Impact of Computer on Record Management in an Office
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this research work is:
- To find out and show to the business world the record management features of the computer.
- To determine its impact on the record management.
- To determine its durability and reliability.
What is a Record?
In order to define records management, the concept “record” needs to be fully explored. A record is defined either in terms of the physical tangible format in which it appears, or in terms of the information it contains. It must be noted that records differ in format or size and have different contents, according to Yusof & Chell (1998), any definition of records is a pragmatic one. The definition change with the passage of time and as the profession gets involved in more complex issues.
Cornwell Management Consultants (2001) define a record as a document produced or received by a person or organization in the course of business and retained by that person or organization. Langemo (1995) further defines a record as the memory of the organization, the raw material for decision- making and the basis for legal defensibility. A record is viewed by Penn, Pennix & Couson (1994) as any information captured in reproducible form that is required for conducting business. Roberts (1998) states that records are information created, collected or received in the initiation, conduct or completion of an institution or personal activity. Based on the above definitions, the concept record can be defined as the end product of the business activity through which the performance of employees can be measured and thus enforce accountability. It is created or received by employees as evidence in the course of their normal operation in an organization.
All records pass through a lifecycle. Basically, the record is created, actively used for a time, and then stored in case of queries or other referrals before it is too old to be of any further use. At that point it should either be destroyed or transferred to an archive as part of the permanent record of the organization. Often, the driver for the culling process is lack of space rather than any adherence to a cohesive policy.
Personnel records management is important in all organizations. Often an employee has left the organization, in order to protect ongoing rights and interests of the employee and the organization. Langemo (1994) defines records management as the professional management of information in the physical form the time records are received or created through their processing, distribution and placement in a storage and retrieval system until either eventual elimination or identification for permanent retention in the archives. Kennedy et al. (1994) defines records management as a function of providing control of records from creation, or receipt through their processing, distribution, organization, storage and retrieval to their ultimate disposal.
The international standard organization on the other hand views records management as a field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation receipt, maintenance use, and disposition of records management focuses on procedures and systems for the creation, storage retrieval and disposal of records.
The role of records management in an organisation
According to Sanderson & Ward (2003) the importance of records management is increasingly being recognized in organizations. It is therefore the responsibility of records managers to ensure that they gain the attention of decision-makers in their organizations. Gaining recognition is all about convincing management of the role of records management as enabling unit in an organization.
Employees require information in order to carry out their official duties and responsibilities efficiently and effectively in a transparent manner. Records represent major sources of information and are almost the only reliable and legally verifiable source of data that can serve as evidence of decisions, actions and transactions in an organization (Wamukoya, 2000). According to Northwest Territories (2002), the role of records management is to ensure that members of staff involved in different operations have the information they need, when necessary.
Among their other purpose, records also act as raw materials for research in various disciplines, including science research, which is an important ingredient of socio-economic development. Furthermore, records can be used as an information resource for strategic planning purposes. The service provided by records management is therefore of vital importance to both employees (end users) and organizational success. As outlined earlier, the primary function of records management is to facilitate the free flow of records throughout the entire organization. Most importantly, it remains the function of records management to ensure that an organization’s records are safe for future reference (De Wet & Du Toit, 2000). According to Palmer (2000), the role of records management system is that it acts as a control system that reinforces other control systems such as internal and external auditing. The record environment that allows opportunities to commit fraud, once fraud, once fraud is detected; records can provide a trail for investigators to track the root of corruption. However, for records to be useful in this capacity, they must be accessible. According to Hare & McLeod (1979), organization kept records for information retrieval, evidence of organization’s activities and compliance with regulations. In support of Hare, McLeod & Cowling (2003), they further identified four main reasons for motivating organizations to preserve records permanently as discussed below.
In the conduct of their business activity, organizations and individuals often need to consult records of their previous activities and decisions, for example to provide background information, establish the existence of a precedent or to substantiate or refute a claim or allegation. Records in this case are of utmost importance for an organization’s administrative function.
A research design is the overall plan for obtaining answers to the question being studied. The design helps one to perform the chosen task easily and in a systematic manner (Rajasekar, 2006). To achieve the objectives and address the problem under the study the descriptive survey design was used to conduct the research. A descriptive survey design attempts to picture or document current conditions or attitudes. It describes what exists at the moment. The design has this advantage; a large amount of data can be collected with relative ease from a large population
Kombo and Tromp (2006) define population as a group of individuals, objects or items from which samples are taken for measurements. Target population is the entire group a researcher is interested in. The target population for this study is the secretaries in federal polytechnic Off. Kwara state.
DATA ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSIONS
It was necessary for the study to gather data on the secretaries, background in terms of age, gender and academic qualification. These would directly or indirectly influence their willingness to have integrated ICT in management of their organizations. The data was summarized as follows:
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of computer use in book keeping by secretaries at federal polytechnic Offa.
