A Study of Effects of Frustration on Nigerian Secretaries

A Study of Effects of Frustration on Nigerian Secretaries

In this chapter, efforts he been made to review the previous works on the topic by different authors.  The purpose is to set the current research into perspective and to determine a systematic framework for analyzing and understanding the nature and effect of frustration.,  Another purpose of this literature review is for the researcher to identify areas where the authors agreed, disagreed and areas of possible controversy.  It  will also help the researcher to know the areas untouched.

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People chose a particular job for reason the satisfaction of an individual’s need and more likely, which the high job satisfaction through reward, which the employee receive for high performance.  But when that regard is denied or delayed, what is the effect on the employee the secretary to be more precise.

  • WHO IS A SECRETARY AND WHAT ARE HIS ROLES

According to Beyet 1996 A secretary is an employee in an office, who deals with correspondence, keeps records, makes arrangement and appointments for a particular member of the staff.  His role or definition is better state in the book Onasanya (1990) when he states that a secretary is an important officer in any establishment.  He combines shorthand and typing skills with a sound knowledge of English and secretarial duties. “A competent confidential secretary is an indispensable alter ego of the boss”.

In support of the above words, Ubeku (1995) as an office which the organistaion or management.  Cannot do without.  Obodo, (1998) a former Head of Department of Secretarial Administration Institute of Management and Technology emphasis our the competent of a secretary when he said that a secretary is an officer who act without direct supervision.

A secretary has been defined by the “National Secretaries Association (2003) as “an executive assistant who possesses a mastery of skills, who demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, who exercise initiative and judgment makes decisions within the scope of assigned authority”.

The indispensability of a secretary is not to be emphasized in any organizations this is because he performs many roles.  These roles includes producing mail able letters, acting as the eye of the organization to the outside world.  Onasanya threw more light on the duties of secretary when he states, that “the duties of an effective secretary go far beyond taking notes at high speeds and producing letters.  His main duty is to assist the executive.  This is accomplished when the secretary handles most of the routine duties.  He should be able to work without supervision in accordance with laid down procedures.  He should be able to arrange meeting, compile minutes of meetings, reports and exercise control over subordinates.  He is the first contract an organization has with the outside world.  He helps the executive to handle and solo minor problems.  He reminds the executives of outstanding matters and furnish the facts and figures that will enhance communication in the organization”.

To be able to carry out all these duties, there are some personal attributes which a secretary must posses.  He must know how to relate to people (human relation) Punctual, orderliness, loyal, cheerful and mild temper alert, fact and courtesy. Says that secretaries will be able to accept criticism, cope with concentration, cope with pressure, have a sense of humor, cope with stress and above all have limited idea of how to handle office automation.

These qualities cannot come within a wave of hand so Onasanya (1990) in his book “The effective Secretary Emphasis on a secretary being trained in a higher institution.  This will enable him to have at least National Diploma in courses related to his field of work.

Kenneth Odowo (1992) have the same view with Keith David because in his book “secretary that work”, he listed other personal attributes of a secretary they include enthusiasm for wok ability to keep secrets, good posture and good health and ability to mix with people.

As we have seen all these functions and attributes of secretaries, denying the of certain privileges can cause frustration to  them.  Now what is frustration?

  • THE MEANING OF FRUSTRATION

In the word of Brown, (1974), Frustration is a feeling that arises when one encounters certain kind of blocks on paths to certain kind of goals.  It is a feeling rather than fact.  These feelings arise when the block seems insurmountable and when failure to surmount it, threatens one’s personal and well-being if the goal involves the self.  He further stated that many obstacle situations are depriving rather than frustrating.  When goals are not controlled to the self, it can develop to frustration than others because they have more ways around to solve problems.  Moreover, if a person’ goal is in line with his abilities, then he may avoid another major source of  frustration like when a secretary applies for a promotion or training but was denied for it.  This is often seen when the secretary is qualified for promotion.  But when he knows that his objectives extend for beyond his abilities, he may consider himself a chronic failure.

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Brown went further to say that many obstacle situation are rather depriving than frustrating.  What one calls frustration, another wave take lightly.

I like his opinion because I believe that other people parents, peers, managers all have a great deal to do with the development of self-confidence and hence with the ways people dial with obstacles.  Self-confidence is tried with success and success is in large extent what people sacrifice to achieve a particular goal.

The above statement was supported by Norman Maier (1994) “Sooner or later, every individual is confronted with a situation, in which his knowledge, innate intelligence and experience are employed in a person is motivated towards a goal and something interferes with his progress towards it, he is said to be frustrated.  In such a situation, the appropriate type of behaviour in which the habitual mode of conduct or response adopted to the solving of a problem is tarnished”.  He further stated that “If for one reason or the other, he cannot attain the goal, a greater or less degree of frustration is likely to result.  He may consider another goal”.

