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According to the research made concerning the relationship between a worker’s life and his job, stress is assuming as number one killer disease in the modern world. The aim of this work was to find out the effect of stress on secretaries job performance, what factors caused this stress and how their effects were manifested and could be controlled. To do this, literature review relating to the effect of stress on workers especially the secretary worker, was conducted. A questionnaire was drawn up with which data were collected. This was also supplemented by face-to-face interviews with secretaries and observation. The researcher from data analysis find out that secretaries face a lot of stressing situations in the process of carrying out their duties but some were more annihilating in the effect than others. Three important stressors were identified, they were:
1. Lack of adequate and important working materials and resources
2. Work overload.
3. Strenuous human relation in the workplace.
Recommendation were however made that adequate equipments should be provided for the secretaries and stress management programme should as well be introduced as this will help to examine stress and problem secretaries are passing through.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The secretary works in a dynamic environment which is full of conflicting situations and decision so much that no two working days are exactly the same. These conflicting decisions and instructions took all the time and day and demand quick attention, but the irony of it is that the time to perform these function is limited and does not increase rather, it seems to diminish and with this apparent shortage of time, comes “stress”. Stress is defined as physiological responses that occur when an organism fails to respond appropriately o emotional or physical threats. It can also be a tension or a situation or factor that can cause stress. Occupational stress can occur when there is a discrepancy between the demands of the environment or workplace and an individual’s ability to carry out these demands. Evelyn (1990) stated that it should by now have emerged very clearly that the secretary will need her basic skills, her knowledge and her ability to apply these to her work situation, whether she works for a large or small organization. The roles and functions of the secretary are basic to the organizational roles and so cannot be confined within the purview of a job description. They range from covering of meetings, taking care of office duties, keeping schedules in both hers and her boss’s desk diaries for complete and effective job performance up-to-date and supervising subordinates as well as keeping order generally in the office. All these to be done without a pause to enable the smooth flow of work. Thus, she is also important to the organization because of her ability to remain calm under extraordinary condition of work pressures and human demands.
The secretary’s obligations to the boss can sometimes be strenuous and conflicting with her other obligations to herself and to the company. This view of secretary’s function is an archaic one in view of the changes that have taken place in her training and job, but some employers still cling to it and cause her stress on the job when she finds difficulty in obeying these instructions.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The medium organization operates in the dynamic and ever changing environment. Because the modern organization exists in rapidly changing environment, the secretary is faced with a lot of physical and mental hazards on the job which may cause her stress – noise, lack of preparations for certain jobs or duties, attitude of the public to the job she does and the societal and organizational structures and their effects on her job are some of these factors that may affect her performance on the job. As well, the sitting arrangements, dangerous chemicals and substances used in the course of her work and lack of proper qualifications for the job may cause her stress. Added to these stressors is the fact that technology may eventually make her learned skills unwanted in the work place. Though not manifest in quantifiable terms, these threats cause stress that may eventually spell doom to the secretary mentally as well as physically.
Fache (1981) said “for every successful businessman, executive or organization, there is always an efficient and hardworking secretary”. In view of the adverse effects of stress on the performance of the secretary on her job, which may in turn cause her boss or even her organizational performance not to be up to what it would have been or not to realize its goals, it becomes of urgent need to take a very keen look at the job the secretary does and find out what does cause her stress. If this is done, then plans on how to eliminate in control than can be successfully made and executed.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research is to find out the environmental factors associated with the secretary’s job stress, and their effects on her job performance. The study, in looking at this problem, attempts to find out:
1. What specific factors in the job situations cause the secretary stress?
2. Who is to blame for her stress – the boss, management or secretary herself?
3. What could be done to reduce or eliminate stress from the job environment?
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study seeks to provide answers to the following questions:
a. What are the different factors in a job that contributes to stress?
b. What is the effect of stress on the secretaries in different organizations?
c. What are the applicable methods that can ameliorate the effect of stress on secretaries?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The study developed for testing the following research hypotheses:
H0: There are no internal job factors that causes stress on the secretaries of organizations.
H1: There are internal job factors that causes stress on the secretaries of organizations.
H20: There is no significant effect of stress on the secretaries of organizations.
H21: There is a significant effect of the stress on the secretaries of organizations.
1.6 Significance of the study
The study will be of great benefit to the following categories:
The management (secretary’s boss)
Ignorance of how well to treat a secretary in order to get her best performance may be one of the reasons why the secretary is subjected to stressful conditions at the place of work. It is hoped that after reading this work the boss will be better informed as how to handle a secretary to get maximum performance from her.
The professional secretary:
It is hoped that as a result of careful perusal of this work, the secretary will be in a better position to recognize stressors, avoid them whenever possible and control their effects on her performance. This should lead to a better job performance on her part.
Sometimes, people who train the secretary for the job are hopelessly out of contact with what is required of her at the place of work so that training programmes are not up to what they should be. It is hoped that this will help trainers identify vital training areas on which to lay emphasis and from time to time improve on facilities to meet with modern office procedures.
This work may later prove useful to academicians who may find all or it as useful points for further research work on the secretary’s job.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
This research was on the study of the effects of stress on the secretary’s job performance. The researcher covered some selected organization in Enugu metropolis only.
The findings, after analysis would be used as generalization upon the organizations under review. The organizations are as follows:
a. Anammco Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO) Enugu.
b. Emenite Aluminium Company, Enugu.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY:
No research work – no matter hours devoted and hardworking the researcher is, can claim to be hundred percent accurate. Every researcher encounters one problem or the other which limits the findings of the study being carried out. In the course of this project work, the researcher encountered the following obstacles:
a. Financial constraints
b. Time and distance factors
c. Attitude of respondents.
Normally, studies of this nature involves huge financial back-up, but due to limited funds at the disposal of the researchers, which is due mainly to the prevailing economic situation in the country, the study could not cover as many owns as would have been expected.
TIME AND DISTANCE FACTORS:
The time limit given for this study though enough but the fact that the researchers had similar studies to carry out in other courses, took some of their time. Also, due to enormous size of Enugu State, the researchers was unable to cover all the organization in the State. It is was due to time and distance constraint.
ATTITUDE OF RESPONDENTS:
Notwithstanding the fact that most of the people involved are educated, most of the time, the researcher have to convince them on the importance of the study before they could co-operate. Some of them said that they did not have time to fill the questionnaires or had other more important things to do.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS:
The following terms are defined in the specific sense in which they were used in this research study. They are as follows:
(a) Stress: This is the state of the secretary’s disposition when she had been affected by a stressor.
(b) Stressor: This is any factor in the environment of work that affects the secretary’s job performance adversely – Sharp and Lewis (1977) in “Thrives on Stress”.
(c) Secretary: The is a person employed in an office, usually working for another person, dealing with letters, typing, keeping records, preparing itineraries, making appointments, and arrangements.
(d) Job: This is referred to as a particular piece of work or task being carried out by a secretary.
(e) Performance: This is the ability a secretary has to operate efficiently or react quickly.
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