The study was guided by the Open Systems Theory. The main ideas were summarized in a conceptual framework that portrayed the link in the variables. The research design of this study was descriptive survey design. A purposive sampling technique was used targeting only organizations with ICT facilities. The numbers were narrowed down to a sample size of 30 secretaries using the Krejcie and Morgan formula.
Validation of the research instruments was done through triangulation where the researcher used multiple methods in data collection. Two sets of questionnaires were used for organization principals and the other for secretaries’ in-charge of ICT. The researcher conducted interviews with head secretaries. An observation list was used to ascertain the availability of ICTs and the related infrastructure. The instrument reliability was computed using product moment correlation coefficient. The r value was 0.83 for secretaries’ in-charge of ICT and 0.82 for principals hence the instruments used were reliable. Data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics
The study was to establish the use of ICT on management of examination in organizations. It was established that a good percentage of offices dealing with examinations had ICT facilities. That is Director of studies and secretaries offices. All organizations used ICT in their organizations for registration of KNEC examinations. The study revealed that 95% of organizations used ICT in typing of internal examinations and analyzing the examinations. The study was to establish how ICT was used in communication within and without the organization. Most organizations (91.3%) used mobile phones especially the SMSs to communicate within the members of staff and to workers. Some of the benefits derived from using SMS to communicate to workers were, it was cheap, fast, reliable and reduced the chances of distortion of messages. Use of internet in communication was mainly limited to the registration of KNEC examination as well as accessing results from KNEC.
The study revealed that most organizations (87%) used ICT to store admins’ data. Some of the admins’ data which is stored in computers include value added progress, admission details, admins’ performance, fee payment and the KNEC registration details. Data on co- curricular was the least stored in many organizations (13%). Most respondents stated these as some of the benefits of storing admin’s data in computers. There are; easy in retrieving information whenever it’s required, it is easier to modify the data, it is easier to track admin’s performance and that ICT reduces the bulkiness associated with manual files.
The data stored in ICT was commonly shared with stakeholders who were mainly the sponsors, the board of governors, KNEC and the education officers. The study found out that the admins data stored in computers was useful for organization management because organizations were able to monitor the admin’s progress, they were able to set up targets and the organizations could easily monitor their enrolment rates. The study found out that the general response of workers and secretaries on the use of ICT in storing admin’s data was positive. The study found out many organizations had not incorporated use ICT in management of accounts. Only 52% had computers at the accounts offices (Table 4.7)
Only 12 organizations were utilizing ICT for budget preparation and management of accounts. The benefits derived from used of ICT in management of accounts were that ICT enhanced accountability, reduced the accountant’s workload and it was accurate. Many organizations through the interviews expressed reservations in the use of ICT for financial management because of risks such as computer crashing with all information. This had made many organizations to prefer the manual way of managing their accounts.
Conclusions of the Study
From the findings of the study several conclusions were arrived at based on the research questions; ICT has a big impact in the examination management in organizations. All organizations were using ICT in registering their candidates for national examinationsIt is now easier to communicate to workers irrespective of the number and distance. Information cycle is complete because the organization could get feedback immediately. This had been made easier with many people having mobile phones. The use of internet for was limited to registration of examinations; Organizations in the rural set up were integrating use of ICT in their management systems despite the infrastructural challenges such as poor road network and lack of electricity.
Most organizations were utilizing ICT mainly for examination registration, analysis of results. Typing of internal examination and storing admin’s records. Even with computer facilities most organizations were not utilizing computers for financial management, various organizations had avoided using ICT for financial management.
Basing on the findings and conclusions already stated, the study recommended the following. The head secretaries should sponsor more secretaries especially the class secretaries and those in charge of examinations for ICT training to increase ICT skills. The training could be pursued at the technical institutions which offer short training courses during organization holidays. They should encourage teaches to utilize ICTs in preparation of professional documents such as schemes of work, records of work covered and exams records by demanding the same to be submitted in both softcopy and hardcopy.
KEMI should develop an ICT literacy training programme for all principals. This could be offered at the KEMI training centres which are distributed over the country during organization holidays. KEMI should offer proper training for organizations accountants in various coursed dealing with financial management. This can be offered at the KEMI training centres across the country. Such courses should be made mandatory and organizations to sponsor their workers
The Secretaries Service Commission should make it a requirement that ICT literacy is a qualification for one to be a Head of department, a Deputy Principal and a Principal. This can be enforced during interviews and appointment for such offices. TSC should motivate ICT literate secretaries through promotions, or special allowances to encourage secretaries to train in ICT. TSC being the employer of secretaries, to compel institutions offering secretary education to have ICT training mandatory to all secretaries.
The Ministry of Education should set standards for management of organization, make ICT use mandatory to all public organizations. The directorate of quality assurance should ensure that all organizations have incorporated ICTs in their management and administration. This can be enforced during the regular inspection of organizations. They should work with other stakeholders to ensure that the ICT hardware and software are affordable to all public organizations for management.
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