The Effects of Information and Communication Technologies on the Performance of the Office Staff

The Effects of Information and Communication Technologies on the Performance of the Office Staff

This chapter reviews related literature and works of writers who have worked on similar topic.

The topic of this study has already been discussed in chapter one, the review centres on the following.

  1. The concept of communication technology
  2. What is information technology
  3. Types of information technology used in an office
  4. The effects of modern information communication equipment on the office staff.
  5. Historical development of information technology

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 THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

Haben K. (1985) defined communication as the process of creating and exchanging message within a network of interdependent relationship to cope with environment uncertainty. In some government establishment and business organizations, communications is based on agreed symbols.

According to little (1968) “it is based on mutual exchange of thoughts, opinions or emotions that require presentation and reception resulting in common understanding all parts.

In order words communication determines how effectives planning, organizing directing, controlling is going to be in an organization without effective understanding sub-ordinates and supervisors are bound to clash Ugoaja (1985) says that communication process involves all acts of transmitting message to channels, which link people to the languages, and symbolic codes which are used to transmit messages, the means by which messages are received and stored.

Chapple et al (1984) in their book “Business Communication, defines communication as any means by which a thought is transferred from one person of the other, focusing now on the organization, a business concern. J. Chruden and W. Sherma (1978:325) says “At all levels in the organization, among and between executives, managers, staff, personnel supervisors and foremen and employees, the communication process is continuously, action conveying information ideas, attitudes and feelings among individuals an among groups of individuals. Considering all these definition one will notice that although the statements are different, there is a common thread running through them.

  WHAT IS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

The oxford advanced learners dictionary of current English describes information technology as “the study or use of electronic equipment especially computers for storing analyzing and distributing words numbers and pictures.

But the information technology (IT) degrest defines information technology as a technology phenomenon in the revelatory sense of the word, which interconnects all fabrics of society and human activity and its mission is to change the way we have educate people work and engage all other life activities.

Framework provided by the British Department of Trade and Industry according to Obiudo (2003, 1978) defines IT as acquisition processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial textual and numeric information by a micro-electronics based combination of computer and telecommunication.

TYPES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY USED IN AN OFFICE

1.       COMPUTER

Ukeyes (1997:20) stated that a computer is any device capable of accepting data automatically applying a sequence of processes to the data and supplying the result of these process. It is a device that works under the control of stored programs, automatically accepting, storing and processing data to produced information, that is the result of that processing without human intervention.

Collins (1998:42) defines computer as a machine that receives or stores or processes data very quickly according to a stored program.

Shippl (1996:44) started that computer is advice capable of accepting information applying prescribed processes to he information and supply the results of the processes. It usually consists of inputs and output devices, storage, arithmetic and logically units and a control units.

Bakerand Yeats (1988) defined a computer as a device for performing automated information or data processing tasks. They contended that it may be though of as machines that tasks data or information as its input and produces as output new or transformation data / information.

In support of this, Bachino (1977) defined a computer as a device capable of accepting information and applying prescribed processes to the information and supplying the result of the processes. It usually consists of inputs and outputs devices storage arithmetic logic units and control units.

Eleoba (1991) contended that a computer is an electronic device capable of performing computer calculations at an electronic speed, it can add subtract, divide, multiply and it can be used in world processing.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COMPUTER

According to Abahson and Okpra (1996:7) the following are the characteristics of the computers.

1.       HIGH SPEED

As an electronic device, the computer are extremely fast in processing data. They can operate at the speed of electricity. Thus, they are suitable for application that are voluminous.

2.       ACCURACY

If programmed correctly, computers are extremely accurate. The rate of accuracy of the computer depends so much on the accuracy of the program and the data supplied by the year (GIGO-Garbage in Garbagre out).

3.       RELIABILITY

Computer are very reliable, they can work and produce result consistently over long period of time.

4.       VERSATILITY

This means that computer can be employed in so many field.

5.       WORD PROCESSOR

Hornby (195:1375) stated that word processor is a computer that records type words, diagrams, and display them on a screen, where they can be corrected or change and then automatically printed.

