Roles of Retail Business Houses in Providing Employment for Secretaries

A Survey Of The Roles Of Retail Business Houses In Providing Employment For Secretaries In Selected Business Houses In Enugu Urban.

The chapter looks into various views expressed by the different authors and other materials that are found useful to enhance the research on the subject “A survey of the roles of retail business houses in providing employment for secretaries in Enugu urban”. Thus the review will cover the following areas.

  • What does secretarial profession entails
  • Who is a secretary
  • What are the duties of a secretary
  • What is self-employment / entrepreneurship
  • What is a retail business house
  • Why should a secretary engage in self-employment

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It is a known fact that secretarial profession is one of the most important jobs in the world and that whenever there is a man of action, there is always a man of pen or pencil to record his deeds. Much of our knowledge of ancient times was derived from the scribes, who were secretaries of their days.

In Rome, scribe was generally concerned or designated for any official concern. With writing or keeping of accounts. The scribes were graded the lower rank performing merely clerical duties, these were salves or freedom attached to wealthy Romans for taking notes in the law court and for other purposes.

According to Elizabeth Pryse (1983) in the past, the word “Secretary” was understood to mean a female who was employed to undertake a wide range of office responsibilities and devote herself entirely to the interest of her employer. She might have expected to organize the day to day running of the office, keeping cash book and hiring of junior staff while also being the main wire  of communication between the boss and the rest of the staff. With all these worked and responsibilities she was expected to be content to remain worthy paid and in position of law status.


Leffing well and Robinson (1988:30) in their view of a trained secretary said as follows

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“ A skilled and specialized type of secretary in an establishment who engage or is charged with some aspect of organizational functions in the units, including dealing with people, correspondents and other business matters”

with reference to Fulton et al (1978:11) secretary is “A person who schedule appointments, reads and routes mail, composes and types routines correspondence attend to visitors, answer telephone calls, make arrangement of travel schedule, may compile and type statistical report, may supervise clerical works many keep personal records and many records minute of staff

lee and Brower (1987:99) also observed that “the real secretary today is in fact a manger” The management function of getting things done by other people to meet, predetermine objectives certainly forms a major part of much high level of secretarial work. The fundamental organization/administrative aspect of the secretaries role  tends to clips the managerial aspects.

From the various reviewed the real definition becomes evident where the worker can assume responsibilities make decisions and work independently. Thus secretary possess a combination of the talents of fire “Es” Executive, Efficiency, Expert, Espionage agent and Educator.”


A security performs a variety of duties depending on her qualifications and experience worked with Harrison et al (1979:288) considered the following duties of a secretary

  1. Receiving dictation and transcription on the typewriter, the personal and business correspondence of her employer
  2. Taking care of her employer’s petty cash and bank transactions.
  3. Keeping the employers dairy and arranging his appointment and engagements.
  4. making her employer’s travel arrangement, booking of hotel etc.
  5. Filing her employer’s personal and business correspondence.
  6. Attending meetings and recording the minutes of proceedings at meeting.
  7. Supervision of junior clerk/secretarial staff
  8. Keeping records of investment and income tax matters.
  9. Reception duties, including the receiving and entertaining of visitors and the handling of telephone calls.
  10. Relieving executive of various administrative details, coordinates and maintains harmonious working relationship with supervisors, co-workers, subordinates, customers or clients and suppliers.


According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, self-employment is the act of working for yourself and not employed by a company.

Entrepreneurship is the same as self-employment. The world book Encyclopedia defines the entrepreneurship as a “A person who organizes, operates and assumes the risks for a business venture”

According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, entrepreneurship is a person who makes money by starting and running business especially when this involves taking financial risks.

Also, Stevenson and Sahlman (1989) in Ojukwu (1999) defines entrepreneurship as “The relentless pursuit opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled” he said it is a “creative and innovation response to the environment” . In order for the entrepreneur to achieve his personal goals, he has to be efficient. Efficiency requires thoroughly planning and positive decisions in making the best use of the resources.


A retail business house is where goods bought from the manufacturers or wholesalers are being sold in bits or small quantities to the public.

According to the small business administrative (SBA) “A retail business houses are ones that is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its filed, it could be a building or place such as shops, stores etc. where commercial activities are going on or carried out”

A retail business houses provides an extensive services to new and small business and members of the public. Start up costs for new retail business house can be prohibitive. By providing a service, which deals with office and business functions. It can save small firm a great deal of money and cost custom. The services is reliable and cost-effective. It could also offer staff training and development courses in new technology.

According to small – scale business management (2000) “A retail business house is one that provides economic activities that is oriented toward the sales functions of need and wants of the consumers”  The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) England defines it as a “The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, analyzing and satisfying customers requirements profitability”

According to Kofler P. (1984) defines Retail Business Houses as “The analysis, planning, implementation and control of programmes, designed to create build and to maintain mutual beneficial exchanges and relationship with the target market for the purposes of achieving organizational and public objectives”. For retail business houses to succeed, they have to be efficient.


