BENEFITS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON THE JOB PERFORMANCE OF SECRETARIES EMPLOYED IN FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC OKO.
The major benefit of this study was to determine the benefits of information technology on the job performance of secretaries employed in polytechnics in Federal Polytechnic Oko. The population of the study consists of 74 secretaries in Federal Polytechnic Oko. Four research questions were formulated which guided the study. A 40–item structured questionnaire was developed and validated. Percentage responses were used to answer the research questions. The major findings of the study were: (1)Information technology plays an important role in the job performance of a secretary such as storing and retrieving of information, easy access to information (2) Information technology improve the secretaries performance when the quality of work produced using information communication technology is far better than manual and also saves time, improve efficiency in output and performance, increase speed and accuracy, (3) secretaries encounter some challenges like: technology changes the job of the secretary and inability to grow with the use of computer, (4) changes in technology can cause job displacement of secretaries. It was concluded that(1) there is need for secretaries to be computer literate since it plays important role in their job (2) there is need for secretaries to acquire skills and knowledge needed to cope with the changes in technology since it saves their time and increase their speed and accuracy (3) secretaries face challenges in their jobs because of changes in technology and inability to grow along with the current trends and acquisition of the needed knowledge to meet the changing challenges. It was recommended that (1) lecturers in higher institutions should help their students to understand the important role computer plays among secretaries and also enough computers should be provided by the school authorities (2) secretaries must be dynamic with the current packages of the computer like: Ms word, Ms Excel, Page maker Corel Draw, etc in order to improve on their job (3) Non computer literate secretaries need to go for training in computer in order to meet with current changes in technology today.
By the mid 20th century, human had achieved a mastery of technology sufficient to leave the atmosphere of the earth for the first time and explore space. According to Merriam Webster (2007), technology is making usage and knowledge of tools, machines techniques crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. The word Technology comes from Greek, the term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: Example include construction Technology and information technology.
1.1 Background of the Study
Information Technology has dramatically changed all aspects in business and industry in modern society. These technology developments have adversely affected the jobs of many people. To understand information Technology, Bennett (1997) defines it as acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of information using computers.
However, Eric Schalzbery (2004) in his views says that with the high rate of technological development in this “global village” era, the secretary has come to terms with the reality of having her job greatly enriched and complete business activities going on in modern office. The secretary plays important role in ensuring the proper utilization of these machines for greater productivity.
In the past, most office work had been carried out manually although then the volume of office work had been small and was less sophisticated in industrial art, hence there was no significant demand for modern technology. But today when one looks at the basic tasks in an office, whether it be writing, calculating, filling, sorting or analysis it is found that office machines can be used to do the job better and faster which leads to great achievements and professionalism in the field. There has never been greater need for efficiency in business than there is today. All kinds of business must employ modern methods in their offices as the raw materials of an office is information, the responsibility of an office is like that of a clearing house, receiving and sending out information, processing, storing facts in various forms. Therefore, the ever increasing size of business organizations has increased the development of new techniques in office management unlike in the past where the secretary made use of old model manual typewriter that does not enhance efficiency.
Since the secretary is a medium through which the organizations actions and policies are conveyed to the public in readable and disenable form, it is wise that she is exposed to office machines and understand their proper usage so that she can efficiently carryout the routine job of the office. By so doing, the organization concern can benefit highly form the services of the secretary.
The secretary is part of the management team since she is completely involved in the affairs of the office and in making and implementation of business plans. She deals with letter drafting and typing, filing, processing and storing of information as well as disseminating information with the office automation such as electronic typewriter, word processor, computer, telephone tax machine, internet, e-mail, photocopier and calculating machines at her disposal, her job is sure to progress swiftly and a boost to attaining productivity in the organization where she works. As a result, the naming is changing. Popular titles now are administrative assistants, executive assistants, office manager, coordinator and specialists. Communication skills and class are required for tasks such as preparing conferences, working with clients and coaching staff. Secretaries and administrative assistants will keep on playing an essential role in majority of organizations and technical inventions cannot replace these personal skills.
The government has not lagged behind in the development of information technology. According to information technology for development, an internal journal; information technology has great relevance for government and social economic development programs. For information Technology development of telecommunication, infrastructure is considered to be an important pre-requisite. Information Technology is dependent on human resource development which means development for technical manpower. The government has introduced E-government in its operation today and this shows the importance the government attaches to information technology.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
There are problem encountered despite the benefits of information technology. Even though modern technology is regard as important and of high value in ensuring quality work output in an office as well as bringing about productivity, it is equally believed that these machines can cause job displacement.
The machines are cost effective therefore some organization do not really apply the use of some of the modern machines and this lead to poor performance.
There is however a great loss of job from typing pools (Rackham, 2001). Many workplaces previously manned are fully automated and many jobs are being changed as the new technology is introduced this has however led to reduction of employees including secretarial staff.
This study is therefore aimed at examining how information technology could be utilized by secretaries to be more productive in their areas of work and put in place, possible solution that shall give the secretary the comfort to hold on to the profession without fear of future extinction.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The major purpose of this study was to determine the benefits of information technology on the job performance of secretaries in polytechnic specifically, the study was to;
- To examine the concept of modern technology and its effect on the secretary’s performance.
- To examine whether modern technology causes job displacement of secretaries in organizations.
- To identity the roles information technology plays among secretaries.
- To find out challenges facing secretaries in utilizing information technology.
1.4 Research Questions
This study sought answers to the following research questions;
- What role does information technology play in secretary’s job performance?
- To what extent has information technology improved the secretary’s performance?
- What are the challenges facing secretaries in utilizing information technology
- Does modern technology cause job displacement of secretaries in organizations.
1.5 Significance of the study
Information technology is like a magic, it must be learned because it is a challenge. This research tends to determine and focus its findings on the benefits attached to information technology.
Students, lecturers, employees and managers would be at advantage to gain from the result as it would assist in enhancing and eliminating the misconception posed by critics who through ignorant of the secretary’s job content assure that the computer is a substitute for secretaries.
The secretaries would benefit mostly from the findings of the study by understanding how information technology could enhance their performance. The study will also be an eye opener to them, since information technology poses threat to their career. The study will also help managers and top executives on how best to utilize secretaries and especially on delegating their duties to them.
The study is also meant to help other researchers conducting research on information technology and its impact on performance of secretaries. They would be able to use it as a source of reference for literature review.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study focuses on the roles information technology plays among secretaries and also looked at he specific challenges facing secretaries in utilizing information technology.
1.7 Definition of Terms
The terms used in this study which have unique meaning that could be subjected to different interpretations by different readers of this project report are as follows:
Benefit : An advantage or profit gained from something.
Information: All types of equipment and programs
Technology : Which are used in the processing of information (Rackham, 2001).
Job performance: An individual’s output in terms of quality and quantity expected from every employee in a particular job.
Secretary: An executive assistant who possesses a mastery of office skills, who demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, who exercise initiative and judgement, and who makes decision within the scope of assigned authority (Okolo A.N, 2012).