According to Onyewuernyi (1994:126), word processor is designed to process documents, letters and numbers in all the ways in which people arrange them and print them in all the ways thing rant them printed it is designed to met the countless special needs of the modern office. The most frequent application of word processor is for typing general correspondence (litters, memoranda, circular letters and reports) where the ability to correct and change text easily is the main benefit.

Spelling mistakes can be caught on the screen before printing and words and sentences can be added or direct without retyping the whole text.

FUNCTIONS OF A WORD PROCESSOR

Onyewuerni (1994:127) also stated the functions of a word processor as follows:

a)       CREATING A DOCUMENT FILE

A document can be created using he word processing programme. A document may be a book an arificle, a letter, or a line or few lines of data or information

b)      EDITING A DOCUMENT

To Edit a document connotes to revise or correct the document to modify or add to data or text various edifying features are simple with word processing.

c)       FORMATTING A DOCUMENT 

To format a document is to arrange it for a computer output.

d)      SAVING A DOCUMENT

Word processor have the capacity to save documents permanently for future use. Although the documents is stored in the computers meaning. It remains there only as the power is on and the word processing programme is running.

e)       MERGING DOCUMENTS

One of the interesting features of word processors is the ability to merge documents, margin document means instructing the compute to combine information from tow or more files into one printed document.

f)       SPELLING CHECK A DOCUMENT

Some word processing programme come with a spelling checker works with a word processing programme to find in spelled words in a document with the internal dictionary.

FACSIMILE TRANSMISSION (FAX) 

Atuji (1995:86) is of he vie what this piece of office equipment sues scanning techniques to read a photograph, diagram or text which is them converted  into electronic signal capable of being transmittal over international telephone networks.

According to Obodo and Ogbu (1999:132) “The facsimile transmission is an electronic mail system designed to transmit and received long distance document copies over the telephone likes.

4.       ELECTRONIC MAIL SERVICES 

Atuaji (1995:81) described electronic mail as an in start electronic message transfer facility that uses terminals such as personnel computer telex, terminals.

Lirine, Barondi, lerine and Reinhold (1997:102) of the view that electronic mail is a way for people to sent and receive message using computer it is rapidly belong a primary communication tool for both business and pleasure. They also said electronic  mails is a system in which message are communicated by electronic means rather than by paper based communication.

TEL-CONFERENCING

Atueji (1995:87) stated that this is an improvement of the conventional one to one telephone conversation. In this system numerous people or group exclusives may be simultaneously connected by means of closed circuit television so that discussion can take place even though they do not meet. This can take place either within the organization or externally and even on the international basis.

PHOTOCOPYING MACHINE 

Obodo (2000) stated that this is a machine that reproduces document in their true forms. Some models of photocopies produce copies that are identical with originals. It is ideal for copies required in a hurry and it is useful for a mail room.

CALCULATING MACHINE

Atuji (1995:80) stated that calculating machine are used when calculations have to be made on large scale. These machines contribute to greater business efficiency. It performs a lot of function, these include substation, multiplication, divisions, addition, operation of percentages, decimals, square roots and logarithm and thing carry out such functions with repetitive and high speed precision.

HE EFFECTS OF MODERN COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT ON THE OFFICE STAFF

Chipping (1987) said that without question computer have changed our lives, especially the way we do office work. The arrival of the electronic age is permanently changing many offices job.

Exclusives are becoming more complex. The use of (IT) information technology equipment in any office demands that the secretarial staff will input reports for managers to access and amend.

Obodo (2004) said that time is important in the world of (IT) because offices will be streamlined to be maximum facilities and human resources. As a result be “retrial staff could be at their work station for longer pirnds as information and messages are easily keyed in and accessed. Although the secretarial staffs role wills till be supportive the added requirements of (IT) information technology knowledge demands that the secretarial staff role will include data administration and information management. It will also require this staff to analyzed complex situation and subunit practical recommendations. Where the secretarial staff or exclusive travel within the scope of jobs confidential disks can be prepared. These could be transported for accessing updating and transmitting back to base as desired under the circumstances telecommunication and facsimile have speeded up vital information gather and eliminate many wasted hours.

