The aim of this project is to access the Effect of Modern Technology on Secretarial Performance, and also the problems secretaries’ face where there is a technological change or innovation in the office.
The researchers selected Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu as a case study. Questionnaires were distributed, and collected data were analyzed and presented in tables using a simple percentage formula.
From the data collected, it was found that if a new modern office machine is introduced, there is the need for the secretaries to be trained to be able to understand the language of the new machine and also be able to use it well. Secretaries should be sent on training and retraining programme from time to time to meet up with the various challenges and advance technologically. The automated office equipments should be acquire by employers of labour to enable secretaries cope with high demand for accurate, neat and urgent dissemination of information.
Most importantly, recommendations were made based on findings to enhance secretarial performance. The researchers believe that if all the recommendations are implemented, this research work will be of immense benefit to secretarial career, students and employers and institutions that train secretaries.
1.1 Background of the study
The secretarial functions and its effectiveness depends much on the availability of office technology and equipments, as well as the skills and competencies of the secretary. Many organizations have come to appreciate the role and importance of the secretary, and also the need of providing the needed office machines and equipments for the efficacy of the secretary’s performance of his/her functions.
For decades now, fast changes have been taking place in all facets of life including the office environment. This is as a result of technological advancement. Every office today requires facts and accurate information for quick decision- making and high productivity.
The office worker including the secretary expects certain supports from the organization into which he/she is employed. This support can be technological (machines and equipments) and human. In the past offices, manager dictates memo and letters, while the secretary types them. Most recently, word processors have been developed and used, personal computers are relied on and even electronic mail in an effort to lesson the need for secretarial supports and make the employee (secretary) very productive, (Ezoem 1995, Osuala 2004)
As a result of the changes in technology, the role of the secretary 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/automation including the Internet that makes work 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 photocopying machine, duplicating machines, dictating machines, and printing machines etc. 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:
a. Word processor, which helps the user (secretary) to write and edit memos, letters and reports.
b. Data management programs or data based, which
helps the user (secretary) to use long lists of data.
c. Spreadsheet programes, which handles tables and numbers. (Duller 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 good and services.
The office of today is highly mechanized/automated. In many companies, the rate of turnover among office employee continues to be high with the result that proposed reduction in manpower requirements, are compensated by these technological innovations. Many people have wrong views of who a secretary is, some takes a secretary for a typist, clerk or a receptionist in the paper on the impact of modern technology in today’s offices (Nerner 1972)
Having said much on the general effects, it is good to talk or see how modern technology affects the secretary one by one. Technology has greatly affected secretarial performance much to the improvement of the profession. Technology has completely enveloped secretarial performance in a way that it is now safe for one to say that without technology, there is no effective secretarial performance.
Some of the ways by which technology has affected secretarial performance includes:
a. The speed and accuracy with which documents are produced are unrevealed in the history of human skills (Ukeje 2000)
b. Technology has enriched secretarial job and this enrichment has resulted job satisfaction on the side of the secretaries. (Harding 1985).
c. Technology has brought the whole world to the secretary’s table he takes organization to the world and brings the world to the organization. For this reason, every member of the organization including his boss respects him (NAPSSON 2002).
d. Technology is gradually revising the general misconception and poor perception of secretaries in the society. Instead of their downgrading, they are now being respected and instead of looking down on secretaries as in previous cases, they are now being looked upon (NAPSSON 2002).
e. Technology has broadened the scope of secretarial performance it has severed the secretary from the derogatory appendage status to an independent member of the organization, information manager and custodian of organizational information reservoir.(NAPSSON2000).
1.2 Statement of the problem
It was discovered that many secretaries graduate with low knowledge and skills of operating machines like computer, duplicating machines etc. because of inadequacy (Okonye 1992). However most secretaries have problem in their workplace, because they were unable to operate these machines.
Another problem uncounted by secretaries is technological unemployment, which sometimes result from advancement in technology. The most common technological unemployment occurs especially when workers have no knowledge of the newly improved equipment. This problem may result to the displacement of the secretary.
Furthermore on the problem is that most of the machines are very costly ands most small- scale organization finds it difficult to afford them. When they are able to acquire them, they find it difficult to sponsor their secretaries for the required training.
This study is focus on investigating the extent to which these modern technology, contributes positively or negatively to the secretarial performance.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The objective of this research work is:
a. To determine if modern technology really contributes to the secretary’s unemployment.
b. To determine if modern technology truly enhance the effective performance of the secretary.
c. To suggest how secretaries should ensure efficiency and improvement in their performance.
1.4 Significance of the study
The significance of the study arises due to vital role modern technology plays in the secretarial performance:
a. Since computers, which enables information to be communicated rapidly are available in most of our offices, secretaries should have knowledge of these new facilities to avoid inferiority complex.
b. This study will offer suggestions to secretaries on the ways of improving and encouraging them with the use of these modern technological facilities.
c. The study will also give suggestions to the management and governments to provide all these modern facilities and also training institutions for secretaries.
1.5 Research Questions
As a guide to the study, the following research questions have been formulated.
1. Is your office automated or equipped with modern technological machine?
2. Do modern technological facilities encourage secretaries to pass information rapidly throughout the organizations?
3. Does the innovation of these modern technological gadgets affect the attitude of secretaries?
4. Does the introduction of modern technological facilities, contributes to the elimination of secretaries from their job?
1.6 Delimitation of the study
This research work is limited Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, where the management staff and students from selected departments were interacted with and the information gathered sufficiently validated the research work.
1.7 Limitations of the study
This research was hindered by many factors, among which are: unfriendly attitude of our target respondents, also is the problem of and finding suitable materials. Again the distribution and collection of questionnaires seems very difficult to come by. , some communication difficulties coupled with the problem of respondent’s failure to return their completed questionnaires.
On the problem of finance and transportation in which the researchers has to pay several visits to offices and lecture rooms and had to wait for several hours on each visit to enable the respondents collect and return the questionnaires and pay attention to the oral questions and finally supplied answers. There was also meager time to carry out this research work.
1.8 Definition of terms
For the purpose of this research work, the following key words are defined as follows;
a. AUTOMATION; This means the use of machines to perform the routine functions formally done by people or manually.
b. COMPUTER; It is an electronic device that accepts data inform of input, process the data and produce an output, it also stores and retrieve information.
c. SECRETARY: This is employee who combines the major skills of stenography with competence of filing, reprographics and telephone techniques in the performance of his/her duties.
d. REPROGRAGPY: It is producing several copies of documents out of the original copy.
e. VALIDATE: It means to show that something is reasonable or logical.
f. PERFOMANCE: This is the ability to do something.
g. MODERN TECHNOLOGY: This is the newly innovated and improved machine manufactured in industries.