SECRETARIAL PROFESSION AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In every organization, the management of human resources is usually the most complex, challenging and sensitive aspect among other organizational functions. It is complex and sensitive in that, both in the short and long-run, the ease with which the objectives of any organization are achieved depends greatly upon the performance of its secretaries. As Ikeagwu (2002:9) points out, “the employee is the totality of knowledge, skills, creative activities, talents and aptitudes of an organization or nation”.
The emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria has posed a serious challenge to all facets of the Nigerian economy. This has necessitated executive secretaries to keep abreast of the current technology as it affects office procedures and operations. For executive secretaries to contribute effectively and efficiently to the achievement of goals and objectives of the organization they have to be retrained and be given a learning environment on continuous basis in order to acquaint themselves with new challenges in the office. Notwithstanding, there is no doubt that advancement in technology has reshaped and transformed the way executive secretaries discharge their duties. The competent and effective executive secretaryship can be obtained through in-service training programmes. For in-service training programme to be adequate and sound it should consist of three phases, namely: pre-service training phase, on-the-job experience training phase, and in-service training phase (Diraso, 1992).
Rosen and Jerdee (1974) are of the view that the way the secretaries are perceived has a tremendous influence on their performance. They state that gender differentiation and age play significant role in the way secretaries’ performance are perceived which enables them to counterbalance attributional bias. Sometimes, such knowledge may not be based on direct sensory information alone but also on the subjective judgment of the observer and the environmental factors which surrounds the information obtained.
Bryson (1990) maintained that every organization has the basic purpose of achieving a set of roles with respect to the management of its human resources. This is done by improving the performance of members of the organization to achieve a set goal or objective for the organization. This is because the productivity or success of any given organization depends to a large extent on the calibre of the people who work for it. Thus, this can be achieved when human potentials that serve as the backbone of the organization are developed, and properly managed. If the staff are effectively developed, their knowledge, skills and competence can lead to enviable social and economic heights of the organization in its goals accomplishment.