feels slighted, he is demotivated both to join and stay in the profession, he suffers image and personality (ego) problems and these accounts for his detraction and adherence and thus mass exodus to other profession.

Based on the foregoing, therefore the study was geared towards identifying the factors responsible for the dissatisfaction of professional secretaries on their job performance and solutions to salvage the profession.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The objective of this study is to investigate the causes of non-recognition of secretaries and their profession or career alongside similar professions in our society. To achieve these objectives and these following research questions will be answered.

  1. To know the challenges faces Prof. Secretaries in their job performance.
  2. To what extent do these challenges Prof. secretaries stability in the career.
  3. To know the measured could be taken to solve this problem.
  4. To identify’s those factors that affect secretaries on the job function.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: there are no challenges faces Prof. Secretaries in their job performance.
    H1: there are challenges faces Prof. Secretaries in their job performance.
  2. H02: there are no factors that affect secretaries on the job function.
    H2: there are factors that affect secretaries on the job function.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research work attempt was made to identify and analyze those factors that contribute to secretary’s unhappiness or dissatisfaction while on the job performance. It is intended to reveal to the prospective secretaries on what they should expect from the profession. Finally, it is also intended to give clear picture of what the profession is all about


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This research work is designed to study the sociological factors affecting professional secretarial career in Nigeria. A lot of organizations are now aware that secretaries needs to be provides with high productivity in the organization.

The study was conducted in various organization as well as the two higher institutions that is Rivers State University of Science and Technology & Rivers State College of Education all in Rivers State. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.


1.7 Definition of Terms

This term was made to identify or to explain those factors that affect professional secretarial career in Nigeria. These are the sociological factors; non-recognition and low esteem rating of the career, which resulted to the poor treatment of secretaries and also the physical factors which is known as environment as well.

Environment:

In the management or organization contact, environment consist s of office building, the furniture layout and the physical conditions under which an office worker or secretaries operate such as lighting, ventilation, sound and safety measure etc.

Lighting:

Bad lighting accentuates the possibility of low performance or output and inaccurate work result in secretarial job function. Enendu O. (1993) mentioned that bad lighting causes eye strain and fatigue to the secretaries causing low job output. Poor standards of lighting obviously affect the secretaries interest, attitude top work and makes them suffer from degree of eye strain, fatigue, irritability and other physical disorders. The effect of poor lighting should be understood as it adversely affects the productivity of the secretaries job function.

Poor ventilation

Poor ventilation also affects secretaries health thereby causing poor performance on the job function.

Sound / Noise Control

Noise is known to have detrimental effects on the physical and mental mechanism of individuals. Secretarial work cannot be carried out efficiently if there is a constant interruption. Slamming of doors, sounds of footsteps on floor have remarkable influence on the moral and level of performance of secretarial careers.

Safety Measure

S.Mills and O. Standing ford has this to say; the health and safety at work act (19974) requires an employer to provide employee with a written statement of policy of the organization and arrangements pertaining to health and safety at work.

Every office should have a first aid kit the staff should be prepared in case of fire outbreak.

Office

In every well organized business there is the need for the record of its activities to be kept and protected. Office is where such activities are carried out and its record kept. The term office was first defined by Geoffery Whitehead, as a room or building where clerical processes are carried out to start, develop and control the many activities of business. Ronald Warson et al, defined office as the place where information is received, sorted, acted upon, filed and passed on. Many organizations have been said and written about the best way to ensure secretaries high performance on the job function and many people have argued that those secretaries have to be adequately motivated, in order to ensure effective job performance on their part. They outlined such motivational incentives as increasing salaries and wages, provision of certain social amenities such as free medical facilities, ensuring adequate recognition on the secretarial parts. All these motivational incentives would not increase the productivity of the professional secretarial career in Nigeria.

Function of an Office

With the growth in information requirements and developments of processing techniques which gives the office an increasing important position in the enterprise, the functions of an office have drastically increased.
Receiving information: One of the main function of an office is to receive information. These can be inform of orders, letters, fox, telephone calls, e-mails and reports from the various parts that the business covers etc.
Recording information: Information’s are recorded in the office as they come in such information record are; faxed messages phone calls, memoranda as well as other messages contained in there are recorded by the office for current and future use.

Arranging Information:

Information received and recorded are arranged in the office for management use. This brings the need for the information to be arranged to meet the requirement of the organization.

Giving Information:

since the office accumulates information of various kinds and shapes and since it is in the office that information is arranged in the form that organization require to give out this information to people who need them eg the prizes and weights of some goods, date, time and venue of examination such as WAEC, JCE etc.

Safeguarding Information and Assets:

It is the duties of an office work specially, “secretaries” to ensure the safety of the information so that it can be given out when needed. These information safeguard are; computers, photocopying machines, fax machines etc. these assets must be safeguard against fire outbreaks, thelf and other hazards.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain a study of sociological factors affecting professional secretarial career in Nigeria

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of a study of sociological factors affecting professional secretarial career in Nigeria


5.2 Summary

This study was on a study of sociological factors affecting professional secretarial career in Nigeria. Four objectives were raised which included:To know the challenges faces Prof. Secretaries in their job performance, to what extent do these challenges Prof. secretaries stability in the career, to know the measured could be taken to solve this problem, to identify’s those factors that affect secretaries on the job function. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected higher institutions. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up secretaries,senior lecturers junior lecturers and graduate assistants were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


5.3 Conclusion

Secretarial practice has been an important position within an organizational structure of any business operation but it always faces challenges and dilemmas and inferior perception granted to the studies of secretarial studies. The following are the basic conclusions that can be drawn as a result of the empirical research findings together with existing materials gathered such as the literatures reviewed. Generally, it is seems the major purpose of the secretarial profession for that matter secretaryship courses are being misplaced by the same authority who design the secretarial course programme. It appears that none of the secretarial course provides or associations and colleges make provision for a clear career path for secretaries or for people in that career to go to the top. It seems all is limited to the administrative and frontline office work or service. There is no enough publicity and popularity about the progress and career achievements of secretarial professionals. Secretary’s position seems to be under appreciated by many people in an organization


5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study the following recommendation is made: Both male and female candidates should be encouraged to enroll into secretarial studies programmes through the activities of their professional bodies and beneficiaries of the programmes. This is because the result of this study showed that there was no gender bias by both male and female in their choice of secretarial studies.


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