Our society is a dynamic one. In the nineteen fifties and nineteen sixties and probably early seventies, secondary school graduates not to talk of those of tertiary institutions always had jobs begging for them with such benefits like government furnished quarters, cars etc. this phenomenal change or reversal in the world of bank led to greater emphasis on and expansion of self-employment.

Today the jobs are no more there. The nineteen eighties, nineteen nineties and present millennium, the employment situation hit the climax of hopelessness and frustration. A graduate could not earn a subsistence salary. The unemployment situation led to several societal vices especially armed robbery. Which was on a large scale and marriages were also delayed.

According to Stefanau (1993:110) the enterprises in Nigeria study of almost 6000 small business owners and self-employed people showed that the age at which most people startup is between thirty and forty when they have the work experience access to capital, (with mortgage easier and children growing up) and necessary motivation (if promotion does not materialized)

Dissatisfaction with being an employer (secretary) is undoubtedly the trigger for many, especially if there is no challenge or job satisfaction left in their present jobs and prospects of promotion are limited.

Running a business can provide an attractive alternative to being stuck on the company ladder, with the opportunity to make decisions, take on responsibilities and enjoy what is many entrepreneurs the main benefit the ability to control their own destiny.

Similarly, according to Robert Goffee and Richard (jr) says in their book women in charge, a growing number of women are starting their own businesses to avoid the frustration of limited career prospects. To a large extent this is because senior male managers continue to govern their ability to occupy top corporate positions. Some are concerned about the supposed psychological and emotional qualities for of women, others are anxious about their organizational “commitment”  as a result, there may be a reluctance to train or promote women. By starting their own retail business houses can achieve to material success, access to happy home and personal ambitious denied them in large organizations. Secretaries may also be tempted to become entrepreneurs through deciding to develop an innovation idea for business services that they have come up with but which their present company does not regarding as commercially viable.


Every retail business house which is profit making needs the following tangible resources (Man, money, materials and machines) and intangible resources such as time, good will and information.

MAN: Man may be referred to as human, personnel or staff which the retail business house need before other resources can be employed.

This is the most and indispensable resources for the retail business house in establishing a retail business house, consider the age, gender, skill, education, character and experience of the staff to be employed.

MONEY: This is another resources which may be called finance, capital or fund needed to acquire other resources including the employment of personnel. If the resources in abundance but, without money for their for their operations it is a problem and a big constraint.

MATERIALS: Business houses uses ink and semi-finished goods for the production of other goods and services. The cost, quality, and availability are some of the factors considered in the acquisition of materials.

MACHINES: machines are needed by retail business houses.  Before a retail business house buys those machines such factors to be considered are the cost, availability, maintenance, space, spare parts, quality, quantity and adaptability.

MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES: Time is a resources because it is scarce. We cannot have all the time we need hence, we plan. Other resources and services within the environment which we need include water, electricity, transport, unpolluted air, banking services, networking, NITEL, opportunities or goodwill information.


The machines required include

  • Typewriters( electronic, electric, manual golf ball)
  • Scanning machines
  • Fax machines
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Cash register
  • Stapler
  • Punch (perforator)
  • Calculators
  • Trays
  • Trolleys
  • Baskets
  • Papers
  • Papers clips
  • Shredder
  • Stands
  • Counters
  • Shelves
  • Cabinets
  • Furniture’s
  • Tape recorders
  • Closed circuits television
  • Wall clocks
  • Refrigerators
  • Deep freezers
  • Telephones
  • Mobile phones (GSM)
  • Fans
  • Florescence/bulbs
  • Air conditioner
  • Carpet or rug
  • Standby generator etc.



According to ICSA study text on information technology (2000:99) the specification for a typical PC suitable for business use include

  • Intel 500 MHz Pentium III processor
  • RAM from 64 MB upward
  • 512k CPU cache
  • ATI rage ACIP graphics from 6MB upward
  • Hard disk from 8GB upward
  • Windows 98(pre-loaded)
  • 5 floppy disk drive
  • SVGA color monitor
  • CD ROM
  • 2 serial ports, 1 parallel port, 2 USB ports
  • 56 kbps internal modem
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse/pad.
  • UP: Guaranteed all PC users absolute peace or mind against power surge, failure, spike and noise, the 650 VA and the 1400 VA
  • PRINTER: Such as laser jet which could print document of large quantity in black and white, for graphics, color printer is required of any brand such as HP printers, Cannon printers, Xerox printer, Epson stylus printer and Dot matrix for cutting stencil
  • SCANNER: Epson, canon, scanner jet, HP etc. will only provide papers as a reference for your research. The papers ordered and produced should be used as a guide or framework for your own paper. It is the aim of to only provide guidance by which the paper should be pursued. We are neither encouraging any form of plagiarism nor are we advocating the use of the papers produced herein for cheating.

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