The Perception Of Chief Executive Officers Of Select Organisations On The Application Of Public Relations In Management
The study investigated the perception of Chief Executive Officers on the application of Public Relations in management. The population of the study was the Chief Executive Officers of the following organisations: Emmppek Engineering Limited and El-Hanan Ventures Limited. The research method adopted for this study was the qualitative research method. For a good representation of the entire population, the researcher adopted the purposive sampling method which was used to select two organisations, from different categories that fell within the purpose of the study. While the public relations theories of system and excellence provided framework, the findings of the study were: the organisations studied have Public Relations department and PR practitioners working in the organisation; for Emmppek Engineering Limited, their PR unit and PR practitioners are not actively involved in the managerial running of the organisation while for El-Hanan Ventures Limited, their PR unit and PR practitioners are actively involved in the managerial running of the organisation; it is perceived that public relations is an essential managerial tool in the management of an organisation which contributes greatly to the growth and sustainability of the organisation; for Emmppek Engineering Limited, Public Relations, over time, has proved itself in the business world and in the management of organisations and this was a factor that influenced their perception, while for El-Hanan Ventures Limited, experience and knowledge were major factors that influenced their perception. Based on these results, it is therefore recommended that organisations should employ Public Relations practice in its managerial running, Chief Executive Officers be properly reoriented on what Public Relations is about and what it’s practice entails, they should ensure that they have as functional PR unit and professional PR practitioners, making sure that they are actively involved in the managerial running of the organisation.
1.1 Background to the Study
Management is the administration of an organisation, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organisation, or government body. Management includes the activities of setting the strategy of an organisation and coordinating the efforts of its employees (or of volunteers) to accomplish its objectives through the application of available resources, such as financial, natural, technological, and human resources. The term “management” may also refer to those people who manage an organisation.
Management according to Wikipedia (2018) involves identifying the mission, objective, procedures, rules and manipulation of the human capital of an enterprise to contribute to the success of the enterprise. This implies effective communication: an enterprise environment (as opposed to a physical or mechanical mechanism) implies human motivation and implies some sort of successful progress or system outcome. As such, management is not the manipulation of a mechanism (machine or automated program), not the herding of animals, and can occur either in a legal or in an illegal enterprise or environment. From the definition above, management is a human thing and from that perspective, management does not need to be seen solely from an enterprise point of view, because management is an essential function to improve one’s life and relationships.
Manfred (2003) notes that, organisations usually have several management functions to help them operate at their maximum capacity: research and development, finance, legal, human resources, marketing, and operations. Each of these functions is focused on its own contribution to the success of the organisation. Public relations’ unique function is to help the organisation develop and maintain relationships with all of its key publics and stakeholders by effectively communicating with these groups. Communication is key in maintaining satisfactory, long-term, trusting relationships with publics and stakeholders.
The first World Assembly of Public Relations Associations, held in Mexico City in August 1978, defined the practice of public relations as ″the art and social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences, counselling organisational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organisation and the public interest″.
Public relations is a field concerned with maintaining public image for high-profile people, organisations, or programs. Public Relations practitioners, help others establish and maintain effective relationships with third parties. Their work is usually performed in organisational environments like a public relations firm or an agency, or as independent consultants or on the communication staffs of corporations, profit or non-profit organisations, or government agencies.
A successful organisation must also communicate effectively with its customers, its suppliers, and if it is a public company, its shareholders. For each key public, a set of messages must be developed as well as a plan to reach the public in the most efficient way. Public relations provides the greatest value to an organisation when it is used in the management of crisis, issues, relationship, reputation, resource, risk, marketing and even in strategic and communication management.
McQuerrey (2018) is of the opinion that regardless of how effective an organisation is, it doesn’t have the desired impact if the public and consumers are not aware of the business’s brand, successes or contributions. A public relations campaign that educates and informs people about the contributions of the organisation enhances its brand recognition and makes it more relevant in the public eye.
It is in every organisation’s interest to maintain a positive public image. Whether it is a public or private organisation, both can only benefit from proper management of their publics’ perceptions of the organisation. Both types of organisations can reap benefits from a positive public image which not only helps to increase confidence in the organisation on the behalf of the organisation’s publics and key stakeholders but also reinforce trust in the organisation’s capabilities towards success.
Watson and Kitchen (2013) note that what is evident is that reputation does not occur by chance. It relates to leadership, management and organisational operations; the quality of products and services; and – crucially – relationships with stakeholders. It is also connected to communication activities and feedback mechanisms.
The authors further note that, it is often misunderstood, however, that organisations practice public relations only for the purpose of publicity. But instead, the discipline of public relations (PR) deals with shaping and maintaining the image and reputation of the organisation in the eyes of its various publics. It is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to institute and maintain mutual understanding between the organisation and its publics. It uses information to influence opinion for creating and maintaining goodwill. It is the practice of managing communication between the organisation and its publics.
Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy (2008) opine that publics, in Public Relations terms, are the ones who ever have or ever will form an opinion about the organisation. Publics are the interested audiences that are important in some way to an organisation including current and potential customers, current and potential employees and management, investors, vendors and suppliers, media, government, and opinion leaders etc. They can be internal within the organisation or external to the organisation. Public relations activities are planned and sustained to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. Generally, there is not one single accepted definition of public relations. Instead, there are many ways to define it.
Public relations is a leadership and management function that helps achieve organisational objectives, define philosophy, and facilitate organisation
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