THE ATTITUDE OF TOP MANAGEMENT TOWARDS PUBLIC RELATIONS FUNCTION
(A CASE STUDY OF ANAMCO PLC., ENUGU)
One company (ANAMMCO Plc., Enugu) was used in this empirical work o determine the attitude of top management towards public relations function.
Four research objectives and three hypothesis formed the basis of this work. and the library research and sample survey methods of research were used in this study. Among nine(9) questionnaires sent out, they were all duly completed and returned.
The textual, tabular and simple percentage modes of presentation were use in analyzing, presenting and interpreting the gathered data.
It was found out that Pubic Relations Officers are partially involved in policy and decision making of the company. It was also observed that top management in the organization places Public Relations functions on the middle management level. The study also revealed that Public Relations professional are employed to man their Public Relations Department. The study further showed that Public Relations Officers are not placed on the same pedestal with other principal departments.
It is based on these observations that the researcher recommended that top managements in the organization should endeavour to place Public Relations function at the top management level as well as include Public Relations Officers in policy and decision making.
TABLE OF CONTENT
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the research problem
1.3 Objectives of the study
1.4 Significant of the study
1.5 Research question
1.6 Research hypothesis
1.7 Definition of terms
1.9 Limitation of the study
Review of Literature
2.1 Sources of literature
2.2 The Review
2.3 Summary of Literature Review
3.1 Research Method
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Research Sample
3.4 Measuring Instrument
3.5 Data Collection
3.6 Data Analysis
3.7 Expected Result
Data Analysis and Results
3.1 Data Analysis
Summary and Recommendations for further Studies
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
According to Webster’s New International Dictionary, third Edition,; Public Relations is: “The promotion f rapport and goodwill between a person, firm or institutions and other persons, special publics or community at large through the distribution of interpretative materials, the development of neighbourly interchange and the assessment of public reaction”.
The British Institute of Public Relations defines Public Relations as a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding within an organization and its public.
Rex Harlow, a professor of Standford University, USA, sees “Public Relations as a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understandinf, acceptance and co-operation between an organization and its public involves the management to keep informed on and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest, help management to keep abreast and effectively utilize change, serving as early warning system t help anticipate trends and use research and sound ethical communication techniques as its public tools”.
The above mentioned definitions of Public Relations embraces any operating organization in our society. Be it a business, a non-profit organization or any of our governmental set-ups, local, state, federal or international.
Charles Okigbo in his book, Advertising and public Relations said hat Public Relation has been described by its critics as the “Invisible Sell”, “the engineering of consent and “Projecting corporate Image”. Its practitioners have been referred to as “press agents” who surreptitiously seek to influence public in favour of cases of questionable merit.
Meanwhile, Dennis Jeffer (1997) noted that Public Relations Practitioners are often characterized obstruction in the newsman’s path to the truth … presenting only the good side of the story.
However,, Public Relations as a relatively new management function in Nigeria has grown rapidly and developed as a result of the increasing complexity of the modern society, growing insights into what motivates people and increased power of public opinion.
It has also been experiencing its own problems. From initially facing the problem of being used as propaganda, press agentry, advertising, marketing publicity, etc. people, especially modern top management are beginning to appreciate the function of Public Relations in their organizations hence Public Relations department has been established in many organizations, but then, there is still the problem of accepting Public Relations as a management function.
Some top management people believe that Public Relations function do not need any specialized skill, thus a degree in Public Relations is not required for one to effectively carry out Public Relations functions. Hence, it becomes and emerging profession seeking its unique identity.
The concept of Public Relations as a persuasive publicity still is used by many to define Public Relations as a “Inducing the public to have understanding for the goodwill …”. This concept is also reflected in the title of the influential book written by Edward L. Bernays – The Engineering of consent (1995). Bernay’s title stuck. As a result, even today many public Relations Practitioners find themselves dealing with managers and clients holding these concepts of Public Relations function.
During the several decades preceding world war II, Public Relations evolved from this early concept to include notions of two way communication, reciprocity and organizational performance. Definitions included such word as “mutual”, “reciprocal” and “between”. Indicating change from the notion of one way influence to an interactive view of Public Relations.
The behaviour of top management regarding Public Relations functions in their organization is discouraging and there seem to be no improvement. All these facts have shown that Public Relations functions have not been accorded a management function. This ugly situation therefore gave rise o this research work.
Due to the importance of public Relations functions in modern complex business, Public Relations officers should be at the same level of authority as the head of other principal problems and gain their co-operation in carrying out Public Relations functions according to Charles Okigbo (1990) being placed as a lower ring of the administrative ladder will deprive him from being in the position to make the public view point and his expert advice available to the organization’s management in its task of formulating policies and procedures. Rather many end up as the organizations’ errand boys who does management’s dirty job.
