For decades now, fast changes have been taking place in all facets of human life including the office environment. This is as a result of technological advancement. Every office in today’s business world, be it government, industry or other human endeavors, require facts and accurate information for quick decision-making. The main aim of the study is to examine the impact of modern office technologies on secretaries’ level of productivity at the Edo north secretariat. This research uses the mixed-methods approach due to the capacity of the mixed-methods approach to enable the researcher to obtain a more complete view of the research problem being studied. In line with the objectives of the study and the data gathered from chapter four, the following conclusions have been reached;
- The local government has sufficient modern office equipment and technologies
- There is a high level of usage of these equipments
iii. The use of modern office equipment increase productivity of secretarial staff
- The secretarial staff believe they are highly productive.
1.1. Background to the study
For decades now, fast changes have been taking place in all facets of human life including the office environment. This is as a result of technological advancement. Every office in today’s business world, be it government, industry or other human endeavors, require facts and accurate information for quick decision-making. The office worker, including the secretary, expects certain support from the organization into which he/she is employed. This support can be technological (machines and equipment) and human. In offices of past, manager’s dictated memos and letters and secretaries typed them. Most recently, business have developed word processing centers and relied on personal computers and even electronic mail in an effort to lessen the need for secretarial support and make the employee-secretary very productive (Ezoem, 1995; Osuala, 2004).
As a result of changes in technology, the role of secretaries in business 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 including the internet that make work much 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 photo-copy machines, duplicating machines, dictating machines, printers, among others. 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 word processing, which help the user to write and edit memos, letters and reports, data management programs or databases, which help the user/ secretary to use long lists of data and spreadsheet programs, which handle tables and numbers (Dulek 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 goods and services globally (Wofersohn, 2001). There are wide range of office machines and equipment which now enable secretaries to improve their performances. Such new machines take the form of electronic typewriters that have replaced the manual ones. Word processors with milt-purpose facilities, computers and other sophisticated office machines and equipment are now provided by employers. Some of the physical equipment used by secretaries includes computer communication equipment and electronic pocket organizers (Lucas, 1997). New technological equipment that has altered the procedures and technique for office functions include the computers, electronic mail/ commerce, voice mail, and the Internet.
However, these new developments brought by technological challenges require even more knowledge and skills beyond being a professional secretary. For the secretary to be abreast with the changing times, face the challenges and overcome the old ways of doing things she or he needs training requirements in recent times to help meet organizational objectives. Information technology has affected many professions in recent times. The roles of secretarial professionals have been turned around by technology. It has provided the tools that shift the role of secretaries from that of information recorders to business strategists (Appah and Emeh, 2011). Several other authors are of the view that the secretary has to be well equipped to meet the present challenges of a modern office.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
An automated office, undoubtedly, offers new roles and responsibilities for the secretary. Such new roles presuppose that additional training and qualifications are required from the secretaries. The relevance of automation in business was identified by Aromolaran (2003) as follows
i.) Creating a distinct career path for the secretary.
ii.) Automation creates a prominent place for the secretary on the organization chart.
iii.) It creates routine and assigned roles for the secretary.
iv.) With automation the secretary now spends less time in correcting, revising, proof-reading and reproducing documents.
Cameron (1982), a very long time ago, commented that it takes up to 10 to 15 years between the introduction of new equipment in the market and its installation in small organizations. This is particularly peculiar to private business organizations in developing countries. In modern times, it is not uncommon to find some organizations still subjecting secretaries to the use of manual typewriters. When secretaries are not provided with efficient and effective working tools, productivity is definitely bound to be low.
Duniya (2011) also observed that due to the introduction of sophisticated technological (electronic) office equipment into today’s office and the role secretaries need to play in ensuring accuracy and efficiency in their jobs, the secretaries need to meet the challenges by acquiring new skills and competencies for efficient operations in the electronic office. There is continuous advancement in technology which has affected the secretarial profession in terms of the quality, speed and accuracy of works performed.
This study is therefore undertaken in order to gain understanding about the impact of modern office technologies on secretaries’ productivity at Edo north.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study
The main aim of the study is to examine the impact of modern office technologies on secretaries’ level of productivity at the Edo north secretariat. Specifically, the research aims at achieving the following objectives.
- To ascertain the range of new office technologies existent
- To investigate the level of usage of these new office technologies
- To identify the level of productivity of the secretaries
1.4 Research Questions
In order to achieve the objectives of this study a number of questions would be explored. Consistent with the topic and objectives the following questions will guide the study;
- What are new office technologies?
- What range of new office technologies exist?
- What is productivity and how is it measured?
- Does the introduction of office technologies impact on secretaries’ productivity?
1.5 Scope of the Study
Geographically, the study covers the Edo north secretariat, which is in Edo state as a case study. Contextually, the study focuses modern office technologies and their impact on secretaries’ productivity.
1.6 Significance of the Study
To date, just a handful studies have been published that looks at modern office technologies and secretaries’ productivity in African nations and more particularly, in Nigeria. This study intends to contribute to a greater comprehension of the subject of matter. From a practitioner’s perspective, the results of the study will provide a benchmark that can be used in assessing the effectiveness of the implementation of new office technologies in an office environment as well as define key productivity factors.
Finally, this study will provide a foundation for future researches as this will serve as a motivation for many researchers to further examine other aspects of the subject matter.
1.7 Scope/limitation of the study
The study on Modern office technologies and challenges facing secretaries in Edo North Secretaries will be carried at the Edo north local government secretariat.
Limitations of the Study
Indeed, there is the anticipation of various challenges which may be encountered as the researcher undertakes this study. However, measures have been established in to curtail the said challenges. Some of those challenges could be: difficulty in retrieving data, limited time for the study, and the financial commitments. This called for the limited and careful selection of population and samples of the study into a manageable one and the requirement of immense work in data sourcing and information mining from the respective bodies.
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