Public Relations Strategies In Warri South Local Government Secretariat
Chapter one introduces the study by way of its historical as well as other background, The purpose and objectives of the study, the research problem, the scope, limitations and problems and the significance of the study. Chapter two examines some available literature under the prescribed objectives with regards to the research problem of the study. Chapter three examines research methodology that shows how the research was carried out in terms of research design. Chapter four, the presentation of source data, analysis and interpretation of findings of the study. Chapter five draws conclusions and put forward recommendations for what is to be done to improve Public Relations in Secretariats
1.1 Background to the Study
Public relations are an effort to identify and interpret policies and programs of an origination with the objective to establish a bridge of understanding and between an organization and its publics. (Banik, 2002; 39)
Public relations professional use several tools, one of the major tools is news. Public relations professional find or create favourable news about the institution and its products or people. Sometimes news stories occur naturally, and something’s the public relations person can suggest events or activates that would create news. Speeches can also great product and institution publicity. Increasingly, institution executives must field questions from the media or give talks at trade association or sales meeting, and these event can either build or hurt the institution’s image (Philip Koteler and Armstrong 2004; 517).
Many secretariats and institutions appear to be on increasing pressure to effectively manage relationships with a myriad of important publics, ranging from lower calibres of people to highly regarded people such as legislators. In Nigeria, secretariats seem to be facing unprecedented levels of public scrutiny.
In itself, Public Relations have been defined differently by different scholars. According to the World Bank, Encyclopedia, what is commonly called Public Relations “Is an activity aimed at increasing communication and understanding between a secretariat or individuals and one or more groups called Publics” Such communication ranges from a simple news release to supplicated campaigns featuring films, advertisements, speeches and television appearances. All the communication devices are aimed at gaining the goodwill of the general public.
Public Relations are very important for a secretariat and thus necessary. This is the basis for this study; to find out how Public Relations are perceived in secretariats. It is generally practiced through corporate Public Relations Departments, Public Relations Agencies and Public Information Departments.
Public Relations, serves a wider variety of institutions and the management of these institutions need to understand the values and the attitude of their publics in order to achieve institutional goals and objectives. This is because the institutional goals are shaped by the external; environment in a secretariat .
According to J A Hendrix, (2001), Public Relations encompasses a lot at the management level. It is vital in “anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact for good or ill the operations of secretariats”. It is also important as it helps to counsel management at all levels with regard to policy decisions, courses of action, communication, research, conducting and evaluation of all programmes of action of the existing secretariat.
Therefore, Public Relations plays an integral part in helping to define and implement policy since Public Relations practitioners utilize a variety of professional communication skills both within the secretariat and between the secretariat and the external environment.
According to Asoke .K. Gosh, the United Kingdom’s Institute of Public Relations describes Public Relations as “the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain good will and mutual understanding between a secretariat and its publics”. Publics are taken to include resident, shareholders, employers, suppliers, trade intermediaries, the local community, media, government and pressure groups.
This study draws upon the variables of existing relations which have been there for time. Public Relations had existed and developed slowly until the end of World War Il in 1945.
This growth and expansion of mass communication has made the issue more powerful and more accessible to the public than ever before. This has been a great asset by the work of Public Relations.
Besides, some elements of Public Relations such as informing and persuasion have been used throughout history. What is known today as Public Relations started to take shape after the end of World War I in 1918. As early as the 1980’s “Rapid and unchecked industrial expansion in many countries had brought about certain business attitudes and practices that were not in the best interest of the public”
Consequently, this resulted into public criticism and business executives felt a need to clear their images so as to gain more profits. They even realized that Public Relations were very vital for their secretariats to succeed.
Even to date there is some debate as to whether Public Relations can be standardized at all. From country to country, there is wide disparity in the use of Public Relations in addition to the usual list of cultural, language, media and legal barriers. This has resulted into a haphazard public awareness campaign by different secretariats. This study will therefore focus on finding out the public relations strategies in Warri south local government secretariat.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Various studies have been made and the available literature shows that Public Relations have been a vital aspect in the running of secretariats. It is also important to note that “effective Public relations/ public requires the setting of objectives which ultimately reflect the corporate and /or marketing objectives” In reality Public Relations has the greatest influence on promoting and determining public opinion and establishing a satisfactory reputation for a secretariat.
Inside a secretariat. Public Relations, has been perceived differently. It has been associated with personal communication or the printed media. Others look at it as the press magazines, Video / Films, Televisions or exhibitions. Worse of all, other secretariats value their public as focusing on their institution Logo / house style, therefore many perceptions are held with in Warri South Local Government and Nigeria in general.
