The Secretary and the Effectiveness of New Technologies on Record Keeping Management

THE SECRETARY AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF NEW OFFICE TECHNOLOGIES ON RECORD KEEPING MANAGEMENT IN INSTITUTION OF MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY, ENUGU.

REALITY OF NEW OFFICE TECHNOLOGIES

Reality according to Morris (1991) is the quality or state of being actual or truth that exist objectively. The study will now look into what different authors say about some modern office technologies concerning their existence and facilities. The word processors, fax machines, paper shredding, machines, electric type writer, teleprinters, dictating machines, collating machines and mostly computer, including many others can be referred to as new office technologies.

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Most of equipment and machines accomplish task within a very short time which would have taken several basic processes at the same time usually with some automatic control. There are also machines which can write, copy, computer, enter more than one form in one cycle of operation. This new office equipment helps in the production of more accurate and standard document.

The researcher has made it clear that instead of displacing the secretaries of their job. It will improve their efficiency at work. Furthermore, office skill journal (2010) asserts that technology is changing the work of the secretary, but not eliminating it. New technology in the form of word processor, telex, computers and fax eliminate drudgery. These machines have mechanized the secretarial skills and stabilized office procedures and studies hence, it is not worthy that the procedure never intended to displace secretaries from their jobs but rather improve their job efficiency and effectiveness.

The use of these machines have tremendously simplified the work of secretaries, but the need for training and retraining is essential to get full understanding of the operations of the system involved.

ELECTRONIC COMPUTER

       An electronic computer is a machine or electronic correlates and otherwise processes and prints information from coded data in accordance with a pre-determined program. It is not the complex machines as often thought to be but electronic which processes data to produce a result. It is a tool secretaries can use to assist in the complicated and time-consuming task of generating information. In other words, it is an information processing machine.

Stanley Thornes (1998) pointed out that, a computer is not just to gather, store and process data but also serve as a communication center for distributing numerical data and information throughout an organization. Their speed, level of accuracy and flexibility of processing information are unmatched by any of the other methods. These manipulate data in the form of electronic pulses at the rate of million of pulses per second. It comprises on important components such as input, output, storage, control and arithmetic units.

INPUT UNITS

       The input unit enable the system user to transmit information and receive output from the computer. The input devices include the keyboard, card readers, paper tape readers, the light pen used for interactive purposes and voice syntheses.

OUTPUT UNIT                        

       This produces the end result of the calculations on readable version. Such information can also be produced in the form of data which can be fed into the computer. Output units include video display unit (VDU), printers, card punch, paper tape, punch machines and loud speakers used to out sounds.

 

STORAGE UNIT

This is the computer’s memory. The data fed into the input are converted into electrical pulses and retained in the memory. The stored information kept for further instruction of the future use.

 

CONTROL UNIT

       This is the control panel that allows the other parts of the computer to be automatically brought to use as directed by the programmed data.

 

ARITHMETIC UNIT

       This performs the actual arithmetic calculation at very high speed.

ELECTRONIC TYPE WRITERS

       Most offices are now equipped with the electronic typewriters because of the advantages they have over the manual machines. Such advantages are: – volume of document, copies produced, key depression, storage carriage return, tabulation. According to Spleman (1990) the electronic typewriter  have emerged as the newest equipment in the every changing  world. He states the electronic typewriter, enhances productivity by eliminating key strokes, carriage return, line spacing, tabulation etc. Furthermore, Denyer (1986) assets that the electronic typewriter has a memory and although it foes not have may functions as word processor, it is more labour saving than other typewriters. The users are power actuated and only a slight depression of these keys is necessary. The users are power actuated and only a slight depression of these keys is necessary. The users also exerts less physical effort and type for much longer period than he/she could on the manual typewriter. Hence, this could be used in processing information.

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WORD PROCESSORS

       These are tools to assist in the preparation of written documents. Word processing software helps in composition, revision, printing and filing of text documents. In word processing, the data are characters that can be entered either through the keyboard or via a mouse or by voice. The characters are grouped into words, sentences, paragraphs, pages and documents. Word processing has become so widespread in office environment, of today because of its ability or specialized programs for editing, creating and printing text. Many of the system also perform other functions such as checking spelling, telecommunication, sorting and filing.

Chading (1996) points out that there are many word processing machines used by secretaries in the modern office and the each has slightly different command for performing similar functions, he further, explain that word processors vary is sophistication and complexity of the tasks which they perform and that all word processors are more versatile than writers since data can be reduced on a visual display unit and edited so that perfect copy can be produced before it is printed.

Facsimile Transmission

Known universally today as fax. This communication system has become extremely popular with the managers and  secretaries in all organization and departments, largely as a result of the speed and versatility. Fax can transmit to local, national and international location of all kinds of messages, both hand written or photography and can accept messages in the same range of media.

Chadhury and Angley (1996) are of the opinion that fax is an equipment which can be used in transmitting information (including graphs and charts) so that it is receive as a hard copy by means of automatic telecopies. They further added that fax device can be connected to a telephone so that when the original document is scanned, the information is received 40 – 80 seconds later on a similar device in the receiving office. The actual transmission time depends on the length of the document and the fax model in use.

Typeprinter

Accordingly, Harrison (1995) says that a teleprinter is an instrument rescrubbing a typewriter in appearance and operation for sending and receiving urgent messages. This view agrees with Deryer’s (1986) when he maintains that teleprinters are machines which resemble a large typewriter with telephone dial used in transferring messages at a high speed. The flexibility provides instant communication between the secretary and her correspondent.

Shredding Machines:

Hall (1999) says that shredding machines are used permanently to destroy unwanted confidential and other documents that are no longer needed in the office. The heavy duty machines can shred up to 500 kilogram of materials an hour and are capable of shredding computer cards, cardboards, paper clips and staplers effectively.

