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This research was conducted to ascertain the impact of modern office equipment on the secretary’s performance in selected government establishments in Owerri municipal. Related literature was reviewed to determine the advantages of these equipments to the secretary for effective performance. The four likert point and mean scores were used to analyze the data collected. It was discovered from the data collected and analyzed that the challenges facing the availability, adequacy and functionality of these equipment were attributed to lack of fund, lack of fund for maintenance, lack of operational knowledge. Finally, recommendations were made for enough funds to be provided by the government and institutions of higher learning to acquire these equipments. Also organizations should encourage their secretaries’ to participate in on-the-job and off-the-job training programmes.
1.1 Background to the Study
The development of modern office equipment has brought closer the “Electronic” office which is the term used in describing the way modern office is developing. The development of modern office equipments has made it possible for workers to be versatile in their career. Additionally, ethnological changes have brought about job changes in organizational structure (Abdullahi, 2002).
Anyautonwu (1987) opined that the use of modern office equipment in the highly industrialized countries has made so much progress in the world of business that people now evaluate its true impact on the secretary in particular and workers generally. Increasing use of modern office equipment tends to create some uncertainties and insecurity on the part of the workers. As a result, there is this fear of human labour displacement in the minds of the workers which can create unemployment to many people especially to those with little or no knowledge of manipulating these machines.
Within the last two decades many achievements were recorded in the area of technological office work which would have been too cumbersome without the use of these office technologies. New job opportunities are generated everyday for the secretary wishing to match the challenges.
Anionwu (1993) is of the opinion that as new machines and equipment are developed new skills and knowledge are required by the secretary for the operation of these modern facilities.
The development and installation of modern equipment have made possible an office processing revolution by offering everyone means of sending and retrieving information quickly and cheaply within an organization and throughout the world office work generally is all about handling and processing of information despite the wide use of the telephone and computers. Office work has also been associated with paper pusher (Burn, 1985). The modern office machine according to Ohakwe Idih and Chukwumezie (2002) are those tools or instruments that are used to perform office functions. These machines are of immense importance to every worker and to the organization of all sizes. This implies that with the use of modern office equipment every establishment aims at enhancing productivity onward movement towards achieving greater effectiveness and efficiency in organization objectives.
However, with the current pace in the development of technology worldwide, modern office equipment is experiencing a dramatic evolution. This has actually been made possible because of the introduction of telephone which has gone revolutionized from analogue to digital cordless to mobile cellular system.
Today, the functions of secretaries have shifted from the use of traditional equipment such as manual typewriters to sophiscated once like electronic typewriter, computer, photocopier, fast machines, word processor, and telecomputers. Analysis system (RAS) and computer information management. Dictating and recording also affect secretary performance. Alozie (1995) opines that in the past many offices were organized traditionally so that many people handled the same sheet of paper as it passes through the organization. Today, this procedure has changed and will continue to change as new technologies are introduced in the work place.
Nwosu (1996) also remarked that office work could have been very cumbersome and indeed unattainable without these modern equipments. Elendu (1988) noted that modern office equipment from the most import and tools which when put into proper use bring about efficiency in work.
Okafor (1987) stated that for nearly three decades secretary’s performance has been portrayed as the application of skills to business operations. He further stated that recent developments have called for and indeed dictated the need for a new orientation on the impact of modern office equipment in a secretary’s performance. Following the above assertions one can say that the secretary has been identify as key factor in the fulfillment of organization goals, keeper of secret’s and resource person in every organization sincere effort should be made to provide her with adequate modern equipment. This will enable her cope with diverse challenges posed by the global emphasis on office machines. It was rightly observed by some authors that modern office equipment has led to highly skilled secretaries which in effect have resulted to the increase in competence and efficiency in productivity of the secretaries achievement in an organization.
1.1 Statement of Problem
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 automated equipment. 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.
1.2 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to assess the impact of modern office equipment would have on the performance of secretaries in selected government establishments in Owerri municipal area. Specifically the study will attempt:
1. To identify the availability or non availability of modern office equipment.
2. To determine the level of adequacy or inadequacy of these equipment in government establishment.
3. To determine the extent of their functionality
4. To determine the skills required by secretaries to operate these machines.
5. To identify that problems responsible for the adequacy or these equipment.
6. To determine if the availability office equipment imposes any threat on the secretaries job.
1.3 Research Question
The following research questions have been formulated from the objectives to guide the study.
a. To what extent are these modern office equipments available or not available for secretaries’ performance in the selected government establishments in Owerri municipal area?
b. To what extent are these equipments adequate or inadequate?
c. To what extent are these modern office equipments functional?
d. What are the skills required of secretaries to operate these machines?
e. What are the problems responsible for the adequate or inadequate of this equipment?
1.4 Significance of Study
A study like this will not only be of great advantage to students, but to institutions to identify the impact of modern office machine used in training prospective secretaries.
This study is beneficial to the government establishment because they can take sound decisions from information gathered from work. The information obtained will help them update their curriculum, increase their ego.
This study will also enable student acquire the skills to operate those equipment. With the help of this study, institutions will now find way to remedy the problems of modern office equipment either liaising with business organizations or by ensuring that students are adequately involved in the use of modern office equipment.
Finally, the result of this research work therefore, will establish the fact that if secretaries are given the chance to make use of this modern office equipment this will greatly increase the productivity of the secretaries’ achievement in an organization.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study is delimited in scope of the impact of modern office equipment on the secretary’s performance in selected government establishments in Owerri municipal.
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