AN APPRAISAL OF THE ROLES AND POSITION OF A CONFIDENTIAL SECRETARY IN THE CIVIL SERVICE OF ANAMBRA STATE PROBLEMS AND STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
In an organisation, secretaries, in addition to the roles enumerated above, attend to administrators, staffs, customers. These categories of persons attended to by secretaries are referred to, in this research, as customers in a general sense. Customers are those who receive an organisation’ services from secretaries.
For the present study the term “secretary” refers to any person who possesses a mastery of stenography, word-processing, and computer operations skills. In an organization… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
An office cannot effectively function without secretary. A secretary is very important in every organization. Secretary is the pillar of every organization. The objectives of an organization can hardly be achieved if a secretary is not employed. The success or failure of any organization depends on the secretary.
The impression the secretary creates influence the attitude of the public towards the organization. Every secretary must be able to handle office equipment such as typewriter, converting hand written materials into printed forms mail room equipment, dispatch and receive of mails telephone instrument for communication purposes and the computer, powerful equipment which renders itself to various uses.
All these activities and many others not described here from the duties attributable to confidential secretaries. Therefore, before appraising the major roles confidential secretaries play in the civil service of Anambra State. Let us have a brief concept of which a secretary means. Confidential secretary has been defined in various ways.
A confidential secretary is an assistant to an executive possessing a mastery of the office; the person must demonstrate the ability to accept responsibility without direct supervision assigned direction. A mere servant, his position is that he has to do what he is told and no person can assume he has any authority to represent anything at all.
The above definition was made when the education status of secretaries has not been enhanced and their duties not clearly identified. As time goes on the positive of confidential secretaries has started to experience what can be termed as modification is occasioned by technological development, which afforded advancement in secretarial field. Many scholars and association formulated a coherent definition of secretary.
Homby (1942) in his dictionary identified a secretary as: An employee in an office who deals with correspondence, keeps records, make arrangement and appointment for a particular member of the staff and usually called private secretary… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Confidential Secretaries in the Nigerian public service, of which an organisation in the Anambra states of Nigeria is among, tend to fall short of the expectations of customers in the provision of services. Successive administrations in Nigeria have instituted various administrative reviews and reforms to re-invigorate the public service. Some of these administrative reviews and reforms predate Nigeria’s independence.
From the Tudor Davis Commission of 1945 till date, the initiatives range from installing more appropriate structures and conditions of service to issues of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the service and, lately ensuring service delivery improvement… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
The main purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which Confidential Secretaries in the civil service in the Anambra-states of Nigeria apply interpersonal and resource skills necessary for improving their service delivery. Specifically, the study sought to:
- Determine the extent to which Confidential Secretaries in the civil service in Anambra states of Nigeria apply interpersonal skills in their service delivery… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
The findings of the study are considered vital in the present reforms for best practices in Nigeria. The outcome of the study should be beneficial to Confidential Secretaries of an organization in identifying their needs for professional development in service delivery in line with the SERVICOM principles as that will enhance institutions reputation and increase profits… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
The word Confidential Secretary simply means a person who works in an office and manages the organization. Although a Confidential Secretary is perceived more as a personal assistant or administrative assistant, the professional Confidential Secretary is one of the most essential human resources in a business organization because he helps make the wheel of the organization to turn. Confidential Secretaries provide the unseen services which make the organizations to prosper. Confidential Secretaries according to Ahukannah and Ekelegbe (2008) are classified into four categories:
- Professional Confidential Secretary: This is the Confidential Secretary by reason of training, ethics, orientation and skills. He must be an expert in shorthand writing, typewriting and use of computer and ability to deal with office routine activities. This category (in other words termed as confidential Confidential Secretary) is the researcher area of concern.
- The Honorary Confidential Secretary: This is the one who is in charge of the correspondence, records and other business affairs of a society, club and other associations. He is not a professional Confidential Secretary because he has not acquired the necessary skills/training… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
A thorough review of the duties and roles perform by Confidential Secretaries requires a classification or categorization of these functions. This classification allows a better understanding of the job the Confidential Secretaries perform. For the purpose of this discussion, a number of classifications of the function shall be reviewed below.
An administrative function of a Confidential Secretary involves organizing and controlling the organizational activities in order to achieve the objectives of the organization.
It also includes supervision of junior staff and ensuring that schedules of work are being accomplished, directives and assigned tasks completed within the time span, and ensuring that all the materials needed for performing any particular job are available at the right time.
Ekwue (2009) advanced that a Confidential Secretary must perform a variety of Confidential Secretarial and office management duties, composes, types and files letters and inter-office memos, receives calls and interviews persons calling in office and makes referrals, prepares departmental records and disciplinary notices.