Training Needs for Intending Secretaries:

Like any other study, the intending secretaries have some distinctive areas of study to qualify them to practice. A good general education is essertial, preferably not below the post primary school level or its equivalent. But the possession of a certificate does not guarantee the efficient performance of any duty and also a good secretary is made not born. Therefore it is pertinent to note that anyone who would occupy the position of a secretary must have to undergo series of secretaries training and should be well vested with the secretarial functions and attributes.

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Norton (1984) is of the opinion that there is need for specific skills development in a basic understanding to computer. He goes further to say that technology has changed the working environment while the executives and secretaries might need to know how to operate word processing equipment. They must thoroughly understand its capabilities to efficiently use the system.

Anyaduba (1991) explains that technology must be seen as an aid for secretaries in the performance of their duties. He further stressed that future secretaries will need higher education and communication skill to be able to cope with rapidly increasing volume of communication problems. This goes to establish the fact that wherever technologies are used, there is need for skilled knowledgeable personnel Oladebo (1991).

According to Anderson (1980), the merging of data processing and word processing in the performance of office function will certainly change the role of a secretary and probably the title.  Because of the degree of specialization, business will necessarily have to accept responsibility for training young workers for the specific specialized function they will perform. This view agrees with the opinion of Chadhury and Angley (1986), when they said that a secretary needs to be thoroughly trained in the new systems for office routines and operations.

The Development and Definition of New Office Technologies:

Sills (1968) has rightly put it that the primitive politicians, the opportunists of the state have been influenced by the nature of their technology for transport, communication and electronic production and that the more complex man’s technology has the choice of his action. In the field of new office system marked the beginning and today’s versatile machines are used to meet with the changing needs of the society. The mechanical accounting machines have been replaced to some extent by electro-mechanic with word processing abilities.

According to Ezeanyim (1987), computerization started in Nigeria in the early 60’s with the installation of computer by the international business machines at university of Ibadan but was not very popular during that period. In the 1980s, most Nigerian business organization began to realize the importance of these new office technologies and also started to acquire them.

New office technologies have also been defined by many authors, for example, Birchall (1981), believe that new office technologies include all the information handling machines that can play an important role in the office. This view agrees with the view of Holts (1985) that new office technology includes all sophisticated office machines that ease the problems of information management. new office technology refers mainly to all modern office machines and equipment which facilitate the management and free flow of information. Prominent among these machines he said are computer and word processing and others Jackie (1980).

Evolution and Growth of secretarial profession according to the Encyclopedia Britanica (1968) secretarial profession dated back to the 63 BC when shorthand is one of the corner stones and core subject of the profession, was first invented. This library source also stated the most historians dated the beginning of the profession with the Greek Historian and Warrion, “Xenophan” who invented the first shorthand system and used the ancient Greek system and to write the memories and to record the conversation and speeches of Socrates.

Stawwell (1998), says that the industrial revolution with its complexities in office situation which brought about the need for skillful and talented people with a flair in the essential business skills of the twin course (shorthand and typewriting) and other related areas placed he demand for secretaries at a very high position on the 20th century more than at any other time.

Today, secretarial profession has noticed a remarkable growth. Many people who stared as secretaries have because company top executive or managers, university lecturers, professors, polytechnic instructors, writers publishers, etc. The introduction of modern technologies also has contributed to the growth of secretarial profession. The introduction of these technological changes has introduced the use of different type of machines like computers, word processors, electric typewriters etc. For information generated in the office environment has brought about new challenges for secretaries.

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EFFECTS OF NEW OFFICE TECHNOLOGIES ON JOB PERFORMANCE OF SECRETARIES

       The word processors, micro computers are fast replacing machines and radio cassettes have helped to minimize the problems at verbal and orthodox shorthand dictating method. These new technologies, otherwise known as office automation as accredited by many authors have no doubt succeeded in increasing the work efficiency and productivity of secretarial practitioners.

In addition, they save time and improve the quality of office technologies which brought a tremendous impact on the way information is processed and the simplification of office work methods.

Anyaduba (1999) is of the opinion that technology must be seen as facilitator of human factor and should be seen to complement the secretary in the performance of his/her duties.

Spleman (1980) point out that electronic typewriters enhances productivity by eliminating key strokes coupled with the fact that it incorporates other functions as automatic error correction, recall, storage etc.

On the other hand, Dejalmo (1980) has noted that the advantages of word processor include delivery to hard copy. Provision of communication with record and reduction of delivery. Furthermore, Gartside (1988) opines that the benefit is to eliminate much routine electrical work and to increase the amount of detailed information available. In addition, S.A.B. Onasanya (1995) has asserted that:

These machines generally are advantageous in the office because they save labour costs, time and improve efficiency, prevent fraud, improve layout and appearance of offices document. They reduce fatigue, especially those associated with handwritten documents.

Stanwell (2000) agrees with him when he wrote in his paper that, mechanization of office work has come about as a result of the need for greater speed and accuracy and the characteristic pictures of modern office, efficiency in the successful integrated use of machines and equipment into what are called system.

Onasanya (1999) did not hesitate also to stress further that although the above advantages are associated with the use of machines in the office the following disadvantages must be noted, capital outlay is always heavy breakdown may delay production, noise emanating from these machines take up useful space, some breakdown contact between office workers high rate of depreciation of machines become obsolete so quickly and need replacement at high cost.

Chapman (1999) say that when these new office machine are introduced into organizations, they usually affect the work of staff within the organizations and that means that job may be created especially for secretaries while some may be lost. These new opportunities have extended the capabilities of secretaries.

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