THE CHALLENGES OF SECRETARIES COPING WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGY (A CASE STUDY OF SELECT BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS IN ENUGU URBAN)
High productivity is the pursuit of every public corporation. To allow for this, it is therefore necessary that the organization should tackle target for which the organization was established. This project therefore, is undertaken to give actual background on the problems that affect secretaries on their jobs, their challenges, and the effect of these problems could lead to under utilization of secretaries, dissatisfaction with their jobs and lower productivity. Using observation, interview and questionnaire methods, it was found out that the secretaries were also affected with poor promotional morale, lack of adequate motivation, lack of modern equipment and poor conditions of employment compared with their counterparts. Also discussed were the challenges of secretaries in public corporations. The major finding was that there is poor promotional challenges in the secretarial profession. However, the appraisal of secretarial profession should be advocated because it will avail the organization the opportunity of paper utilization of the secretaries. The secretaries will be willing to put in their best on the job thereby enhancing productivity.
1.1 Background of the Study
Secretaries are seen in the secretarial world and business organization today, are faced with many problems.
A secretary according to Hornby (2001), “makes arrangement and appointments for a particular member of the staff.
The American secretarial association defined a secretary in the most acceptable way as “an assistant to an executive, possessing a mastery office skills and ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision who display initiatives exercises judgment and make decisions with the scope of assigned authority.”
A secretary can also be defined as a person who maintain a high standard of confidentiality and a repository of information. Infact, there are numerous definitions of the word secretary as far as there are many authors. With the above definition in mind, one can easily see that the need for a secretary in any corporation cannot be overemphasized.
A secretary is a major communicating link between the executive and his associates, the office staff and the public as a result of this important linking position, a secretary can play a vital role in helping to create and maintain a smooth running business office. These secretary seen as the bedrock and image of any business organization.
For a secretary to perform her functions efficiently and effectively, she must have undergone some educational training and obtained the basic office knowledge and skills to be efficient and effective on the job. A secretary is quite different from a clerk, a typist and other office workers.
However, for one to qualify as a secretary, she must have been taken courses in shorthand, typewriting, office practice, secretarial duties and must be fairly compute literature for easy adaptation in modern office.
Short hand and typewriting are the key working tools of a secretary and it is expected that any person who aspires to take up any secretarial post must have passed typewriting and shorthand within the following speed range 25-100 words per minute, 80-120 words per minute in typewriting and shorthand respectively.
It is not uncommon to see people who have only passed typewriting at any of the recognized speeds without shorthand or those that have typewriting and shorthand skills are referred to as secretaries. These categories skills are referred to as secretaries. These categories of secretaries are not qualified secretaries.
Some of the certificates recognized in our business organizations and of course our corporation for secretaries are Royal society of Arts Certificate, pitman certificate, Federal Technical College certificates, National Diploma certificate all in secretarial field obtained in the polytechnics, and colleges of Technology. Bordus Diploma of MC Can Erickson Advertising once said, professional training on a good secretarial course is the basic requirement for the would be top secretary.” It will keep her perform her duties efficiently and effectively.
A close look at some selected public corporations like the commercial bank (UBA), Microfinance bank and power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) revealed a lot of problems. For instance, in Nigeria Telecommunication (NITEL), Enugu the corporation stride towards meeting subscribers expectations has always be made impossible by some of those problems inherent in the organization.
In an attempt to remedy the problems in the organization, the federal Government as well as the management of the corporation has introduced a lot a innovations for the effective functioning of the corporation. The former post and Telecommunication (P and T) and the Nigeria External Telecommunication (NET) were incorporated into one department on January 1, 1985 and by June 1985, the department was split into NITEL and NIPOST (Nigerian Postal Services).
The Nigeria commercial bank is one of the many corporations owned fully and controlled by the Government of Nigeria. Hence, it is a public corporation which meant to provide adequate transportation through the rail system for the growing population of the country, to assist the commercial growth by carrying goods from the interiors to the urban cities. The Nigerian Railway Corporation can be traced back to the early colonial masters who ruled the country. The corporation was set up for profit purposes or social benefits of the population. A study into the Nigerian Railway Corporation shows a lot of irregularities. The organization has put in more efforts to improve its services both to workers and customers.
The other training corporation stressed on the impact of modern technology on their secretaries. The services of the secretarial profession work directly with the management of these organizations as support staff and they help in realizing effectively the missions and objectives of the organizations. Most of these objectives are geared towards resource management, which shows in the production, distribution and utilization of goods and services.
Today therefore, technology has become the center point of the secretary performance. The role of secretaries in the highly automated industries tends to become that of monitoring, maintaining and adjusting the equipment involved in the production process. Generally, in this era, those in the secretarial profession do not actually work on the product directly, rather, they maintain and monitor the equipment and records of operations. Those in the secretarial profession have tender opportunities to interact socially since the number of people with whom interaction may occur has been reduced and replaced by machine. The availability and the use of those modern technologies have led to increase in the job interest of secretaries. There is efficiency in production also; these are maximization of profits in organizations.
This immediate point is the challenges of the secretaries. In view of all these facts, the problems and challenges of the secretaries in these selected establishments are critically investigated in this study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The invention of computers (word processors) into the business and academic sectors which secretaries is not an exception, has exposed the secretary to acquire modern skills necessary to improve on the secretarial challenges. Storage facilities have been reduced to a small compact called disk. How reliable this medium of storage is, is still a mirage to the secretary. A file can remain as long as a secretary or an organization wants it to last.
The use of inter communications, audio-recording equipment and the likes has alienated the secretary from her boss that the interpersonal relationship which she used to enjoyed, is virtually not there. In this isolated situation, how can the secretary morally cope with the present day challenges?
Many other professions where major improvements were made in their scheme affect their “nomenclature” or the nature of their professions but of the secretary till date, has not experienced any change to reflect her present status with of the computer. Old “nomenclature” and the nature of their profession still remain and in use.
It is the purpose of this work, by the time it is completed, to make absolute recommendations and bring to light the challenges of the secretary in the present day dispensation.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to find out the problems facing the secretaries in relation to their job on selected establishments in Enugu State and make recommendations. The study specifically, aimed at:
1. Determining the cause of those problems, which affect the secretaries in these establishments?
2. Highlight the challenges of secretaries in a growing economy.
1.4 Significance of the Study
It is hope that this study will reveal the problems that the secretaries battles with and it will go away in finding ways of improving the performance of the professional which will lead to increased productivity and enhanced. The study will give more light on the major causes of these problems and then highlight what the employer should do to eliminate most of them in order to motivate the secretary towards achieving the corporation’s goals.