THE EFFECTS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ON ORGANIZATION. CASE STUDY: ZENITH BANKS IN ANAMBRA STATE
The broad objective of the study is to examine examine the effects of public relations on organization using Zenith Banks in Anambra State as case study. The study adopted a survey research design and with the aid of convenient sampling method, the researcher enrolled 36 participants for the study who are staff in three(3) selected branches of Zenith Bank in Anambra State. Well structured questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which a total of 30 responses were received and validated for the study. Data was was presented in tables and frequencies. Result were analyzed using simple percentage, mean and standard deviation which provided answers to the research questions.
Findings from the study revealed that the role of public relation in achieving organizational objectives includes: media representation, content development & management, brand reputation management, business value promotion, crisis communication and community relationship management. The study further reveals the effect of public relations which includes it potency in guiding the management during times of change, such as in the case of corporate downsizing, maintainingorganization’s image to it clients, communicating organization message to its customers, investors and the general public. The study therefore recommends that Management of organizations should ensure that public relations department is given clearly defined roles to perform. They should ensure public relations activities are not be combined with any other administrative functions as this will ensure effectiveness in public relations practice. Management board of Zenith Banks should create an enabling environment for high performance of public relations.
Background of the study
Public Relation is the art and social science of analyzing trends predicting their consequences, counselling organization’s leaders and implementing planned programmes of actions, which will serve the interest of both the organization and its public. It is also a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintaining mutual understanding between organization and its public. In all those, public relations covers wide range of activities. It is first and foremost action before statement, the specific process employed for these activities involved research, action, communication, evaluation and efficiency because none of public relations programme is done haphazardly.
According to Mohd Hamdan (2008), the practice of public relations is an important role to the organization as it seeks to attract customers, generate interest on investments, improve financial performance, enhance the image of talented employees, improve return on assets of the organization, creating a competitive advantage and gain a positive view of financial analysts. Government Public Relations (GPR) is one of the important tasks in the public sector regardless of national, state or district. Each department in the public sector to appoint a staff known as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the aim of creating individuals who act as middlemen in the organization to connect with the audience or between employees and other employees. However, every employee in the organization needs to practice excellence of public relations for the success the vision and mission of the organization. Accordingly, every employee in the Manufacturing sector needs to practice relations with excellence because the staffs are individuals who are responsible to deliver information and services to the community as well as the success of the organization's objectives, mission and vision of the organization. Organizations are concerned with the images they create in the minds of the publics that they serve. In organizations, people respond to the image they have of the organization and not necessarily to its reality, and publics holding a negative image of an organization avoids or disparages the organization while those holding a positive image drowns to it. A strong favorable image, comes about when the "organization creates real satisfaction for its clients and lets others Know about it", and Clients can be satisfied by either products or services; however, for this to happen some information must pass from the organization to the clients and also from the organization to the other publics the organization deals with (Kotler, 2002).
Ideally, according to Wilcox eta!. (2009), the involvement of public relations in decisionmaking to determine the direction of organization and its employees is an effective measure, particularly for long-term planning organization. Thus, the public relations can identify and communicate with stakeholders to effective organization which will bring a positive or negative impact on the organization. Strategic management is also a key element to excellence of public relations at organization. Public relations activities are not limited to certain media such as television and newspapers, but are solely focused on the promotion of products or services just like any other review in some quarters (Toth, 2007). Rather, it involves the use of media as a means of integration that can function to strengthen and maintain the good name and mutual understanding between an organization and the public.
Statement of the problem
Corporate organizations have been embarking on Public Relations to create and maintain a mutual understanding with their publics.According to Price Et al, (2007), the world of business is characterized by fierce competition and in order to win new customers and retain the existing ones, the firms have to distinguish themselves from the competition. But they also need to create and maintain a positive public image. Public relations (PR) are the way organizations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media (Poister and Streib, 2005).Despite the fact that public relations at Mukwano Group of Companies is facing a lot of challenges; political, social, economic and technological forces which are constantly evolving, leaving useless equipment and employees with outdated skills in their wake, as a larger company with multiple facilities (Smith, A, 2002). And as a result the organizations has registered open criticisms from the public due to improper dumping of toxic wastes to the surrounding environment, the production and supply of poor quality products (like soap, Omo etc.) which at times cause body itching, irritations and other skin diseases which have left the company unpopular in the public eye, thus affecting its general performance. So for the organization to amend its loop holes, it instead adopted effective public relations strategies to help in both creating and maintaining a good reputation among both the media and the customers by communicating in its behalf and presenting its products, services and the overall operation in the best light possible(Dozier and Broom, 1995). This has therefore motivated the researcher to carry out more broad research and discover thethe effects of public relations on organization using Zenith Banks in Anambra State as case study.
Objective of the study
The broad objective of the study is to examine examine the effects of public relations on organization using Zenith Banks in Anambra State as case study. Specifically the study seeks to:
To establish if public relations practice is relevant to achieving the goals of an organization.
To identify specific functions that can be performed by public relations practitioners to achieve the goals of an organization.
It determine the effect of public relation in organization.
To examine how public relations can be strengthened to achieve organizational objective.
1.4 Research Question
Is public relations practice relevant to achieving the goals of an organization?
What are the functions performed by public relations practitioners to achieve the goals of an organization?
What are the effect of public relation in organization?
In what ways can public relations can be strengthened to achieve organizational objective?
1.5 Significance of the study
Public relations is a complex profession, an emerging industry that is at the heart of all communication. Finding from the study will be relevant to organizations, managers and academia. This study is important as it addresses the importance of public relations within an organization. The study provides a framework as it outlined public relations as an integral subsystem within an organization. Organizations can use this study as a guideline in assessing their in-house public relations departments or any other department under which public relations falls, for the overall interest and success of the organization. The study will also contribute to the general body of knowledge and serve as a reference material to both scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies in related field
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of the study borders on the role of public relations in achieving organizational objectives. The study will discuss the effect of effect of public relation in organization and further proffer ways they can be strengthened. The study is however delimited to Zenith Bank Plc in Anambra State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview). Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.