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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE NEED FOR SELF-EFFICACY AND PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS ON SECRETARIES’ JOB PRODUCTIVITY IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE NEED FOR SELF-EFFICACY AND PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS ON SECRETARIES’ JOB PRODUCTIVITY IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study 

To maintain a competitive edge in the fast-paced and competitive business environment of today, organisations aspire for efficiency and productivity. A critical element in determining the success of an organisation is the efficiency of its personnel, specifically those occupying administrative positions. Secretaries, who are among these personnel, are crucial in maintaining the efficient operation of an organisation. The productivity and efficiency of individuals can have a substantial influence on the organization's overall success and productivity (Mabey & Mayon-2020).

The productivity of employees is significantly influenced by the quality of their work. Undoubtedly, those that possess exceptional aptitude, intellect, and innovative work approaches are bound to excel in their professional endeavours. The job productivity of employees in the private service sector is crucial since it directly impacts the overall productivity of the company. The government established employee productivity criteria to assess the efficiency of organisations. Hence, administrators and managers prioritise job productivity as it is directly impacted by the skill level of employees. Employees are widely regarded as the essential pillars of business organizations (Ndikumana & Verick, 2021).

Including secretaries, evaluating the performance of personnel is a customary procedure. An evaluation is an impartial assessment of an employee's performance, predicated exclusively on their exertions and outcomes, and devoid of any subjective sentiments (Mason, 2020). An effective secretary should possess a keen attention to detail. An assessment of her job performance should encompass comprehensive organisational capabilities, such as filing and record keeping, in addition to the administrative skills required to support a superior in meeting and appointment scheduling and management. An effective secretary is required to manage an assortment of responsibilities, all of which pertain to administrative and clerical work (Aganga, 2020).

The concept of self-efficacy has gained significant traction within organisational culture. Self-efficacy has been applied to virtually every domain within organisational research. Utilisation areas consist of performance evaluation, training, career selection, and managing challenging tasks associated with one's profession. Self-efficacy seems to be an especially suitable construct for industrial work organisations, encompassing both for-profit and non-profit sectors, due to its effective implementation in numerous domains where individuals possess autonomy (Kozlowski, Gully, Brown, Salas, Smith, & Nason, 2020). As stated by Bandura (1997) and referenced in (Kozlowski, Gully, Brown, Salas, Smith, & Nason, 2020), self-efficacy pertains to an individual's perception or evaluation of their own competence in handling a specific circumstance. The empirical investigation of self-efficacy has produced a number of consistent results. Self-efficacy (SE), which is also known as perceived ability, pertains to an individual's assurance in their capability to execute a specific undertaking with success. It is also considered an evaluation of an individual's capability to perform a specific pattern of behaviour. Further elaborating on these definitions, Smith and Nason (2020) proposed that self-efficacy beliefs play a pivotal role in the regulatory mechanism that governs the motivation and performance of an individual. Hence, an individual's self-efficacy significantly influences their level of success, perseverance, and strategic thinking, in addition to their subsequent job performance and training. Self-efficacy, in addition to its prognostic capacity, has the potential to be cultivated to optimise its performance-enhancing advantages (Heslin & Klehe, 2019). Self-efficacy pertains to one's perceptions of what one is capable of accomplishing with the skills they possess, rather than the skills themselves. It is the result of experience-based, incremental acquisition of complex cognitive, social, linguistic, and/or physical abilities. Beliefs that are effective promote well-being and effective performance by inspiring commitment and goal setting, persistent effort, perseverance, resilience, and a decrease in stress and depression (Mason, 2020). 

For instance, Mabey and Mayon (2020) posit that there exists a correlation between self-efficacy and performance in the workplace. Mint (2019) provides support for this claim by stating that improvements in performance are observed in conjunction with enhanced self-efficacy. A noteworthy and positive correlation exists between the self-efficacy of secretaries and their job performance, as the former affects the following: the tasks Secretaries undertake, the level of effort they invest in completing them, and their perseverance when confronted with obstacles. Secretaries who possess low self-efficacy fail to make an effort and, when they do, do not succeed because they do not believe they possess the necessary abilities. Frequently, their accomplishments fail to correspond with their capabilities. The correlation between achievement and self-efficacy strengthens as secretaries progress in their careers. A person's self-efficacy is more strongly correlated with their accomplishments than with any measure of their aptitude by the time they attain office. 

Problem-solving in an organisation is a systematic process where the organisation identifies and defines the problem based on its size, potential impact, and urgency. It then conducts a root cause analysis and develops a range of feasible solutions.  Assess potential solutions and determine the most efficient one; develop a plan and execute the chosen option.

According to Wood (2021), problem-solving talents are highly esteemed in the current job market due to their versatility in addressing various scenarios. Rabha (2021) posits that obstacles serve as catalysts for creativity, making them valuable opportunities for personal growth. Secretaries must possess the ability to comprehend the problem, assess potential solutions, and execute the chosen answer. To effectively solve problems in an organisation, it is crucial to possess certain talents. These include being open-minded, maintaining the correct attitude, being analytical, conducting thorough analysis, brainstorming, asking pertinent questions, and being creative. Recognising that problems present opportunities to showcase one's abilities, these problem-solving skills are essential (Wood, 2021) thus this study will be carrying out an investigation on the need for self-efficacy and problem solving skills on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon.