Now let us take home the above statements.  A secretary who sees that his goals are frustrated can look for a substitute.  For instance if a secretary is denied for an in-service training but is given promotion instead he may be satisfied with the substitute and it did not frustrate him at all.  But when the goals are much more important to the secretary, he may not like to take any substitute and as a result, frustration sets in. I must add that if he really want to get and accomplish the desired goal, more energy is needed.

Maier supports the view by saying that the undirected energy may take the following forms:  “The digress of frustration produced depends on the individuals tolerance, his previous history of background, his own interpretation of the situation and the pressure under which he is function”.

Maier seems to share the same view with Brown in the majority of ideas.  Here is important to note that some individuals are temp temperamentally more liable to frustration than others and its is also certain that childhood experience play a considerable part in determining what kind of situation is taken as frustration.  This may also influence the general degree of security felt in later life.  Recent experiences are likely to influence the response to a give situation so that a secretary who has been severely frustrated at work will tend of fly off the handle when confronted.’

In summary, it depends on what one calls frustration.  It may differ from one person to another and unless they are solve, they possess a trait to the employee involved.

  • CAUSES OF FRUSTRATION

Aldag and Brief (1994), believe that certain things can really frustrate a secretary.  They include the role itself.  They went further to divide this role conflict into three.

They stated: “Role conflict is when an employee is required to engage in activities that run counter to their own expectations or when another person or persons place competing demands on their time and energy.

The forms of this conflict are three inter sender role conflict, person role conflict and inter role conflict”.

This simply means that if the management do not simplify the secretary’s role and make it clear to him, he might be frustrated.  Like wise if the manager demands the secretary to engage in work or duties which requires him to exhibit two incompatible behaviours, it can frustrate him.

Hogetts (1994) in “Organisational Behaviour” support Aldag and Brief.  He stresses out that work itself can cause frustration on an  employee if facilities needed to accomplish the job us not supplied.  This calls for the second cause of frustration which is the working environment.

It is noteworthy that work environment includes both the working space, the automation and the facilities needed for a job to be well done.

Onasanya (1990) says that in laying out of an office, certain things must be done to make the working environment conducive for workers.  He states that “Free flow of work will be provided so that is will curtail friction.  Privacy should be given to individual workers especially to those whose works are confidential. Consider the placement of desks, cabinet and racks in the office.  Adequate lightening and ventilation for good health is important.  Social and welfare facilities should be made available to staff.  Offices should be placed at a proper position where it will relate to other offices without disturbance”.

If the above points are considered, a secretary will not be frustrated as a result of working environment.  Now what about the office furniture’s needed so as to speed up his duties without being frustrated? Onasanya continued:  “office furniture including tables, charis, wooden filling cabinet, metal filing cabinet and cupboard must be office machinery including typewriters, accounting machines, computer, complication and copying machines are necessary.  Office stationery including papers of all sizes, pins and clips are essential, office communicating equipment, radio call equipment and telex machines will compliment secretaries.  Office equipment including safes, waste paper baskets, clocks and fire extinguishers reduce reckless movement.  Beverages including tea, coffee, milk, sugar, tea cup,

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Souses and spoons all will make the secretary feel at home”.

When the working environment is conducive, frustration tends to reduce.

Decline in pay Rate:  In Nigeria the average salary is specified.  If a secretary for instance is a HND holder and is being paid N200 for a month, He will be frustrated because both end cannot meet with the meager amount of money.  Educational level determines the level of pay in Nigeria and this must be considered.

Frustration can equally be caused by work rules and company policy.

This is pointed out in New swatch monthly magazine in vol. 2 of June 1996 edition.  In one of the cartoon there, a job was given to a secretary and unto twenty five rules was given.  Even before the manager finish listing the rules, the secretary’s face was contorted.

Denial of a qualified  privileges also frustrates.  Brief and Aldag make this points clear when they state in plain language that if an employee is not given the opportunity to climb the promotion ladder, it retards the behaviour.  Banerjee S.C in his book support this point.  “In his Handbook of Management” he state that “promotion is one of the way employee reach self actualization stage.  If not achieved within the right time, frustration occurs”.

This point seems to go with the next cause of frustration which is manager.  There are many ways managers can cause frustration on their secretaries.  If a manager is flirtatious, it make the secretaries bored whenever she remember to face the next day.  At times secretaries work over-time. They deserve to pay for the work.  If they are not paid, they become frustrated.  So managers must inform the manager that the secretary requires extra pay.

In “The Effective Secretary” Onsanya state tha, “A secretary may be faced with dilemma where by an executive indulges in actions which tantamount to destabilizing the smooth running of the organizations e.g. taking bribe, running after her et. Can she exposed or support the boss?

Work Mate: Can cause frustration. Onsanaya states that “A  visitor to a junior staff member should not passed into the office.  The staff concerned should be invited to the reception to attend to the visitor”.

In times like this, some workers might resort to quarreling with the secretary.  Again secretaries are in a position that makes them aware of every situation which might take place resignation, promotion, retrenchment, recruitment etc.  Junior workers might keep malice with the secretary if he did not tell them about, it before it manifested.  When there is no cordial relationship between the secretary and other workers, it can cause frustration.

