THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE IN THE OIL SECTOR
(A CASE STUDY OF AFRICAN PETROLEUM PLC PORT-HARCOURT).
African petroleum Plc, a Marketer of petroleum products and chemicals, knows that public support and goodwill as well as good corporate image are very important for business success. Tends to be influenced by their publics which includes, its staff, shareholders, customers and of course members of the press.
The company is actually very much interested to know its public problem areas and opportunities with the aim to improving the organization’s overall performance to enable them know what their public thinks about African petroleum public Relations programmes and quality of services of the organization to its publics.
The researcher therefore decided to embark on this study with the objectives.
The objectives of the study are:
To determine the extent of AP’S public Relations messages accessibility to their publics and also find out whether AP’s public relations practices influence the opinion of their publics.
Relevant data based on the scope of the study were collected through primary and secondary data with structured questionnaire as the main instrument administered to two hundred and fifty (250) respondents comprising forty African petroleum staff, sixty share holders, one hundred and twenty customers and thirty members of the press.
The questionnaire was highly structured and open – ended where necessary. The questions and the response were very standard to facilitate comparison of responses and to secure good control of the questions, chi-square (x2) was used to analyse the hypotheses formulated.
Among the findings were that the African Petroleum Public Relations Media Message and quality of their overall services are satisfactory through their mobilization programmes and enlightment campaign but needs more efforts. AP’s Public Relation’s Practice influences their publics to favour her products through persuasive and convincing communication. The following recommendation were made; AP should always engage in a constant evaluation of their public relations practice and its effectiveness to identify any short comings. Media combination should be reviewed to always embrace appreciable coverage.
1.1 Background to the study
1.2 Statement of problem
1.3 Objective of the study
1.4 Formulation of Hypothesis
1.5 Scope of the study
1.6 Significance of the study
1.7 Definition of terms
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 What is public relation
2.2 Role of public relations executives in
commercial out fit
2.3 Strategy and scope of public relations programmes
2.4 Frame work of public relations programme
2.5 Importance of public relations in all oil industry.
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
3.1 Sources of data
3.1.1 Primary data
3.1.2 Secondary data
3.2 Area of study
3.3 Research instrument
3.4.1 Questionnaire design/ interview questions
3.4.2 Dichotomous questions
3.4.3 Multiple choice questions
3.4.4 Open-ended questions
3.5 Sampling method used
3.5.1 Sample size and sampling techniques
3.5.2 Sample procedure
3.6 Pilot survey
3.7 Validity of the instrument
3.8 Method of investigation
3.9 Validation of instrument
3.10 Method of data analysis
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1 Part A. a table of responses to sex
4.2 Indication of free access to AP’s public
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.2 Summary of findings
5.5 Limitations of the study
The history of African petroleum Plc date back to 1954 when the then British petroleum BP company Limited, brought up the assets of Atlantic refining company on the West African coast Ten years later (1964) that company was incorporated in Nigeria as British Petroleum of Nigeria Limited which of course is a subsidiary of the world wide British petroleum Group that marketed petroleum product throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 1978, the company changed from a private company to a public company, when forty percent (40%) of the shares were sold to Nigerian citizens in compliance with provisions of the Nigeria Enterprises promotions degree of 1977. On the 31st July 1979, the Federal Government acquired the sixty percent (60%) share in British petroleum (BP) Limited, just to make the company wholly Nigeria affair. As a result, the name of the company had to change to African Petroleum (AP) Limited which was in November 1979.
Accordingly, 20% of the Federal Governments 60% shares in African petroleum were offered to the public in March 1989 in fulfillment of its privatization policy. The share were seven times over subscribed during the exercise, thus increasing the number of share holders from about fifty thousand to one hundred and sixty thousand share holders. The company’s current paid up share capital of N 86.4M which of course is the largest in the country.
As a marketer of refined petroleum in Nigeria, African Petroleum (AP) procures and distributes petroleum products like petrol (PMS), Diesel oil (AGO), Household kerosene or Domestic petroleum kerosene (HHK/DPK), Low poor fuel oil (LPFO), Liquefied petroleum Gas (LPG), fuel oil, Jet-A-1 (Aviation furbric kerosene) etc the company also manufacture and market a wide range of lubricants, insecticide and chemicals. This company’s marketing operation areas are Kaduna, Kano, Port – Harcourt, Warri.
