1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
There is no doubt that in many organizations be it private or public sectors, secretaries and computer operators are mistakenly ignored or misunderstood to mean the same thing. However, earlier the role of a secretary was limited to notes from their heads, typing and storing information. Perhaps with the advent of technology in companies and offices, secretarial duties have extended to things that were meant for the professional and managerial staffs. The secretary that organizations are seeking in today’s time should not only have clerical skills and administrative skill alone but also cooperate governance, security laws, and capital market.
As it is today technology has affected every aspect of secretarial work from the organization of document, sorting and storing of document.
Aku (2004) informs that the basic secretarial functions of collecting, transferring, processing and transmission of information allows themselves to computerization. Consequently, the most works carried out by the professional secretary in the office are now being handled more speedily and in a better way with the use of computer.
Hill (2004), A secretary is someone who receives executive and company officials, clerical duties and keep personal records, read and sort, organize incoming mails, make and answer phone calls.
Assessing the performance of professional secretaries and computer operators requires proper check and change to ascertain he caliber of each.
Performance as define by Wynel (2010) as a systematic description of job relevant strength and weaknesses within and between employees. Which also means that performance evaluation is a review of the employee’s performance based on the agreed objectives. As performance determines output in an organization, the output of a secretary can be observed from the duty performed and how specialized one is in his or her functions.
The computer operators who obtains diploma or certificate course in computer training is mistaken for secretaries as there are minor similarities in their duties which are typing of documents, receiving and sending of mails, which are temporary duties performed by the computer operators.
According to Suleiman (2000), a computer operator is someone who requires the knowledge and practice of computer appreciation and operations, he is only knowledgeable in operation of the computer and how to manipulate it. Most people lack the typing skills as well as the techniques for standard production of documents.
Suleiman (2000) also define the duties of a computer operators as the duplication of duties by computer operator. He adds that because the computer operators can manipulate the computer does not mean that they are secretaries. This is difficult to identify professional secretaries and computer operators, because the computer operator tends to perform better than some professional secretaries in organizations Ball (2001) to them as long as you are under a typewriter, you are a typist; they ignore the facts that there are distinctive features of the two profession in terms of skill, qualifications, duties, responsibilities and remuneration. This wrong perception or impression has permitted the general public and a great percentage of the public sees the secretarial position as nothing but mere typist who are trained from business centers after undergoing some few months of training in typing from street business schools, and factors that hinders their promotion both as secretaries and computer operators.
This explains why many students are reluctant to take the course of secretarial studies as a profession in spite of the fact that secretarial position is crucial and important to organization just like any other position. It is against this background that the researchers sees this trend as an empirical problem worthy of investigation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
The work of a professional secretary is quite different from that of a computer operator in an organization. This is so because the work of a professional secretary encompasses that of a computer operator. Secretaries responsibilities include various administrative and clerical duties needed to run a company efficiently and smoothly.
Some duties include serving as an office information manager, arranging and scheduling meetings or appointments and preserving paper and computer files, managing projects, handling travel arrangements and distributing information through the use of telephones, mails, e-mails while the work of a computer operator is just limited to operating the computer, but in spite of this differences, a lot of organization tends to place a computer operator in the same level with a professional secretary which undermine the profession. As such doubt is expressed about the importance of a professional secretary’s contribution to goal attainment of an organization sequel to wrong perception of organizational members, as such people treat the profession with contempt and disregard. Hence the subject matter of this research: Evaluation of the performance of a professionals secretary and computer operators in an organization becomes worthy of investigation.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to evaluate the performance of professional secretaries and computer operators in an organization.
However the specific objectives of the study are:
i) To examine the roles played by professional secretaries and computer operators in the smooth running and planning in an organization.
ii) To identify the factors that are responsible for lack of promotional opportunities of professional secretaries and computer operators in an organization.
iii) To examine the duties of professional secretaries as compared to computer operators in an organization.
iv) To know the demands for professional secretaries services and computer operators in an organization.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i) How does the modern office technology aid the planning and smooth running of the organization?
ii) What are the factors that hinder promotional opportunities of professional secretaries and computer operators in an organization?
iii) What are the various roles and duties played by professional secretaries and computer operators in an organization?
iv) Why are there demands for professional secretary services and computer operators in an organization?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study, when completed would be of great importance to the secretaries in practice and secretaries in training as well as the management of various organizations in the following ways:
i) To the secretaries in practice and training: The study will help them to understand the qualification needed for one to assume a secretarial position in an organization.
ii) It will help those willing to take secretarial profession to appreciate the fact that being a secretary is not to be attached to a typewriter as a typist but rather a call to greater responsibilities in an office.
iii) It will help the secretaries in practice and in training to know the responsibilities or duties of a professional secretary in an organization as compared to computer operators.
iv) The study will be of help to Managers in job placement in an organization.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study covers the empirical evaluation of the performance of professional secretaries and computer operator in an organization. It also examines the role of professional secretaries and computer operators in the smooth running and planning in an organization as well as the identification of the factors responsible for lack of promotional opportunities of professional secretaries and computer operators in an organization.
The study equally examines the duties of professional secretaries as compared to computer operators in an organization as well as the examination of the reasons why the services of professionals secretaries and computer operatos are required in an organization,
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Some of the major constraints the researchers encountered in putting up this research include lack of time, lack of willingness to give information by respondent and also limited resources.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Secretary: An individual employed to deal with correspondence and routine office work.
Computer Operator: An individual who enters data into computer, process it and produce result/information of the process.
Performance: This is the rate of carrying or completing a task.
Organization: A group of people who put up resources and services for a particular purpose.
Evaluation: This is a medium of assessing performance among individuals.
Professional: An individual who belong to a profession skillful and conscientious.