Performing any or all of the mentioned duties depicts that a Confidential Secretary is involved in an administrative function… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
The modern office has changed dramatically since the 1990s. Offices in today’s society are transmitting information via electronic mail (e-mail), electronic calendars, and teleconferencing, as well as other electronic devices. Communication via technology is just as important as oral and written communication in the work environment. Technology continues to play a vital role in transforming the business environment.
Today’s modern offices are substantially different from the office environment of 20 years ago. Sweeping changes have occurred at the workplace as a result of new office technology and automation of office equipment.
New technology is changing the scope of what’s considered an office. Offices inevitably adopt newer technologies that get more work done with fewer people, and there’s pressure to keep a modern, professional image by staying on top of the latest tech trends. The need for high productivity and maximization of profit has led to the wide use of modern machines in most offices. There has never been a greater need for efficiency in business than there is today. All kinds of business must employ modern methods of gadgets or equipment in offices to meet the challenges of today’s world.
As an office staff, the Confidential Secretary who is the image maker of the organization and from whom most information emanates, requires a great knowledge of Information and Communication Technology to perform efficiently on the job which would influence the speed of information delivery, production of job requested by the boss or organization within a short space of time, make less mistakes and high productivity on the performance of job… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
The study adopted descriptive survey design. According to Kerlinger in Chukwumezie, (2005) a survey design involves the assessment of public opinion using questionnaire and sampling methods. Through this method, the opinion of a fairly representative sample would be sought for the purpose of generalization to the entire population.
The target population of the study comprised of 1492 Confidential Secretaries from 38 state owned organization in the Anambra states of Nigeria… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
Research Question 1
To what extent do Confidential Secretaries in the civil service apply interpersonal skills in their service delivery?
To answer this question the following computation which is shown in Table 1 were done… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
From the analyses, the data and test of the null hypotheses the following findings were made:
- Confidential Secretaries in the civil service in the Anambra states of Nigeria apply all the interpersonal and resource skills to a high extent in their service delivery.
- There is a significant difference in the extent Confidential Secretaries from State owned an organisation apply interpersonal and resource skills in their service delivery… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material).
The findings of this study have shown that Confidential Secretaries in the civil service in the Anambra States of Nigeria who apply all interpersonal and resource skills in their service delivery to high extent perform better in satisfying their customers’ expectations.
- Measures should be provided to ensure that only professionally competent Confidential Secretaries with ICT skills are employed to better position individual institutions to deal with the increasingly complex technological challenges of the 21st
- Enough funds should be provided to the an organization to enable them hire more, very much needed, technologically technical staff, to organise workshops, seminars and conferences regularly for Confidential Secretaries to update their current techniques and methods for ICT care and maintenance… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Chiang, A. ( 2001). A Practical Guide to Delivering Excellent Customer Service. Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence.
Chukwumezie, F.U. (2005). Computer Skills Needed by Personal Confidential Secretarial Assistants in Private Limited Liability Companies. Unpublished Ph.D dissertation. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
DeJanasz, S., Dowd, K. & Schneider, B. (2002). Interpersonal skills in organizations. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Draper, G. (2004). The Challenge of Service Delivery in Commonwealth Public Services A Report on the CAPAM-IDD 2004 Service Delivery Seminar Birmingham, United Kingdom, CAPAM Director of International Development.
Economic Regulation Authority Perth, Western Australia (2006, August). Customer Service Charter Guidelines. Economic Regulation Authority website at www.era.wa.gov.au.
Egboka, B.C.E. (2009). Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (2009). UNIZIK Bulletin. A publication of the office of the Vice-Chancellor, July 20, 2009. 2(28).
Ezenwafor, J.I. (2009). Challenges and Strategies for Training and Retraining University Confidential Secretarial Staff in the Era of Information and Communication Technology. A paper presented at the one day seminar organized by the University Confidential Secretarial Staff Association (USSA), Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Branch; July 17.
Harding, H. (1999). Office Organisation and Confidential Secretarial Procedures. London: Longman.
House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee Skills for Government. Ninth Report of Session 2006–07 Volume I Report, annex and appendices, together with formal minutes Ordered by The House of Commons. London: The Stationery Office Limited.
Jerich, M. E. (2000). Assessing Professional Development Needs of Confidential Secretarial Employees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Krumrie, M. (2008). Administrative Careers: The Evolution of the Office Manager. On the Job. Monster Contributing Writer. http://content.comcast.monster.com/admin-careers/administrative-support/The-Evolution-o… Accessed 2008/7/21.