 Statement of the problem

The secretary assumes a critical role in the operations of the organisation for which he or she is employed. The secretary serves as the central fulcrum around which all operations transpire. Typically, secretaries arrive at the office first and depart the premises last. Frequently at the forefront of the daily operations of an organisation, secretaries perform a variety of duties that demand precision and efficacy. Essential to the accomplishment of organisational objectives are secretaries. This is due to the fact that secretaries serve as intermediaries between the organization's executives and other staff members, as well as between the executives and the external environment. Secretaries are responsible for operationalizing the organization's vision and mission while also promoting a positive external perception of the organisation (Mint 2019).

In addition to the aforementioned self-efficacy belief training that the Secretaries have previously completed, they are anticipated to possess additional qualities and skills that facilitate their job performance. Problem-solving ability is of the utmost importance in this regard. This is due to the fact that a Secretary's responsibilities extend beyond document typing, archiving, and retrieval, and also encompass other contextually relevant tasks as required. A Secretary must assume complete responsibility for the office in the absence of the supervisor. This responsibility entails assigning specific administrative duties to the Secretary. Consequently, complications may arise in the form of issues that must be resolved amicably, prior to consulting the supervisor. A secretary is a personable, empathetic, and supportive individual whose primary responsibility is to mitigate, resolve, prevent, or simplify challenges and the burden of their superior. These qualities are essential for the secretary to fulfil in their capacity (Wood 2021).

However, it has been noted that numerous organisations frequently lodge grievances regarding the job performance of their secretaries. Typically, these criticisms do not pertain to their practical abilities, but rather to their lack of composure when confronted with obstacles and difficulties that are routine to life in the workplace. Nevertheless, their productivity may be impeded by a number of obstacles, including a deficiency in self-confidence (self-efficacy), inadequate problem-solving abilities, and insufficient drive. The aforementioned obstacles may result in reduced efficiency, mistakes, and discontentment in the workplace of assistants (Rabha 2021). In order to mitigate these concerns and optimise the efficiency of secretaries, it is critical to comprehend the degree to which self-efficacy, and problem-solving abilities impact their work output hence the need for this study.

1.3 Objectives of the Study 

The primary objective of this study is to carry out an investigation on the need for self-efficacy and problem solving skills on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon. Specifically the study seeks:

To determine whether there is a relationship between self efficacy and secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon.

To determine whether there is a relationship between problem solving skills and secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon.

To find out the effects of self efficacy on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon.

To find out the effects of problem solving skills on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon.

To identify barriers to developing these skills by secretaries in business organizations in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions will be answered in this study:

Is there a relationship between self efficacy and secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon?

Is there a relationship between problem solving skills and secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon?

What are the effects of self efficacy on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon?

What are the effects of problem solving skills on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon?

What are the barriers to developing these skills by secretaries in business organizations in Cameroon?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The following null hypothesis will validate this study:

Ho1: There is no relationship between self efficacy and secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon.

Ho2: There is no relationship between problem solving skills and secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon.

1.6 Significance of the study

The significance or importance of this study is to highlight the need for secretaries to 

have self-efficacy, and problem solving skills which will affect the level of their output. 

Therefore, this study will benefit business organizations in Cameroon as this study would help in updating their knowledge on the issue of self-efficacy, problem solving skill and effect change in its attitude towards its secretarial staff. 

Still to benefit will be administrators in public organizations because the study would 

provide an in-depth knowledge of how to overcome present and future problems associated with the self-efficacy and problem solving skills of its secretarial staff. 

It would be significant to students in the secretarial profession as the study would indicate areas covered and areas not covered so that they can undertake further researches on those area not covered.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study aims to carry out carry out an investigation on the need for self-efficacy and problem solving skills on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon. Empirically, this study will assess whether there is a relationship between self efficacy and secretaries’ job productivity, whether there is a relationship between problem solving skills and secretaries’ job productivity, the effects of self efficacy on secretaries’ job productivity, the effects of problem solving skills on secretaries’ job productivity and the barriers to developing these skills by secretaries in business organizations.

This study will be carried out in Cameroon.

1.8 Limitation of the study

The researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that the the need for self-efficacy and problem solving skills on secretaries’ job productivity in Cameroon discourse is vast thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only residents of Cameroon. Thus findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other regions within Cameroon. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.

1.9 Definition of terms

Secretary: A secretary is an administrative professional who provides clerical and administrative support to an individual or an organization. Their duties typically include tasks such as answering phone calls, managing correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing meetings, maintaining records, and performing various administrative tasks to ensure the smooth functioning of an office or department. Secretaries often serve as a primary point of contact between their employer and clients, customers, or other staff members.

Self-efficacy: Self-efficacy is the belief in one's ability to successfully execute the actions required to achieve specific goals or perform tasks effectively. It influences how people think, feel, motivate themselves, and behave in various situations.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills refer to the ability to identify, analyze, and resolve problems effectively and efficiently. These skills encompass a range of cognitive and analytical abilities that enable individuals to find solutions to challenges.

Job productivity: Job productivity refers to the efficiency and effectiveness with which an individual or organization completes tasks and produces outputs in relation to the inputs used. It is often measured by the amount of output generated per unit of input, such as time, labor, or resources.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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