The study examined the effects of information technology on the performance of secretaries in the front office. Survey research design was adopted in the study in order to assess the opinions of the selected respondents with the use of 13 item questionnaire. Three research questions and hypothesis were raised to guide the study. Data obtained were analyzed using simple sample techniques, frequency and percentages while hypotheses were tested using Chi Square. The findings of the study showed that ICT application has impacted positively on the secretarial profession. It was also noted that the adoption of ICT has reduced the employment rate of secretaries and those employed stand the chance of retrenchment. Finally, it was also noted that most secretaries do not encounter problem using ICT but the maintenance and procurement is a problem. Based on the finding, the following recommendations were made that organization should make adequate provision for ICT and necessary infrastructure should be provided so that the secretaries will be efficient and accurate in the performance of their duty, the secretaries should endeavour to update their knowledge as at when due so as to be well abreast of the modern office equipment, Efforts at training students/ pupils on ICT as a course should be intensified in the school curriculum and proper awareness and enlightment programme should be provided.
1.1 Background of the Study
Information technology (ICT) is generally regarded as the fourth industrial revolution in the world (Asakpa, 2003). Indeed ICT has become the gateway to the modern information skills and orientation (ISO) which distinguish the world order. ICT in secretarial field can be understood as the application of digital gadget to all aspects of secretarial duties. Within the context of secretarial profession, ICT is described as the combination of technology for collecting, storing, processing, file management, diary keeping, communicating and delivering of information relating to secretarial processes (Oladimeji 2003). The spread and efficiency of ICT is critical to the achievement of secretarial goal (Obanya 2002). ICT involves the application of all aspect of the use of computer, micro electronic devices, satellite and communication technology.
The national policy on ICT (2001), describe ICT as any equipment that is used in the acquisition, storage, manipulation management, control, display, switching and transmission of information. In other dimension, ICT is conceptualized as communication in whatever forms used, assessed, relayed and transmitted to communicate, send and receive information. Application and utilization of these devices converts information, text, messages, sound and motion to digital form. In an office situation, ICT influences the secretarial behavior of the secretaries through training and retraining. It is an integral component of secretarial duties. Since the role of a secretary involves managerial and clerical function.
The potential of ICT as an effective tool to promote efficiency and meet present day secretarial challenges in the organization is not in doubt. The federal government of Nigeria approved a national ICT policy in March 2001 and implementation started in April of that same year. With the establishment of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), charged with the implementation of the policy, the federal government recognized that private service providers have enormous capacity for ICT services. Accordingly government setup the Nigeria National ICT for development of ICT4D, strategic action plan committee to develop a new road map for the nation.
ICT has positively affected the secretarial profession in all ramification such that no nation can escape this transforming movement driven forward by the engines of the internet and the modern day invention like the computer, fax machines, GSM and so on. This implies that secretaries for the survival of their profession now have to put their very destines in ICT. Recent findings, have shown that the introduction and application of ICT into the secretarial profession improved the performance of the secretaries in every organization. Recent studies have shown also that the application of ICT makes the secretary work less and accurately (Ogunsiji and Aregbe 2010). Lasisi (2005) is also of the view that ICT has upgraded the function of a secretary and has removed the boredomness of using a typewriter. The cyber revolution has started to redefine secretarial profession, creating new self Image, creativities and innovation, and an ever expanding technological framework. However, the new challenges of ICT and the excitement they are causing do not seems to permeate the entire society.
In early modern time, numbers of nobles have secretaries who functioned quite similarly to those of the present day. They are men who had good command of several languages including Latin, and were required to have what we could consider today as a broad generalized education. Following the renaissance, men continued to dominate clerical and secretarial roles until late 1880’s when the new writing machine was invented that welcomed the entering of women into the profession.
In 1942, the National Secretaries Association (NSA) was formed (now know as the International Association of Administrative professional).NSA first administered the certificate of professional secretaries examination in 1951. The history of secretarial profession in Nigeria can be traced back to the arrival of the missionaries and the colonial masters. Information technology have restricted the role of the secretary through the elimination of monotonous aspect of paper holding and filling. As a result, the secretary would likely have more time for work that involve human behavioural aspect. There is no doubt about the fact that ICT has contributed greatly to the secretarial profession. The coverage of this research work is to examine the effect of information technology on the performance of secretaries in the office.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Defficiency of the typewriter and the duties of the secretary in the office has affected the organizational framework directly and indirectly, which slows the efficiency of the front office. There has been a lot of research efforts in other to recommend or find a lasting solution to the challenges of the secretaries in the office but their are still lapes. This study examines the effect of information technology on the performance of secretaries in the office.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1. To examine the impact of information technology on secretaries in offices.
2. To examine the problems of information technology to the secretarial profession.
3. To identify how the application of ICT has promoted efficiency of the front office.
1.4 Research Questions
1. To what extents has the use of ICT impacted on the secretarial profession and individual secretary.
2. What are the problems encountered by secretaries in their use of ICT.
3. Can the adoption of ICT in an organization lead to retrenchment of secretaries in an organization.
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho1: Problems encountered by secretaries will not significantly affect their use of ICT.
Ho2: The use of ICT has no significant impact on the secretarial profession and the individual secretary.
Ho3: There is no significant relationship between adoption of ICT and retrenchment of secretaries.
1.6 Significant of the Study
It is intended to study the effect of ICT on the secretaries and indentify factors that do not allow for better performance of the secretaries. This study will also create awareness to the individual secretary as it will enlighten them on the roles of ICT in the desk office. The study will identify what lesson need to be learned on how ICT lessons can be applied in a consistent way in order to help secretaries put up good secretarial attribute in the performance of their duties. The study will also assess the effect of ICT in the office and on the secretaries and profer solutions.
1.7 Scope of the Study
With regards to the project topic in question, the research has been narrowed down to Straco Insurance Company, Zenith Bank, University of Lagos, Yaba Local Government office and Shomolu Local Government office.
There are many difficulties encountered by the researcher in gathering useful information for this study, It is limited by time, material and financial constraints.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Some key concept in the research work are hereby defined for better understanding of the reader.
Information Technology: It is used to lower the range of information in various forms in particular to computer, digital electronic and telecommunication.
Secretary: An administrative assistant who has good mastering of office skills and ability to assume responsibilities without direct supervision, displays, initiatives, exercise judgement, makes decision with the scope of his/her ability.
Secretarial Education: It is an aspect of business course that offer knowledge and training in clerical services.
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