African petroleum plc has its head office in Lagos. The main source of its products is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through its strategic network depots and refineries. As contained in its Diary (1998) African petroleum is a world class integrated petroleum company where outstanding and dedicated people supported by superior technology deliver exceptional benefits to its shareholders”. Their mission is to be an innovative and customer oriented, provider of quality petroleum and related products and services”.
Businesses are open systems, and most of what they do generates direct benefits and costs for their societies. Today society demands that businesses join in the urgent task of solving societies, problems. Corporations are more than economic institutions and have a responsibility to devote some of their resources problems mainly of which corporations helped to create.
However, small or large our enterprise, we cannot isolate our business from the society around us. Nor can we function without its goodwill. The researcher therefore tried to x-ray the public relations practice in African petroleum plc to assess its effectiveness in building desired goodwill imperative to healthy business survivability.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS:
African petroleum plc (formerly British petroleum) that has been in existence since 1954 is now one of the major marketers of petroleum products in Nigeria. African petroleum plc operates few major marketing areas in Kaduna, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. It has depots at (Apapa) Lagos, Jos and Kano but its main source of Petroleum Company (NNPC). Presently the company entered into the marketing of chemical, real estate development and manufacturing of insecticides.
Coming to the ever-increasing number of competition and continued fuel scarcity in the country, the company does not fold its arms watching rather she continues to diversify and expand on its activities. The reason being that should the company fail to satisfy her numerous publics by constant supply of product as at when needed and of course quality product, the publics negative reaction would affect its profit making ability and in respect affect the nations economy. In the effort of improving the quality of its product and services, as regards achieving public commendations, goodwill and support, cannot in the actual sense understand how actually the publics feel about their company’s quality of services and their public relations programmes.
This research work shall do justice to address certain problems like
a. How far is the public relations messages of AP plc accessible to her publics.
b. Were the right public relations media often use?
c. Is the public relations department of AP rated high by her publics in terms of its efficiency?
d. Does the public relations practices of African petroleum plc influence the opinion of their public in favour of AP.
e. Do the public relations consider African petroleum plc’s public relations practice as adequate?
The objective of the study are as follows:
a. To ascertain the extent of African petroleum’s public messages accessibility to their public.
b. To know whether the right public relations media were often used.
c. To determine whether AP’s public relations practice influence the opinion of their publics in favour of African petroleum.
d. To ascertain whether African petroleum’s public relations department is rated high in terms of its efficiency.
e. To find out if the publics of AP plc consider their public relations practices as adequate.
H01: The degree of African petroleum’s public relations messages accessibility to her public is unsatisfactory.
H02: The right public relations media were not often used.
H03: The public relation practice of African petroleum does not influence the opinion of their public in favour of African petroleum.
H04: The public relations department of AP is not rated high in terms of its efficiency.
H05: The public considers African petroleum’s public relations practice as adequate.
The scope of study is focused on public relations practices in African Petroleum Plc. and their internal and external publics in Port Harcourt metropolis were studies as for the topics covered, all the items as contained in the objectives of the study and hypothesis were treated.
The view of the office holders and opinion leaders were bought since they constitute decision makers.
Coming to the diversification and expansion of its activities, the current crisis and the ever-increasing competition among oil marketing companies. African petroleum plc are concerned with generating marketing information which all will help them to achieve a favourable market share and maintain its profit marketing ability if really wants to remain in business.
The researcher may after some recommendation that will help to ensure an adequate and effective use of public relations as a tool for business promotions.
Moreover, this work will also serve as a working tool for Chief Executives and managers in the oil marketing sectors; this piece of work will actually form a basis for further development and as well contribute to the existing knowledge in the area of oil marketing.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
PUBLIC RELATIONS: Public relations is the art and service of achieving harmony with the environment through mutual understanding based on truth, knowledgeable and full information. (Sam Black 1990) in (Ajala 200/p.3)
COMMUNICATION: This means the process through which needs, emotions, desires, ideas, sentiments and goals are expressed among human beings using codes, symbols and languages understand by the parties involved in the process.
COMPANY: This can be defined as a business or an organization created to pursue profit by providing goods and services.
DIVERSIFICATION: This is the financial strategy of holding different investment to reduce the risk of financial loss.
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