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Background of the study
The speed at which modern office situation or work environment is changing has led to sustained radical shift from manual secretarial operations towards the use of information and communication technology equipment, in order to ease secretary’s work and enhance their performance; thereby leading to their greater performance in place of work. On this basis, Nwogwugwu, (2008) said: “a revolutionary attempt is being made by educational authority, policy makers etc to inject into the teaching and learning processes in Nigeria skills, orientation and awareness of the very crucial information and communication Technology (ICT) which is now seen as the backbone and information super highway of the modern life”.
However, there are certain ICT skills required by secretaries. They include skills and knowledge of computer hardware and software. Skills on computer hardware includes; knowledge of keyboard, visual Display Unit (VDU), Central Processing Unit (CPU), knowledge of benefits of computer, knowledge on application of computer to secretarial profession etc. while software skills encompasses knowledge of operating system, utilities software and services programme. Besides this, Nwogwugwu, (2008), stressed that there are certain ICT skills required by secretaries from employers of labor. They includes; skill for creating e-mail message, address, username, password, skill for replying and sending e-mails, accessing attached file, skill for sourcing and reading daily news on the internet, skill for doing business online and delivering information online, skill for creating, saving, printing and publishing web pages, skill for using search engines to get diverse information on the websites etc. It is believed that if secretaries acquired these skills, they will meet the demand of changing work environment and expectation of employers.
In the process of using ICT equipment by secretaries to perform their day to day assigned duties, they are faced with certain problems, which includes challenge of computer illiteracy, i.e. poor or no knowledge of computer, and its uses; challenges of changing work environment, i.e. changes in modern office situations seems to alter the skills already acquired by secretaries. In this case, when new technologies are introduced into the office, they are expected to up-date their skills regarding such equipment. In the same vein, paucity, of ICT equipment and lack of ICT technical personnel in an organization, levels of ICT skills of secretaries, that is the present knowledge of secretaries in ICT usage. When these problems are not minimized, it makes it difficult for secretaries to handle ICT equipment in their place of work. In the same line of thought, ICT has led to under-utilization of secretaries’ skill kin the sense that it does not allow them to utilize their mental capabilities in solving problems, but are glued to internet. Also, network breakdown, ratio of people to computer, system contamination, communication barriers passed by internet, poor training background of secretaries on ICT uses, seduction and immoral behavior/information found in the internet, poor failure etc. These are problems facing secretaries on the uses of ICT equipment.
Moreover, if the above problems are not controlled, corrected or minimized, it will disrupt work process, and this will lead to poor job performance. This was supported by Okagbare, (2005), when she stated that “effective performance of secretaries may be disrupted if there is lack of necessary equipment and skills to operate them”, if available. The speed, accuracy efficiency of work production will be disrupted, and thus affect organizational productivities, growth and development.
Meanwhile, application of ICT to secretary’s job will no doubt have a positive effect on their performance. It enhances communication, productivities, eliminates time wastage on routine jobs such as record management, enhance effective maintenance, up dating and manipulating of records. In addition, secretaries can now perform their functions from different locations including house, motorcars, or even airplanes. This is a proof that ICT has made the world a global village. With ICT in place, the retraining of traditional secretaries by organization is now guarantee, thereby widening their scope of knowledge of ICT usage.
Statement of Problems
Before the introduction of modern office equipment, secretaries depended largely on manual skills in the performance of their functions. That was the period when secretaries had little or no knowledge of modern office equipment in the business circles. As a result, the output of secretaries fell beyond expectation because of lack of modern office equipment especially communication equipments. This made people loose interest in studying secretaries’ studies in our higher institutions.
Recently secretarial studies taught to be one of the professions that have benefited from technological development. Since the introduction of modern office equipment in organization the problems of fatigue, lack of respect for secretaries still persist in spite of these innovation. It is most possible that the acquisition of modern office equipment have negative effects such as displacement of workers and other cost implications. Secretaries are often denied of useful training that could help them acquire skills to operate this equipment.
The important roles secretaries play in any office and organization, necessitates them to use ICT equipment to simply, their work. In essence, since secretary’s work is centered and embedded in information processing, they are thereby required to use ICT equipment. However, poor background of secretaries in the use of ICT equipment, challenge of computer illiteracy, changing work environment, paucity of ICT equipment in an organization, poor levels of ICT skills of secretaries, network breakdown, and system contamination are some of the problems likely confronting or facing secretaries in the use of ICT equipment. This was supported by Njoku (2008), Adigwe, (2006) Ojukwe and Ojukwu (2006), and Ohakwe (2001), when they said “Computer illiteracy, changes in work environment, lack of ICT equipment in an organization, poor training background, level of ICT skills of secretaries, under-utilization of secretaries’ skill, network breakdown, system contamination are some of the problems facing ICT users (including secretaries) in organization and in Nigeria economy.
Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this study is to examine the contributions of modern communication to job performance of secretaries. Specifically, the study will attempts to:
1. Ascertain the effect of these modern communication equipments on the job performance of secretaries.
2. Identify communication skills required by secretaries in operating these modern office communication equipments.
3. Identify the problems encountered by secretaries in using ICT equipment in the selected organization.
4. To recommend solution to the problems of the use of modern communication equipments to secretary job performance.
The research will attempt to answer the following questions;
1. What are the effects of modern communication equipments on the job performance of secretaries?
2. What are the communication skills required by secretaries in operating these modern office communication equipments?
3. What are the problems encountered by secretaries in using ICT equipment in the selected organization?
4. What are the solutions to the problems of the use of modern communication equipments to secretary job performance?
Statement of hypothesis
The following hypothesis was developed to achieve the objectives of the study:
Ho: Modern office communication equipments has no relationship with secretaries job performance
H1: Modern office communication equipments has a relationship with secretaries job performance.
Ho: Good communication skills are not required by secretaries in operating modern communication equipments
H2: Good communication skills are required by secretaries in operating modern communication equipments
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this research project on “The contributions of modern communication equipment on secretary’s job performance” will be of great importance to secretaries, various organizations and institutions.
The findings will benefit secretaries in the sense that they will be acquainted with ICT skills required by them, and get themselves trained on such areas.
The problems and the effects of the problems that will be identified will reveal to them the challenges they are to face in handling ICT equipment, and then prepare ahead. Meanwhile, when apply ICT to their work the impact, the positive effects and benefits that will be identified will give them the urge to go for training outside the one offer by their institutions and place of work.
The findings will motivate organizations to send their secretaries to training having known the problems faced by secretaries and its affects on their performance. Their ultimate goal in doing this is to build more ICT skills on their secretaries and enhance their performance towards greater productivities.
The findings of the study will also reveal to the various institutions and department of secretarial Administration the ICT skills required by secretaries from their employer. That will enable them to review their curriculum, and directs their teaching and learning to such areas.
Scope of the Study
The study is limited in scope. The study is limited on “The contributions of modern communication equipment on secretary’s job performance with special reference to Ministry of education owerri. It will concentrate more on ICT skills required by secretaries, problems encountered by secretaries in using ICT equipment, effects of the problems on secretaries’ performance and impact of modern communication equipments on secretaries’ performance.
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