Centrally to these held beliefs is what international bodies and Public Relations acts stipulate for example the Code of Professional Standards for the practice of Public Relations which was adopted by the Public Relations Society of American Assembly in 1988 pledges that members will conduct themselves professionally with trust, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public”
This was intended to counter the image of Public Relations Practitioners who acted as hired guns. Thus there is a wide scope of perceptions held by our society on the need for Public Relations. This therefore makes it necessary to carry out a study to assess the different conceptions and perspectives that institution leaders, business executives, staff, Public Relations practitioners and the general public have on public relations as an integral part of their secretariats.
1.3 Objectives of this Study
The objectives of this study were divided into general and specific objectives.
1.3.1 General Objective
The general objective of this study was to explore the public relations strategies in Warri south local government secretariat.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
- To find out the various perceptions held about Public Relations in public secretariats.
- To investigate the ways in which secretariats use Public Relations to achieve their goals
- To find out the challenges Public Relations officers face in the operation of their duties.
- To add more information in the already existing literature especially on how to improve the relationship between Warri south local government secretariat and their public.
- To establish the existing views and situations under which Public Relations is implemented in Warri south local government secretariat.
- To provide effective recommendations and lay strategies to improve the Public relations in Warri south local government secretariat.
1.4 Research Questions
- Do Warri south local government secretariat value Public Relations within its structures or do some other forces influence their objectives?
- What are the views of public secretariats on the need for Public Relations?
- What are the situations under which Public Relations are considered vital in Warri south local government secretariat?
- What indicators are there and what challenges do Warri south local government secretariat face in managing their relations with the public?
- What recommendations can one make to improve on Public Relations in Warri south local government secretariat?
1.5 Scope of the Study
On a theoretical front, the study was limited to interpretation of Public Relations function. It was centred on the external Public Relations, an area that is well known for wide spread resentment amongst the general public. The study covered Warri south secretariat in delta state.
1.6 Significance of the Study
- It will help to bring to light the different views the public and secretariats have on what how and when is Public Relations necessary.
- It will also help to update the literature that is available on Public Relations both internally in the secretariat and externally in the public.
- This study will also provide enough information to the existing institutions which use Public Relations in promoting their services or products on how to effectively achieve their objectives.
- The research will also help the government and especially the ministry of information on how to formulate a comprehensive national Public Relations policy.
- It will also provide and make recommendations based on the results of the research for positive changes in secretariats where Public Relations Practitioners face a lot of challenges.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
There was lack of previous studies to provide the necessary information for comparison. The study was almost the first of its kind. The respondents were at times suspicious of the intention of the researcher. The need for respondent confidentiality was a great problem. Also, financial constraints also limited the study
1.9 Organization of the Study
This paper is organized into four chapters the first chapter deals with background of the study, statement of the problem, research questions, objectives of the study, significance of the study, and delimitation of the study, limitation of the study, operational of the study, limitation of the study, operational definition of terms, research design and methodology. The second chapter deals with review of related literature. Whereas, the
3rd chapter is deducted to the presentation, analysis and interpretation of data and the last chapter presents the summary, conclusion and recommendation parts of the study. Finally, the lists of reference materials (bibliography),sample questioners and interview check list are attached to the research paper.
Recommendations and Conclusion
5.1 Recommendations from this Study
The findings of this study lead themselves to a number of recommendations which must be properly used by both the stakeholders in secretariats and the policy makers in both government and the private sector. These include.
First, this study has revealed that many leaders do not really know the proper role and function of the public relations which function they distort daily to the public’s disadvantage. Therefore, public relations should be incorporated into the management of secretariats and should effectively be used if secretariats are to achieve their intended objectives.
Secondly it is very difficult and hard to practice true Public Relations in unethical environment. Therefore, there is a need to bring coherence between what is expected by a secretariat and what is actually delivered.
Thirdly, the leaders and Public Relations heads in the secretariats need to be educated and sensitized on the need to adhere to ethical principles both for the benefit of the secretariats and the public. This is because this study has found out that the environment is not conducive for public relations practice today.
Lastly, there is need for further research especially in the areas of how unethical cultures of secretariats lead to professional malpractices, this is because the study has found out that unprofessional ways are greatly used to achieve secretarial objectives.
The findings of this study have revealed that Public Relations strategies are understood by both the public secretariats and the private sector. The biggest challenge is the fact that it has been greatly abused by the people meant to abide by its ethics. Consequently a lot needs to be done such that this important aspect of the secretariat can fruitfully bear results.
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