Competency Required Of Secretaries In Selected Business Establishment. (a Case Study Of First Bank Of Nigeria Plc.

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This research is aimed at identifying competencies required by secretaries  in First Bank Nigeria Plc., Enugu.  In carrying out the study, questionnaires were developed and administered on secretaries and their bosses in First Bank Nigeria Plc., Enugu.  After the analysis of the data, the following were found, competency required of secretaries include sound judgment, tactfulness, resourcefulness, good communication still and organizing ability.

The study also found out that modern technology has positive effect on the competence requirement of compete secretaries and managers. It was also found that secretaries have positive impact on organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

The following recommendations were made: Secretaries should be sent on regular training programmes and seminars especially where required competence is lacking, there should also be constant appraisal to maintain the competence required of secretaries.




Title Page                                                                                 i


Certification                                                                              ii

Dedication                                                                                iii

Abstract                                                                                   iv

Acknowledgement                                                                    vi

Table of Content                                                                       vii


Introduction                                                                             1

1.1             Background of the study                                                 1

1.2             Statement of the problem                                                 5

1.3             Purposes of the study                                                      6

1.4             Research question                                                           7

1.5             Significance of the study                                                  7

1.6             Scope/delimitation of the study                                        8

1.7             Definition of terms                                                           9


2.0             Review of related literature                                               12

2.1             The concept of competence                                            12

2.2             The duties of a secretary                                                  19

2.3             Definition and meaning of competency                             20

2.4             Requirement of competent secretary                                23

2.5             Review of studies on competence                                    25

2.6             Summary of review of related literature                             28

CHAPTER THREE              

Research methodology                                                              29

3.0             Introduction                                                                    29

3.1             Design of the study                                                         29

3.2             Population of the study                                                    30

3.3             Sample size and sampling technique                                 30

3.4             Research instrument                                                        30

3.5             Validity of the instrument                                       31

3.6             Administration of the instrument and retrieval          31

3.7             Data analysis method                                                       32


Data analysis and presentation                                                   33

4.1     Findings and discussion                                                  44


Summary, conclusion and recommendations                              48

5.1     Conclusion                                                                     49

5.2     Recommendation                                                            49

5.3     Limitation of the study                                                     51

Reference                                                                                 52

Questionnaire                                                                            54





Secretaries play important roles in the implementation of the office work.  The nature of their jobs is universally acknowledged as indispensable in caring out their duties effectively in the offices.  Despite the indispensable nature of the secretary’s functions, the secretary continues to be seen as an executive assistant.  This is more so when many writers have defined secretary in different ways and from their various definitions we will see that secretaries have so much functions to perform, which are the most indispensable functions in every organization.

The word “Secretary” is derived from the  Latin word “Secretarius” meaning, something known only to one or few and kept secret or hidden from the views or knowledge of others.

According to Advance Learners Dictionary of current English< a secretary is “an employee in an office who deals with correspondence, keeps records, makes arrangements and appointment for a particular member of staff or other organizations”.  She is one who combines or has mastery skills of shorthand and typewriting, and with a sound knowledge of secretarial duties.  According to Stanwell et al, (1979), a secretary is a staff who is concerned with the preparation. Presentation and transmission of all type of communications as well as the conventional secretarial duties of confidential nature at various levels.

The company and Allied Matters Act of 1990, s.273 (1) stated that “a secretary is an executive assistant who possess a mastery of office skills”.

Copeland, L.,  (1980), in his Encyclopedia of useful information states that a successful secretary must have stenographic skill, a clear and intelligent understand of the rules and personality as a result of good training and exposure.

Mr. Aniche G.C, (1990), aptly defined a secretary as “the window in the organization”.

Hanna et al, (1974), in her book, Secretarial Procedures and Administration, defines the modern secretary as an executive assistant, who possesses a mastery of skills, who demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision and who makes decision within the scope of assigned authority.

The National Secretaries Association of United States has defined as secretary as an executive assistant who possesses a mastery of office skills, who demonstrates ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, who exercises initiatives and judgment and who makes decisions within the scope of assigned authority.  However, the pertinent question is in what way does the secretary assist the executive?  The answer to this question is partly individualistic and partly organization dependent.

For the boss, the secretary can be described as his indispensable assistant who possesses mastery of office skills, demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility without direction or supervision, exercises initiative and judgment, and makes decisions within the scope of assigned authorities.  Eni, 91987), Also she serves as the interlace in the organization’s public relations image.  She therefore, is a vital link between the public and the organization which makes Duru, (1991), to say that the secretary.

Must maintain a good relationship with members of the public, as the attitude of the secretary would have repercussions for a field”.  In any business setting, be it industry, government, scientific, radio and television as in a list of other fields, the person who ensure the efficient and smooth running of the office is the secretary, “she must be intelligent versatile with initiative and drive National Concord, (27th December, 1991).  Says that a secretary needs to be more,

“Social mentally flexible, emotional stability and

exercising good judgment as perhaps

the most important  qualifications of a secretary”.

She serves a multi-disciplinary function, and is also the vital ink in coordinating various activities, Eni, (1996).  Being an intermediary between the organization and the public on one hand and between the boss and the rest of the staff on the other hand, the secretary must be of sound judgment and must be able to take right decision even in the absence of her boss.  It is perhaps on this rather than anything else lies the competence of the secretary.  Competence is defined as the ability to perform work activities to the standards required in employment. It embodies the ability to transfer skills and knowledge to new situation within the occupational area.  It encompasses organizing and planning of work, innovation and coping with no-routine activities.  It includes those qualities of personal effectiveness required in the work place to deal with co-workers, managers and customers, Sheila, (1990).



There is a tendency to judge the competence of a secretary by ill-defined references.  These references for competence, like the role of the secretary, is both individualistic and organization dependent. Some judge the competence of a secretary based on the secretarial skill of the secretary mainly on typing and shorthand.  Others on the speed with which such skills are performed and still others on the personal attributes of the secretary such as punctuality, reliability, tact, discretion, mannerism, organizing ability and mode of dressing.

However, there is tendency to the term modern secretaries (executive secretaries) as part of the management team.  Thus, with this trend, the judgment of competence of the secretary is also looked at differently.  Perhaps, this made Whitehead, (1977) to say that, it is not enough to perform all secretarial skills which all executive need, or event he personal attributes such as, punctuality, discretion and tact which the good secretary displays.  The secretary has to become a valuable part of the management team, knowing fully well about the policies of the organization and that of his boss’s work.  One must also stress that machine operation (e.g. Computer), book keeping, accounting adequate knowledge of the boss’s work are also referral points in judging the competence of a secretary.

The problem now is, who is the competent secretary? Who do we describe as competent? What qualities are required of a competent secretary/ This is what the researcher intends to look at critically in order to make valid suggestion for the betterment of the secretarial profession.


1.3            PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this research is to find out the qualities of a competent secretary.  Strategically, this research is set out to study and possibly identify the nature and major problems in the concept and practice of secretarial competence, which has virtually crippled the administration of most business establishments.  The researcher will therefore, look into the specific or different secretaries’ competence.

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Competency Required Of Secretaries In Selected Business Establishment.