AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN SERVICE INDUSTRIES
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Public relations has become a potent marketing tool in modern business management in recent times. Its influence is being felt on both big and small firms with the influence of even greater expansion. It is important for management organization including tertiary institutions to understand its potential and limitations. Nwokoye (1984:212) defined public relations as the activities of co – operations, union, government or other organisations in building and marketing sound and productive relations with special public such as customers, relations employees or stock holders and with public at large so as to adopt itself to its environment and interpret itself to the society. Bush and Houston (1995:200) noted that public relations is management functions which evaluate public attitude, identifies policies and procedures of an individuals or an organisations with the public interest and execute a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance. Chukwu (2000:3 – 4) stated that public relations practice is a management philosophy aimed at doing everything possible to create good relationship between one organization and its publics. Public Relations is aimed at making friends for the organization and building internal and external good will on the reasonable assumption that these are strongly needed for an organization to remain in business and make profit with the increase in the activities of an organization. The need for an adequate communication between the organization and those who in one way or the other are affected by these activities of the organization becomes more imperative. An organization while wanting to remain liable, need to have good relations with its employees, consumers of its products and services, future investors, stock – holders and infact that is the general public. As an organization specialized in manufacturing to potential customers that is up to date, forward looking concerned to produce and offer the best goods and services for the rice it charges and make sure that its customers are really satisfied. Edoga and Ani (2001:287) noted that a company should deliberately plan and execute a continuous public relations programme to develop a good relation between it and that various publics, amongst sought with public relations. Stressing the position of public relations in the country, Olakunori (1999:194) noted that most officials occupying the public relations of various organizations in the country today are not professionals; they generally have a fair knowledge of what they are supposed to do. Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) as an institution or organization has the students, members of its staff, parents- teachers association, the management, the host society, the state and the federal government, Nigerian Universities commission (NUC) etc. as its relevant publics. This implies that the activities performed by ESUT in one way or the other affect those aforementioned various public. Therefore, in order to maintain its public relations with those bodies, ESUT must at all time try to create a rapport and understanding or goodwill with all those bodies. This it will do through proper information circulation between itself and those various relevant publics to it. This can be done by allowing the free flows of information, paying of salaries as and when due to its staff, engaging in proper and standard academic work, abiding by the rules and regulations of NUC in the performance of its activities. Manufacturers and producers of goods and service are now aware that public relations does not only ensure good relations with the public but can strive towards profit making through increased customers patronage. It is in the light of the importance attached to public relations that the researcher seeks to appraise the effectiveness of public relations in service industries in Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) as a case study.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A good corporate image is usually regarded to be essentials for the existence of an organization. The success or failure of a corporation depends on its relationship with its publics, consumers, employees, stock-holders, government, community, distributions, supplies and others. A favourable corporate image create confidence in an organisations or institution. There has been occupational troubles in tertiary institutions as become the order of the day. But ESUT as always remained in sector despite the occasional occurrence of these ugly incidents. The questions that called for answer are:-
Why has this problem of internal wrangle in our tertiary institutions?
Why has ESUT not witness the major break down of law and order despite the increase in school fees?
Why has ESUT been able to maintained peace despites the facts that there are some polities that do not go down well with the staff, lecturers and the students of the institute?
To what extent has public relations contributed in maintenance of peace and harmony in the institutions these and many more are the central task of this research work.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
To give focus to the study the following objectives are formulated:-
- To find out the level of attention given to the publics in Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).
- To find out whether the institution have good relationship with the press.
- To examine the level of students, lecturers, staff and management relations in ESUT.
- To know how public relations help in improving communication between people and the organization.
- To recommend solution to problems on public relations identified.
- To determined the impact of public relations on consumers (students) patronage
- To appraise the public relations activities of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).
Public Relations activities of ESUT
Ho: Public Relations activities of ESUT does not lead to increase the awareness of their services
Hi: These lead to increase the awareness of their services.
Ho: Public Relations activities of ESUT does not give
attention to the student of the institution
H2: Public Relations activities of ESUT gives attention to the student of the institution.
Ho: Public Relation activities of ESUT does not lead to increase (students) patronage.
H3: Public Relation activities of ESUT lead to increase (students) (students) patronage.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The most outstanding hope of this study is that, its finding will be of immense benefit to students, lecturers and staff of management of tertiary institutions. These will help to minimize conflicts in this institutions. The study also gives an insight into the problem and practice of public relations in Nigeria Institutions of higher learning. This study by its objectives will not only assess the effectiveness of classified public relations, but all its application and uses generally. Therefore, when successfully carried out and documented, this study will serve as a source of relevant information to many institutions and organisations on ways of using public relations. Finally, public relations practioners have been deprived of excellent performance in the operations because of scanty and insufficient data and adequate literature availability in this area. This study when successfully completed and adequately supervised will be an addition to the essentials literature needed in public relations. Practitioners and consultants will therefore use it extensively for reference.
Based on forgoing, it becomes indisputable that the need for this study is worthwhile.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study covers public Relations activities in service industries and it will equally cover an over view of public relations in service industries. The role of public relations activities in improving the image of service industries especially tertiary institutions. Due to limited time and other constraints, emphases was placed on Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). Despite the fact that Enugu State University is the only institution use as a case study, but the researcher believes that whatever happens to Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) will equally apply to other institutions in the state.
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