The Effects of Modern Communication Equipment on Secretarial Performance
The expansion of offices necessistated the development of modern office equipment. In developing countries like Nigeria for instance where children build things for fun e.g. kites, toys etc, the white-men of old constructed certain equipment in past years. These equipment are office equipment. Technologically advanced countries however, included America, Britain, Japan, France and China.
Babara (1986) said,” long before machine existed, people found ways to calculate with their hands, or orange stones in files wrote with hands, or arranged stones in files, wrote with feathers, sited stick etc, all, these in order to keep track of quantities” inspite of the increasing availability of technology or perhaps because of it as the generation and accumulation of data was made easier more and more work piled in the offices. However, some early pioneers were acutely aware of this potential effects of technology upon the manufacturing industries and other organisation.
Leo computers ltd (1957) stated “Nevertheless, a fully automated high speed computer cannot be purchased and installed in an office as simply as equipped of more orthodox type, By its nature, it is not ancillary to the office, potentially it is the office or rather the routine part of it.
As a result of new trend in manufacturing industries world wide, they strive to give better product and better services so as to remain in business. The need for more information and circulation transaction exchange, distribution, book-keeping, records, payrolls communication, copies of documents etc. motivated managers to procure modern office equipment which facilitates work and ultimately led to greater output.
Geoffery white 91973) did explain that the early attempts were made by Thomas Alva Edison and others who used needles to pierce the letter shaped in a paper stencil, but, it was really tasking.
David Gestetner (1877) wgose name became associated with the duplicating process invented a whecled pen with sharp teeth which gave the name “cyclostyle”. Later in the 1890’s duplicating process came about replacing the copy clerks in the offices.
Standwell, (1976), stated that, “ The xewrography process was invented in 1978. the popular model, the Xerox 914, was introduced into England in 1960 by Rank Xerox. Development during the coming years increased the speed at which multiples of copies could be made. In 1968, the Xerox 3600, a copier duplicator was introduced which produced copies at a speed of one per second”.
B.H. Walley, (1968), emphasized that accounting machines were introduced as a result of problems observed in the hand written system.
In another development, standwell (12978) explained that the first automatic machine, the “auto typist” was invented 1932 in America. These automatic typewriters were operated by the use of electricity. They type already prepared text in a pre-determined display without a typist stricking the keys, returning the carriage or operating any of machine control.
Warson et al (1978) stated that the automatic type writer produce copies from the original typewriter produced copies from the original typescript at he spped of up to 145 words per minute or above, each of which look like original copy creating good impression when letters are sent to organisation and individual customers.
On this issue of modern quality automation Fuari (1977) stated:
“The advent of the industrial resolution and ever-increasing amount of data to be processed, gave rise to the need for faster, cheaper and more efficient method of processing words and data”.
For this reason, word processors were constructed to solve the problem. Another author, in the name of Elendu (1985) also gave his own opinion routine book-keeping and related tasks in a single operation.
Johnson (1982 also emphasized that during the 20th centuring, IBM developed the first electric typewriter to increase the speed in production. This is known as automatic type writer.
The world’ fastest growing major business in the manufacturing industries have had its precedental growth and development since 1950’s. The first generation (1950-1955) used vacuum tubes and the in-put device which consists of punch cards and stored programme were limited to magnetic drums and cores.
Most organisation made use of early computer in converting their existing manual to mechanical accounting and derical functions so as to obtain savings in the office of personnel required to do the work, to secure increased accuracy, the simplicity their procedure and to provide computer capacity that would absorb expected maximal production.
In effect the advent of technology in organizations dated back to the seventeenth century and had since gradually improved as a result of continued changes. This conclusion is in line with the words of forster (1990) that the first to handle money column was Burroghs 1988
THE REASONS FOR MODERN OFFICE EQUIPMENT
It may be necessary to emphasize the new trend in technological sphere, since equipment and as a result make certain contribution to the effective and efficient discharge of secretarial duties. These contributions are the reasons for the modern office equipment and they are as follows:-
1. SPEED: Modern office equipment prform most duties at unique speed. These, they process information needed by the managemnt in policy making and decision taking. Warsan et al (1978) stated that copying machine is a quick and simple method of making copies of documents. A single copy or a number of copies can be made depending on the size of the machine one is using.
Walley (1968) stated that an efficient secretary making use of electronic typewriters produces work at twice or three times the speed of a clerk using manual typewriter.