REDUCTION IN REPETITIVE WORK

Sanders (1979) in his own contribution said that computer usage has often made it possible for people to eliminate routine procedures and to use their operative abilities in more challenging and rewarding ways. The nature of work performed was perceived as having improved with a reduction in typing load routine tasks brought about by the use of computers.

In the same Vain Bird (1978) said computer will be of great profit especially to companies that have repetitive high volume of printed output.

Mandell (1985) emphasized that word processors are facilitating many tedious jobs performed by secretaries, freeing them to perform other tasks. He went further to stress that word process, like data processing, receives workers of time, he continued to say that the secretaries now can be described as professionals who are efficient, perfect effective and productive as a result of various modern office machines used in the office.

 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 

The early man used fingers and toes as a inherent means of counting. With this means there were limitation on how far one could go with these facilities. As time progressed these limitations were overcome by the discovery that pebbles, grains of com, notches in sticks scratches in day tables and abacus could be used for counting.

Although all these methods of counting were adequate for man early needs, it later become necessary for him to create written numerals.

Greek and Roman numerals served the purpose for representing numbers but were cumbersome. It was not until Hindu and Arabic numerals were invented that man had a truly workable system written numbers. So we can see that man was forced to create better calculating devices s his paperwork expanded.

John Napler a Scottish theologian and mathematician developed a calculating aid known s Napier’s bone and logarithms. With tables of logarithms multiplication and division are more easily performed as addition and subtraction respectively.

Blause Pascal at 19 in 1942 was the first person to achieve success in the development for a digital counter. He invented a device to assist in adding long columns of figures in his father’s tax office in France.

In 1971 he German Philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Lelbring invented another mechanical calculator leibring machine was an improvement on Pascal’s machine because it could perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The most important component of his machines was the stepped wheel a cylindrical drum with nine teeth of increasing length along its surface.

The search for satisfactory data processing machine continued until in 1909 when Charles Kettering developed for the national cash register company the first accounting machine for certifying passbooks. Using a tabulating carriage, the machine could sort data into a number of columns in addition to performing the functions of recording, calculating and summarizing.

All the machines discussed above although efficient had limitations; they were manual rather than automatic instrument but they laid the foundation on which the modern electronic computer were built.

Oulte a few people were involved in the eventual development of the computer as we know it today, and the computer took over two centuries to evolve. Racking form the time serious efforts began toward simplifying mathematical computations. Many of the scientists who made of the scientists who made very useful contributions did not really aim at developing computers like earlier mentioned but their inventions turned out to be extremely important to computer development.

Besides the evaluation of better and better circuit components that cause the size of a powerful computer to shrink onto the desk to within a few decades. Four inventions and design innovations were particularly useful in the development of computers. These are the contributions of Joseph Jacquard, Charles Babbage Hollerith Herman, Alan Turning and John von Neuman.

Therefore, technology can be referred to as inventions and discoveries of man since the beginning of time to make life easier and leisure more enjoyable. It has evolved the functions of the office to rely on different types of improved and standardized equipment. It has also devised varied stages and concepts for effective communication within and outside the organization.

According to Atuegi (1995:78), the information technology (IT) concept, refers to the host of system, equipment and materials essentially computer-based which are used to achieve the set goals of an organization in relation to the functions of an office such as, obtaining, sorting, processing and distribution of information.

Osifisan (1997), stated that information technology is a phase which signifies the end of “geography” these phrases underline the concept of “Globalization”. The concept of Globalization began to thrive shortly after the end of the world war II when the allies, led by the United States, decided to support a world wide opening trading and investment system. The benefits of the system are evident when one looks at the progress made in the world.

According to kemp (1995), “the globalization of the business world has been prospering over the past several years and continues to grow as the world advances in the age of information technology. The globalization of business refers to the increase in the trade of goods and services world wide. This in turn leads to increase investment and competition.

The contribution of technology to the development and advancement of the secretarial profession cannot be over emphasized for it has been tremendous. Before the evaluation of technology, secretaries were regarded as a mere typist in the office but now, secretaries can be described as professionals who are efficient, perfect effective and productive as a result of various modern office machines used in the offices.

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