Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Economics & Finance


Statement of the Problem: The problem of this study was to determine whether there were significant differences in the way practicing professional secretaries and prospective secretaries perceived the relative importance of selected secretarial duties and personal traits.

Procedures: This study involved participation of 278 secretaries from four geographic regions of the United States. Members of the National Secretaries Association chapters in North Dakota, California, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Alabama formed the secretarial population. A total of 211 students from four colleges and universities were included in the study. The students came from the University of North Dakota, California State College at Los Angeles, Bunker Hill Community College, and Georgia State College.

The researcher made a personal trip to a regular meeting of each participating National Secretaries Association (NSA) chapter as well as to the educational institutions. The NSA chapters were used for the purpose of securing a professional population for the study. Participants were given fifty statements relating to secretaries duties and traits to rank in a forced Q-sort. Each of the secretaries was asked to answer four questions regarding age, secretarial experience, educational level, and number of superiors to which she was directly responsible.

Treatment of the Data: Following the collection of the data, IBM cards were coded for computer processing. The eleven null hypotheses were tested for significance at the .01 and .05 levels. A multiple regression computer • program was used in processing the data.

Conclusions: The following conclusions are based on the findings cited in this study:

1. Prospective secretaries and professional secretaries do not agree on the relative importance of selected secretarial duties and personal traits.

2. Professional secretaries believe that personal traits are relatively more important for success than are secretarial duties.

3. Prospective secretaries believe that secretarial duties are relatively more important for success than personal traits.

4. Both, prospective and professional secretaries believe that the ability to follow directions and instructions is very important for occupational success. This secretarial duty x^as the only statement both groups consistently placed in the top five ranks.

5. The number of supervisors does not appear to affect the secretaries' concept of the relative importance of secretarial duties and personal traits for occupational success.

6. While professional secretaries in all age categories tend to agree on the relative importance of secretarial duties, there are definite differences in opinions regarding the importance of personal traits. All age groups agree that loyalty to employer is very important, and all age groups agree that seeking to maintain a degree of modesty is a relatively unimportant personal trait.

7. The concept of punctuality is considered of less importance to the oldest group than to the other age groups. Statement 6, attempts to find practical solution to problems, is considered more important to the older group than to the other age groups.

8. All secretaries feel that their office housekeeping duties in no way contribute to their success. The students also perceive that these functions are unimportant. Many secretaries perceive attendance at professional meetings as relatively unimportant to professional success.