According to Ikechukwu Nwosu (1986), this situation is due to the lapse on the part of public Relations officers who are not being positively assertive and responsible enough to assume their rightful places in the management team.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
This study will attempt an investigation into the attitude of top management on the functions of Public Relations in their organization.
It will find out the extent to which Public Relations officers or practitioners are involved in the policy and decision making of an organization as well as the extent to which Public Relations is a potent force in the continue existence of modern complex businesses.
The study will examine the extent of use of Public Relations functions as a management function.
It will further determine whether there are flaring differences between organizations where top management have positive attitude towards Public Relations functions and in organization where they have negative attitude as regards the establishment of a well-structured Public Relations department.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to focus interest in finding out the kind of attitude top management have towards Public Relations functions and how these attitude affect the establishment of a well structured Public Relations department in their organization.
It will also find out the extent to which top management’s attitude towards Public Relations functions influences the employment of Public Relations Professionals to head their Public Relations departments and also the effect of the top management attitude on the position Public Relations officers occupy in their organizations.
Finally, the study will find out the extent of the use of Public Relations functions as a management function by top management.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will highlight some of the problems facing the average Nigerian Public Relations Officers or Practitioners as well as heighten the knowledge of top management on the application of management principles in the practice of Public Relations in their organizations.
It is also hope that this study will re-orientate top managements with negative attitude towards Public Relations functions and has also refused to recognize and accept Public Relations functions as a management function.
Another significance of this study is that it will widen the knowledge of top management and the public on the functions Public Relations perform in an organization.
This study will also serve as a reference material for researchers carrying out research work on related subject.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
This study will be guided by the following research questions:
(i) What are the attitudes of top management towards Public Relations activities in their organizations?
(ii) Is Public Relations seen as a management function by the top management in organizations?
(iii) Are Public Relations Personnel involved in policy and decision making of the organization where they are serving or working?
(iv) In the interactional level of the organization, what level is Public Relations placed in, is it as a management function regarded as parts and parcel or a requisite part of the organization?
(v) Are the attitude of top management towards Public Relations positive or negative.
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The hypotheses in this study are derived directly from the research question as follows:
H1: An organization where top management have positive attitude towards Public Relations functions tend to treat Public Relations function as a management function than where they have negative attitude.
H0: Organization where top management have positive attitude towards Public Relations functions do not treat Public Relations function as a management functions than where they have negative attitude.
H2: Organizations where top management have positive attitude towards Public Relations functions tends to place Public Relations Officers at the same level of authority as the heads of other principal departments than where they have negative attitude.
H0: Organization where the top management has a positive attitude towards Public Relations functions do not place Public Relations officers on the same level of authority as the heads of other principal departments than where they have a negative attitude.
H3: The level of involvement of Public Relations Officers in decision and policy making in an organization where the top management has a positive attitude towards Public Relations functions in higher than where they have a negative attitude.
H0: The level of involvement of Public Relation Officers in decision and policy making in an organization where top management has a positive attitude towards Public Relations function is not higher than where they have negative attitude.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. Top Management: Conceptually, top management are all those involved in the day to day running of an organization. Operationally, top management are all those who have high ranks and are involved in the day to day running of Anamco Nigeria Limited, Enugu.
2. Public: Conceptually, public means people as a whole. Operationally, public means any group of people who have common interest or ideology to achieve certain goal in Anamco Nigeria Limited, Enugu.
3. Public Relations: Conceptually, Public Relations means the promotion of good relationship between an organization or authority with the general public. Operationally, Public Relations is a deliberate planned and co-ordinated effort aimed at affecting cordial relationship among the internal and external Public of Anamco Nigeria Limited, Enugu with the aim of effectively carrying out modern complex business.
4. Authority: Conceptually authority is a legal power or right. Operationally, it is an legal power or right imposed on the public relations officers in an organization t carryout Public Relations functions.
5. Negative Attitude: Cnceptually, negative attitude is an ill-feeling about something. Operationally, negative attitude is an ill-feeling portrayed towards public Relations by top management in Anamco Nigeria Limited, Enugu.
6. Positive Attitude: Conceptually, positive attitude is having a favourable feeling about somethins. Operationally, positive attitude is the favourable feeling top management have towards public Relations function in Anamco Nigeria Limited, Enugu.
7. Policy Making: Making: Conceptually, policy making is the creation of a course of action adopted in an organizations affairs of Anamco Nigeria Limited Enugu.
8. Principal Department: Conceptually, Principal department is all the heads of various decisions in an organization. Operationally principal department is all the heads of various decisions in Anamco Nigeria Limited, Enugu.
1. This study assumes that most organizations have Public Relations Department.
2. It also assumed that there are Public Relations functions performed by public Relations officers in most organizations.
3. Another assumption is that members of top management have definite attitude towards Public Relations functions.
4. And finally, the study assumes that there are basis for the comparison of top management who have positive attitude towards Public Relations functions and those who have negative attitude.
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