IMPACT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON THE SECRETARIAL PROFESSION
Information Technology that is formally known as modern office machines are widely been used in our offices today. It is usually been used in order to facilitate office work and reduces labour cost. The aim of this study is to determine the extent the Information Technology (IT) has helped the secretary in the dissemination/execution of his or her daily routine works. Prior to the technological development in offices, clerical works were done manually. But today the invention of some equipment such as word processor, computer, electronic typewriter, facsimile transceiver, accounting machines and telephone etc. The purpose of this study is to investigate into the secretarial profession in order to find out the effects, which the use of these modern office equipment have on the job performance of the secretary. And in order to determine these, I designed questionnaires, which were distributed to secretaries and their boss. After analyzing their responses, I found out among others that modern office machine enhances the efficiency of the secretary. I also found out that secretaries were satisfied with their job because they are now using modern office equipment. Based on my findings, I recommended that business organizations that are still making use of obsolete gadgets should replace them with the modern office machines in order to enhance the job performance of their secretaries. I also recommended that institution of higher learning should procure this modern equipment to be used in the training prospective secretaries. The scope of this research work is limited to some business organizations in Port-Harcourt metropolis, Rivers State.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
According to the topic, the key word Secretary comes from Latin word “Secret”. Originally, it means one entrusted with the secrets and confidences of a superior. Personal Secretary, being a skilled and specialized type of employee in an establishment is entrusted with some aspects of organizational functions in the unit including dealing with people, correspondence and other business matters, especially private or confidential matters. Secretarial profession had started as far back as 1920. Prior to the advent of Technological facilities improvement, such as computer, word processor, and Electric typewriter etc. Secretaries used reed pen in taking shorthand dictations, processing minutes and letters, that rather makes their job boring and less interesting.
During the industrial revolution at the turn of the century, businesses offices faced a paper-work crisis. And Secretary solved the crisis by adapting well to new technologies such as adding and calculating machines, telephone and electric typewriter. Today, secretaries who are also known as administrative assistants, office co-coordinators, executive assistants etc, are using computers, Internet and other advance office technologies to perform vital “Information management” functions in the modern office. Secretaries no longer simply type correspondence for the boss. But now, they often write that correspondence as well as plan meeting, organize data using spreadsheet and database management.
In 1960’s the Information Technology came into existence, and it is a set of standards covering all processes involved in the development of an integrated computer database management. Information system, that are used today by the secretaries in the normal execution of their routine works.
The evolution of Information Technology (IT) was traced back to the age of Abacus Computer by the Egyptians around, 3,000 BC. It was used for the systematic calculation of the arithmetic and numeric operations. At the sometime “the Boroughs Machine” has been developed to hold business information. Later, Charles Babge developed a machine known as “Analog Computer”, this device have provision for input data, storing information, performing arithmetic operations and printing out results.
In 1970’s, the fist small computers known as “minis” and “Midis” were available which used floppy disks, Unix for storage of information and display of information that has been stored in the system. These mini Computers include IBM PC, Electric typewriter, Word processor and Apple computers. This information technology development had improved communication, unlike before whereby information were delivered through post office, which consumed a lot of time. But today with aid of information technology you can reach somebody anywhere in a matter of a minute without much stress.
In those days, there was nothing like inter-com telephones that can linked various units or departments in an organization in order to save personal secretaries time and energy spent in running errands within the organization. As against the traditional office, the modern office has a lot of activities to perform with help of modern office machines. Moreover, these information technology gadgets act as an important tool in secretary’s job and minimize likely fraud, which could arise from numerous mathematical calculations done in the office. And the result to a greater output than that of a secretary using manual equipment. This development in Information technology has improved he effectiveness of secretaries in attaining their objectives in various organizations.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem of this study is to determine the extent the modern office equipment has helped the secretary in the performance of her duties. In solving this problem, the researcher would investigate the following areas: a. The job satisfaction the secretary derives from the use of this modern office equipment in performing her duties. b. The quality and accuracy of work done using the equipment. c. The amount of time needed to perform a task using the equipment. d. Reduction of cost brought about by the installation of these modern office machines.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
1. The purpose of information technology (IT) is to improve and control communication flow within an organization and outside the organization.
2. To find whether these machines actually improve their productivity.
3. To find out whether the training received at school by secretaries is adequate to enable them perform in an automated office.
4. To determine the level of experience of the secretary.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The trends in use of Modern machines and growing urge of everybody to known and experience, to enjoy the distinctive features of a technological society are rapid. This had instigated the researcher to have vested interest in this topic so as to find. Out how satisfied the secretaries that are using these modern office machines are and how efficient they use them in their work places to reduce their manual operations and physical activities in offices. The outcome of this study will be beneficial to the following:
1. To secretaries, because it will create tremendous impact on their duties.
2. To the suppliers of this modern office machines, as this will fetch them money, if their product’s performance creditable.
3. To prospective secretaries who are yet to join the labour force to become aware of the importance of possessing a mastery of skill of Information technology equipment.
4. To the readers of this work especially to students because it will be a source of added knowledge to them.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The researcher restricted her work on the impact of information Technology on the secretarial profession, to some Business Organizations in Port-Harcourt Metropolis. Such as
1. Exmark Technologies Ltd
2. First Bank PLC
3. Standard Trust Bank PLC
4. National institute of information technology center (NIIT)
5. Secretariat office Port Harcourt.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following questions were designed by the researcher to make her reach precise conclusion.
1. Do information technology machines aid secretary in performance of her jobs?
2. Does information technology influence secretarial job?
3. Are the orientations and training acquired by the secretaries enough, to enable them use these information technology equipment efficiently and effectively?
4. Do information technology machines replace the work of secretaries in an organization?
5. Do secretaries derive job satisfaction from the use of these modern office gadgets?
6. Does the use of information technology equipment enhance the secretary’s job output?
7. Do companies or organizations benefit from the use of information technology equipment?
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In respect of this study, the following terms are defined and explained in order to understand the full meanings by the reader:
a. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: These are the more mechanized machines that have been using in the modern offices, e.g. word processor, computer services and other electronic machines that required at least less human efforts.
b. DATA BASE: It refers to a group of related records and files. Libraries mostly keep database to help them manage their collection of books. A computer-based allows you use a database more efficiently than you would have imagined using paper records.
c. INTERNET: The Internet, which is a worldwide network that are interconnected. It provides the following on-line services:
Electronic Mail (e-mail) – Allows you to send and receive messages to and from any computer connected locally or internationally to the Internet via a service provider.
World Wide Web (www) – This is graphical interface based on the multimedia framework that makes it possible to have text, picture, video and sound on the pages to be accessed. Surveying the Web can be a pleasurable experience when visiting the sites of companies and even individual on the net, discovering new ideas and meeting new friends.
EVOLUTION: This process of developing into a different form. Something that works out gradually. The development of some modern offices machines have under gone many ages before the era of this technology which we are in today, i.e. from the age of Digital to Analog computer.
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