2. TIME SAVING:
Warson et al (1978) said that as exact copies or the original are made by the duplicating machine, they (the copies) do not need to be checked. This saves time. He also said that the mistakes which are too many in hand writer method of recording data especially calculations are invariably difficult to locate and much valuable time and money can be spent in searching for them. Such delays means that information available to management is neither readily obtained nor up-dated. Also these delay may prove costly since statement sent out late mean late statement of account, extending credit and increased risk of bad debts. But machines like the computer system has facilities to spot and correct errors present in a text.
3. ACCURACY: It is a clear and well established fact that modern office equipment have the ability to produce more reliable out-put, once correct data are feed in Walley (1968) stated that in carrying-out multi-entries, alla the entries are similar and therefore correct. There would be less need to spend time correcting errors and customer’s goodwill will improve as typing of invoice are more likely to be accurate.
4. MEMORY STORAGE: computer system, word processors, IBM Electronic typewriter etc, have the ability to store information within built mechanism itself and filed for future use.
Forster (1990) explained that the active storage of the computer holds the operating programme and data which is used by the secretary.
5. LOWER COSTS: The validity of this benefit of modern office equipment is dependent on the visitation of any office with developed automation Forster (1990:79) disclosed that procuring an equipment like the computer or word processor has a great impact on the number of copy-typist employed by a large organization (manufacturing industries)
6. MORE INFORMATION: The use of modern office equipment makes information available to the management at the desired period. Terry (1970) stated that among the most important, versatile and widely used office machines are the punched card machines, which put information in such a form that it can be easily handled for any member of subsequent operation. Office automation and technology into office operations has made a secretarial duties less ardous and its mental strain reduced the impact of modern office equipment on the job performances of secretaries in organizations can be summarized into less physical effort, higher skills and aptitudes, removal of neptitude tasks, better salaries, usefully busy and so on.
The use of modern office equipment by a secretary using manual or under-developed equipment. Highly skilled personnel is soughts for in manufacturing industries nowadays. And to this effects, Russon, Mulkene and half man advocated that the more productive a secretary is, the more the industries can afford to pay within reasonable limits and hence more employment opportunities for secretaries.
According to Elender (1983) he advocated that “office equipment minimizes likely frauds which could arise from the numerous mathematical calculations done in the offices”.
MODERN EQUIPMENT AS COMPARED WITH THE OLD EQUIPMENT IN SECRETARIAL FIELD
Hence the main consideration were based on cost, speed and
convenience afforded by the use of these machines. Frequent manual work causes fatigue, which consequently leads to low productivity, however, with the expansion of office and its activities, these manual means of carrying out work become inadequate so, the introduction of modern office equipment- brought about a revolution in office occupation.
Onasanya (1990) pointed out that the invention of word processor has a significant impact on the job performances of secretaries in manufacturing industries.
Azikwe (1990) agrees that the introduction of modern office equipment was necessitated by the need to cope with the increased work in the office. He also pointed out that the cost of procuring the modern machines like electronic typewriters, word processors, computers and so on are very expensive, because of the presence of these modern equipment, convenience is assured in the discharge of most secretarial duties as it relieves much physical and mental effort. Consider for instance.
The use of manual typewriter as compared with the IBM electronic typewriter. Particularly in returning of carriage. Ronald Warson et al (1976) emphasizes such rigit. They further stated that the secretary is capable of working faster and more efficiently with the minimum of fatigue as no thrust of the key is necessary. The carriage is retuned-automatically with the touch of a button.
In the course of discharging secretarial duties, the secretary can either use directly or come in contact with the problems encountered in secretarial profession thereby making the work less burdensome and more enjoyable.
Few of such equipment are the word processor, electronic typewrier, computer, dictating machine, photocopying machine, electric typewriter, typewriter, duplicating machine etc.
(a) WORD PROFESSOR: The function like a computer it is made up of the keyboard, the visual display unit (VDU), the magnetic storage, the printer, this equipment not only increases productivity, but also reduces costs and makes work less tedious.
The word processors have an in-built dictionary which is used to locate wrong spellings so as to correct them. This is of great help to the secretary who may have a lot of other work to do and need not retype text thereby dirting the paper if she was using ordinary manual type writer in producing a text.
B. Electric Typewriter: According to Warson et al (1978) Electric type writer has gained steady popularity both to the employer and athe secretary who use them. This machine is an improvement on the manual stypewriter and hece has a lot of advantages. It is electrically operated and works automatically. However, it’s advantages is evidenced on its dependence on power, heaviness and cost.
(C) ELECTRONIC TYPEWRITER: this is the latest
development in the advancement of electric typewriters. A secretary who has this equipment within her reach will be relieved of much burden of the job. It also works automatically. The latest models have Du which can display 210 3 more lines.
