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Assessing the performance of professional secretaries and computer operators in an organization in the Faculty of Education at UB and

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The major objective of this study is to assess the performance of a professional secretary and a computer operator in Buea. It is clear that private individuals, corporate bodies, the population at large and even organizations mistake computer operators for professional secretaries. It is in the light of this, that this research was carried out to erase the misconception.

It was a study carried out on some selected organizations within the city of Buea, Molyko precisely. The research design employed for this study was a case study survey research and the instrument used for data collection was, related books on the topics were referred to and questionnaires were given out to staffs and computer operators in documentations out of which responses from 40 respondents were received and used and that form the basis for analysis.

The study revealed that professional secretaries undergo training and professional courses which enhance their proficiency and efficiency as regard to their duties and responsibilities and computer operators play significant roles in the organization, they type, record and safeguard document in their possessions. This was achieved by evaluating the performance of a professional secretary and a computer operator.

Conclusions were drawn that professional secretaries assume duties and responsibility on behalf of their boss unlike computer operators. It was recommended that computer operators who wish to be called professional secretaries should take up courses in office profession and management studies department and other professional courses relating to that in professional institution so that they can be more competence and proficient.



1.1 Background Of The Study

It is obvious that in many organizations today, be it private or public sectors, secretaries and computer operators are mistakenly misunderstood or thought to mean the same thing. Earlier, secretarial duty was limited to notes from their heads; typing and storing information was done manually.

However, with the advent of technology in companies and offices that have dramatically changed the role and effectiveness of a secretary, secretarial duties have extended to things that were meant for the professional and managerial staff. The secretary that organizations are scrambling for today should not only carryout administrative and clerical activities but also cooperate governance, security laws, make decisions and capital market (marketing).

Atakpa (2010) states that secretarial functions all over the world have undergone a lot of technical changes. As a result, modern office equipment which gives the secretary the opportunity to increase her efficiency abound many office functions and secretarial duties which were previously done manually have been mechanized, thus, the diversity of this office technology requires secretaries to possess new skills and sub skills to enable them to be relevant in the modern office.

As it is today technology has affected every aspect of secretarial work from the organization of document, sorting and storing of document.

Aku (2004) informs that the basic secretarial functions of collecting, recording, processing and transmission of information allows themselves to computerization. Investment in network of automated equipment is transforming the traditional manual office method and paper communication media.

A secretary’s job was performed manually such that documents and record were maintained on paper, store in files and drawers. Consequently, global development in modern aids and communication technology calls for all corresponding development of new skills in office communication by all secretaries and office managers. Equally, works carried out by the professional secretary in the office are now being handled more speedily and in a better way with the use of computers.

A secretary is an endless helpful and understanding individual whose sole aim is to alleviate, prevent or soften problems, workload and distress for his or her executive. She is the reason for which an executive initiate, handles and complete a project. (Dan Remenyi and Micheal Sherwood- smith with tarry

Assessing the performance of professional secretaries and computer operators requires proper check and change to ascertain the caliber/quality and characteristics of each.

Performance as define by Wynel (2010) is a systematic description of job relevant, strength and weaknesses within and between employees. This also means that performance evaluation is a review of the employee’s performance based on the agreed objectives, rules and regulations. As performance determines output in an organization, the output of a secretary can be observed from the duty performed and how specialized one is in his or her functions.

The computer operators who obtains diploma or certificate course in computer training is mistaken for secretaries as there are minor similarities in their duties which are typing of documents, receiving and sending of mail, which are temporary duties performed by the computer operators.

According to Suleiman (2000), a computer operator is someone who requires the knowledge and practice of computer appreciation and operation; he is only knowledgeable in the operation of a computer and how to manipulate it. Most people lack the typing skills as well as the techniques for standard production or duplication of documents.

Suleiman (2000) also defines the duty of a computer operator as the duplication of duties by computer operator. He adds that because the computer operators can manipulate the computer does not mean that they are secretaries. Thus, it is difficult to identify professional secretaries and computer operators, because the computer operator tends to perform better than some professional secretaries in organizations.

Ball (2001) added that, as long as you are under a typewriter (computer), you are a typist; they ignore the fact that there are distinctive features of the two professions in terms of skill, qualifications, duties, responsibilities and remuneration.

This wrong perception or impression has permitted the general public and a great percentage of the public sees the secretarial position as nothing but a mere typist who is trained from business centers/ documentation after undergoing some few months of training in typing from street business schools, and factors that hinders their promotion both as secretaries and computer operators.

This explains why many students are reluctant to take up the course of secretarial studies as a profession that will earned them a living in spite of the fact that, the secretarial position is crucial and important to organizations just like any other field of study or profession. It is against this view that the researcher sees this trend as an empirical problem worthy of investigation and findings.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The work of a professional secretary is quite different from that of a computer operator, be it in an organization or office. This is so because the work of a professional secretary encompasses that of a computer operator in all aspect concerning secretarial functions. This is because Secretary’s responsibilities include various administrative and clerical activities needed to run a company efficiently and smoothly.

Some duties include serving as an office information manager, arranging and scheduling meetings or appointments for the boss, maintaining record management and computer files, managing projects, handling travel arrangements and distributing information through the use of telephones, mail, e-mails, conferences while the work of a computer operator is just limited to monitoring and controlling computer systems and manipulating the computer but in spite of this differences, a lot of organizations and people tends to place a computer operator in the same level with a professional secretary which undermine the profession and give it less importance and value.

As such doubt is expressed about the importance of a professional secretary’s and misunderstood by many contributions to goal attainment of an organization sequel to wrong perception of organizational members, as such people treat the profession with contempt and disregard.

Customers Dissatisfaction. When a computer operator is employed in an organization instead of a professional secretary, it can create widespread job dissatisfaction and tension at the work place reason being that the employee does not have a mastery of office skills and is not competent enough to task performance.

Moreover, a lot of people give less important to secretaries and sees them as those whose duties can be carried out and replace by anyone but nevertheless, the demand for secretaries are consistently increasing be it in the private or public sector. Hence, the subject matter of this research: “Assessing the performance of a professional secretary and computer operator in an organization becomes worthy of investigation”.

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