Another causes of frustration is Maladjustment:  This means the inability to adapt to a given situation.  When a secretary cannot have the ability to get used to a condition she find her self in the organistaion, it will also lead to frustration.  Having seen the major causes of frustration, what are now the effect of this behaviour.

  • THE EFFECT OF FRUSTRATION

Aldag and Brief (1994) pointed out that frustration leads to decline in productivity.  They stated the following words to support their point.  “Organisation should be concerned with employee satisfaction, it has often been argued that satisfaction is related to a variety of one originally relevant outcome”.

A happy employee is a productive employee. I believe too that the effect of frustration on a secretary is enormous.  It can result to displacement.  A frustrated secretary who has a bad day at the office may relive tension by going home and yelling at her husband.  This can have tremendous effect of divided family.  They may become apathetic that is become less concerned about their work, thereby reducing the importance of their jobs.

Frustration can equally result to strike action.  Rush brook (1994) says that “employees that are not treated well can result to embarking on strike, side comment about the company.  It can equally lead to a negative behaviour.

This opinion was bought by Bruce will when he states that “an aggrieved worker could mentally leave” the source of frustration by day dreaming or fantasizing while on the job.  This mental problem can lead to the death of the work.

Quick labour turnover can result when frustration strikes.  An organization that experience quick labour turnover cannot progress.  This is true when we consider what cared H.C says in his book “Management Services” He state that ‘the flow of labour suppose to be a bit static so that the fore cast of manpower planning will achieve desired goal within the specified years.  If there is a lot labour turnover, organizational goals are badly affected.  Management should try and see whether the turnover result due to their conduct or the conduct of the workers”.  Revenge S.C continues to say that frustration can leads to two possible behavior constructive behaviour result when an individual, unable to  a need faces the reality of the situation and does not feel the necessity of defending his or her age or self.  Defensive behavior aims at defending oneself from failure.  He said that defensive behavior is unconscious that is automatically.  He states defensive behavior forms as:- Rationalization that is making exercise for failure, projection blaming others or attributing your feeling to them and this is in line with what Aldag and Brief believe. Another for of defensive behaviour according to Banerjee is compensation substituting an attainable goal for one that is not attainable.  For instance a secretary may wish to attract a lot of attention to herself by being a perfect computer operator.  However, she never succeed, she might compensate for this by becoming a good typist.  Defensive behavior can lead to regression.  This means that the person will reverse to child like behavior.  It is an unconscious reaction to frustration.,  For instance extreme stubbornness to get ones way is regression.  This regression causes a person to reverse to childlike behavior.  IT is an unconscious reaction to frustration which result to withdrawal that is given up, removing oneself psychologically or physically form an unceasing situation.

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Regression is another effect of frustration that is putting an unpleasant thought into one mind.  Aggression result also from being frustrated.  When one tries to hurt or damage someone or something as a result of frustration it is aggression.  This can come in physical or verbal form.

Many author have the same veins as listed above.  For instance UBEKU, in his book, is of the view that an aggrieved secretary is our unhappy employee and that such person cannot do effective work.  The person becomes depressed and this leads to low morals and as a result his efficiency declines.  Satisfaction at work in terms of all the circumstance that surrounds the work is the key to high morals.  It does not matter how well paid and interesting the job may be, unless the individual performing the job feels that he is being fairly treated his moral will be adversely affected.

Ubeku is also of the opinion that no manager will be able to satisfy a frustrated secretary unless he is patient enough to find out the exact cause of his frustration.  This implies that another effect of frustration on secretary is that the boss will always be unhappy.  He related his experience with one of his employees in Guinness Nigeria Ltd,  who carried his domestic and health problem to the office, but being a seasoned managers handled it with tact. His work agreed with that of Bruce Ywill who said that when the secretary becomes resentful  and this resentment take the form of aggressive ness or through a seller attitude, the supervisor faces a lot of problem.  How is he going to deal with the person who is angry?  It he  noticed the person resort to other personal goals especially those which secure him some social approval.

Like Brown and Leavitt (1972) they listed the most common reaction to frustration are apathy, withdrawal, fixation, regression, physical disorder and substitute goals.

To illustrate, if promotion chance is blocked, one, may see it as real or imaginary, but in any case it has happened.  As a result of frustration one may become aggressive by demanding better treatment.

Frustration causes ill- health supporting this Leavitt continued that ”if there is a fixation, perhaps one constantly blame the boss for both his problems and the problem of other physical disorders such as stomach upset can result form frustration.  All of these are possible reaction to frustration”.

  • SUMMARY OF THE CHAPTER

This chapter will be insufficient if the summary of both the causes and effects of frustration are not re-stated.

Work itself, management, managers fellow workers, work environment, facilities automation and mostly by the secretary himself.

The effects of frustration includes decline in productivity, aggression, poor health, poor human relation, substitute goal etc.

If organizations will take note of all these causes of frustration and avoid it, the whole organization will be improving

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