(D) DICTATING MACHINE: This type of machine is used for recording documents by secretaries especially if the messages are technical, confidential or different from the secretary’s understanding without face to face explanation. Routine dictation is handled by this machines thus saving the time the secretary will sped in training notes
This equipment is very advantageous in the sense that he executives time is saved. The recorded disc is mailable and a permanent record ort dictated matter is made. On the other hand, the disadvantages are evidence in its possibility to break down and dependence on power. It may also result to the loss of the speed of the secretary.
e. PHOTOCOPYING MACHINE: This reproduces a replica of documents and the method is of course quick. Warson et al (1978) maintained that he great advantage of copiers is that there is no need to re-write or re-type. The secretary is saved from the resultant burden of repeating works.
f. FASCIMILS TRANSCEIVERS: This the electronic mail system which facilitates and efficient communication. It transmits and receives exact copies of any kind of original document especially those that have to do with either typed, written or drawn diagrammatic information over everyday telephone lines a minute. The original document is placed into the machine and the recipient then places a blank sheet of paper in his machine ready to receive a copy of the original document
g. ADDRESSING MACHINE: this is used where repetitive information has to be written into documents and lists. Warson et el (1978) states that the addressing machine can be used for addressing envelopes, gumed labels, circulars, postcards, statement etc. the advantage inherent in the use of this machine is that it allows for the use of same name and address or any repetitive data to be reproduced as many times as required data to be reproduced as many times as required from one master plate.
H TELE PRINTER: this is used to distances. Warson et al (1978) described the machine as having resemblance of typewriter and reproduces messages simultaneously on both sending and receiving machines.
I. DUPLICATING MACHINES: every secretary is in constant use of this machine in the office. This machine has replaced hand coping, typing and making carbon copies which were methods long employed in the offices and capable of producing rapidly and in-expensively any given number of copies of forms, circular and many other documents which may be needed at any point in time. It make use of stencil or spirit.
J. ACCOUNTING MACHINE: This machine is known to perform routine bookkeeping and related tasks in a single operation. This machine helps the secretary in discharging her duty in the work place with much brain work and multiple mistakes.
K. CALCULATING MACHINE: This machines perform very easily the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division operations, thus enabling the management to be provided with an immediate source of information thereby eliminating likely time wastage on the part of the office work. The types of calculating machine used in the offices depend mainly on the needs of the offices.
PROBLEMS SECRETARIES ENCOUNTER IN THE USE OF THESE MODERN OFFICE EQUIPMENT
In discussing these problems, reference is made to the view of some authors who have death with this topic.
Terry (1970) stated that, the problems, associated with the use of modern office equipment he heavily with the cost of maintenance. The cost of repairing and maintaining most modern office equipment is very high, that they are dumped in the office making secretaries who are acquainted with the equipment handicapped to tackle their tasks.
Onasanya (1990) explained that relevant expenses in the form of cost of stationery ink, training of staff and special pay for such staff are problems of procuring modern office equipment.
He further said that these modern office equipment reduces in-efficiency on the part of the secretary, so a break down of the machines could reveal such inefficiency.
Warson et al (1978) pointed out that the problems secretaries encounter in the manipulation of some of these modern office equipment such as electric typewriter and infact all electrically driven equipment lie in the fact that power supply is not always constant and can disappoint the secretary by getting her stucked in the midst of carrying out a task.
Elendu (1983) said that secretaries prefer taking shorthand dictation and transcribing it on their own than using dictating machines because of loss of speed and damages oaf tapes on transit.
He pointed out also that inter personal relationship is minimized between a secretary and her boss.
It is necessary to note that since the cost of producing these modern office equipment, is high and secretaries cannoat work effectively because, of break-down of most of these equipment, business organizations should train personnel who are specialists in the repair aof these machines. The organisation should endeavour to get power generators to off-set the effect of power failure on the performance of secretarial duties.
In athis chapter, the researcher discussed extensively the cross-fertilize vews of reputed authors concerning the issue of the modern office equipment and its effects on the job performance of secretaries in am orgnaisation. The history of some of these modern office equipment was briefly mentioned. From the available data, it was gathered that he growth of technology in office operation was dated back into the seventeenth century. The benefits of these equipment were also discussed.
The old and new equipment were compared. The comparison was made in terms of cost, labour saving, time saving, speed etc.
Finally, the over-time of the equipment was given and the problems encountered by the secretaries were also mentioned together with possible solutions.