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THE ROLE OF SECRETARIES AS A PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER

Format: MS WORD  |  Chapter: 1-5  |  Pages: 45  |  1029 Users found this project useful  |  Price NGN3,000

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THE ROLE OF SECRETARIES AS A PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Until quite recently, employers of labour and other members of the public had the perception those secretaries role in a work environment are only confide to scribing shorthand and hitting the typewriter. It was equally perceived that secretary’s role in the office is related to women’s role in the family. Hence the application of these two related adages ”the women place is in the kitchen”. Coincidentally, development and technological in Nigeria in particular and the world as a whole has come into play by reforming these wrong perceptions. Just as women are fighting for women liberation, secretaries have gotten numerous qualitative recognition attributable to the significant roles they play in organizations in which they find themselves.

The word “secretary” is derived from the Latin word “secretaries” which means something that is known to one person or few persons but hidden from the views of others. In other words, it means secret. A secretarial staff is an officer with professional qualifications of a secretary and is equipped with the knowledge of general secretarial practice embodied mainly on shorthand and typewriting. But in recent time, secretaries are looked down upon on the employment list. They are regarded as ‘YES SIR” clique and no wonder their highest level in any ministerial establishment does not extend beyond grade level 13. This bad attitude towards secretarial staff has succeeded in debarring some new entrants into the profession and as such half baked ones arose to take the position, hence they know how to hit the typewriter. This bad impression about the roles of a secretary was clearly manifested in the case of Barnett Hoaves and company vs South London Tramway when Lord Esher (1887) noted that “a secretary is a mere servant, his position was to do what he was asked to do and no person can assume that he has any authority to represent anything at all.

The researcher in the course of this study will trace the role of a secretary in an organization as it pertains to public relations. It will compare the role of today’s secretary with that of the yester years because according to Lord Denning (1971) in the case between Panoroma Development Ltd Vs Fidelis Furnishing Fabrics, he ruled “… but times have changed. A secretary is a much more important person nowadays than she was in 1887. She is an administrative officer of the company. As regards matters concerning administrative in my judgement, the secretary has ostensibly authority to sign contracts on behalf of the company.  Furthermore, if a company is hiring cars to meet its foreign customers at the airport, nothing to my mind is more important than that the company would hire these cars through its secretary”.

1.2    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Over the years, the significant roles of secretaries have relegated to the background. That is to say, secretaries are known to be working behind the scene. They are wrongly perceived to be those group in an employment list who are keenly interested in taking orders from the boss and complying to such instructions sheepishly without applying their own natural sense, training or professional initiatives. Moreso, most employers have the impression that everyone who is a secretary has the same kind of job description. In fact, they fail to understand that secretarial work covers a whole collection of tasks often involving quite contrasting skills. The fact that most secretaries start off with training based on common techniques, such as shorthand, typing and office procedures, frequently distinguished the completely different directions in which secretarial work develop.

The term “SECRETARY” has come to be used far too loosely. Many junior typists, who are more or less like “mango –tree” typists like to think themselves secretaries. It also flatters young managers, who are seeking to build up their importance to refer to the typist who prepares their letters and reports, as their secretary, all in an effort to boost their ego. No wonder Eleanor et al (1980) p.d in his book tried to distinguish these defects in people’s perception of the role of secretaries with what it is supposed to be. He maintained that “The true secretary, however, should have not only have highly competent manual skills but an understanding of organizational and administration capacity for obtaining result through people on behalf of her manager or managers. However, those wrong perceptions or belittling of secretary’s role in organizations have caused an immeasurable harm to secretarial profession by dissuading some young men and women who might have had some interest in taking secretaryship as a profession. Furthermore, many have complained of undynamic nature of secretarial job. By this, the researcher means that routine job of a secretary has made people to believe that she usually sit tight in the office no movement at all. She comes first to the office and will be the last to leave. For this reason, the secretary may have to suffer some kind of blockage on other things that happens in the society. With all these problems in view, this project has come to address all the issues as it pertains to the role of a secretary in general and how these roles are linked with or seen as a public relations functions.

1.3    OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

It is worthy to note that the society is static about development. Every year marks a particular change, addition or reformation to business activities in the society. Secretarial field or profession is not left out.

·  This research is therefore aimed at discovering some innovations on the roles of modern days secretaries.

·  It will also discuss extensively on those roles played by secretaries and how they can be seen as a public relations function.

·  Another objective of this research is to expose the prospects of secretaries thereby encourage new entrants into the professions.

1.4       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

Indeed, the writer of this project would have preferred making a comparative study of as many establishments as possible but owing to certain constraints, she resolved to Enugu East Local Government as a case study.

1.5     RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The research questions are as follow:

(i)  Do secretaries play any role as a Public Relations?

(ii)  What are those roles of a secretary that are linked up with Public Relation?

(iii)  Can any or all of these roles be improved through training?

1.6     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The importance of this study which centres on the roles of a secretary as a Public Relations Officer cannot be over-emphasized. Firstly, the study will assist in enlightening members of the public or the readers on the enviable roles which secretaries play in an organization, especially those that contributes to the advancement of public relations outfit of a firm. Secondly, this enlightenment shall in no small measures brush up the public on the latest or an ideal perception of what secretarial work entails. Thirdly, the study, after evaluation of the magnanimity of public relations roles of secretaries will advice mangers to relate mutuality with practicing secretaries. Fourthly, the successful completion of this work will contribute in building up the body of literature which is still lacking in the field.

1.7    DEFINITION OF TERMS

Secretary: A Person that sees to all the clerical works in the office.

Secretaries: Latin word which means something that is known to one or few persons but hidden to others.

Clique: A group of people with related life or a known behaviour.

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