Public relations is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics; involves the management of problems or issues; help management to keep informed on and responsive to public opinion; defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research and sound and ethical communication as its principal tools. Harlow (1991).
According to Moore and Kalupa (2007) Public relations as practiced today is a twentieth century American phenomenon and its fundamental elements of informing people, persuading people and integrating people were basic to earliest society just as they are today.
Moore and Kalupa (2007) further asserted that the need for communications among organizations and their publics is attested to by the fact that public relations occupy a dominant role in the economy today and exist as an essential middleman between the corporation and its publics.
Hence, public relations functions cannot be integrated into other area since these functions cannot be managed strategically ( Gruning et al 2006).
Public relations are therefore a management function that establishes and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends (Cutlip et al, 2006).
Taye (2002), quoting News and Carel (2001) says that the first world assemble of public relations association regards public relations as the art and science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which will serve both the organization’s and the public’s interest.
Tejuoso (2003) see public relations as a management function of a continuing and planned character through which public and private organization and institution seeks to win.
Johnstone and Zawawi (2004; 6) define public relations as the ’’ethical and strategic management of communication and relationships in order to produce and direct messages to achieve sound outcomes within a socially responsible framework.’’ This activity can be carried out by organizations, groups or individuals as they interact with their various publics or stakeholders to pursue objectives and goals. This view recognizes that communication should not be simply strategic because this implies the potential exploitation of the imbalances of power between the communicator and the recipient.
Meanwhile, Lvy Lee and Edward Louis Bernays (1990) describe public relations as a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interest of organization by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
Basically Public Relation is an act that can be seen to involved artistic skills, language, writing, and public speaking. It is a social science using social scientific instrument to understand and predict human behavior Nwosu (1968).
LIoyd, (1980; XV) Public Relations practice is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain a mutual understanding between an organization and its public.
Deliberate; an organization’s public relations emanates from the objective which the public relations man has projected as result of the research. Such research is follow up of the feedbacks received from publics of the organization in reaction to issues of mutual interest.
This emphasizes the fact that there is nothing accidental about a public relations programme. Rather, it is done quite willingly, because the management agreed with the proposition of the public relations man to tackle the problem on hand decisively, deliberately.
The objective may be let the publics of the organization know that management is taking urgent steps to correct anomalies identified and reported by customers about goods or services.
Planned; if an objective is to achieve the projected purposes and have the desire impact, it must be properly planned.
Sustained Effort; as psychology have noted through experiments, the human memory is short. Consequently, with different signals competing for people’s attention from the print and electronic media, an organization is obliged to design messages which it must get across to its publics at regular intervals.
Mutual understanding; the concept of mutual understanding in public relations is made manifest by the principle of two-way communication. The public Relation man is the channel for this two- communication. He gathers public’s opinion about his organizations’ and provides these as feedback to management.
Public Relations (PR) practice is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public (Charted Institute of Public Relations) (CIPR).
Public relations consist of all forms of planned communication outwards and inwards, between an organization and its publics for the purpose of achieving specific objectives concerning mutual understanding. (Jefkins 2006).
Public Relations is the management of communications between an organization and its publics (Grunig and Hunt 1984:8).
Cutlip, Center and Broom(2006:6) who produced one of the first books summarizing the PR Theory and practice, defined PR as follows: Public Relations is the management function that identifies, establishing and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and various publics on whom its success or failure depends.
In the UK, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) offers a definition that introduces another new dimension:
Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
Public relations practice is the discipline, which looks after reputation with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behavior. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. (www.cipr.co.uk).
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) state that public relations help as organization and its publics to adapt mutually to each other.
Public relations is an organization’s efforts to win the co-operation of groups of people. public relations helps organizations effectively interact and communicate with their key publics.(www.prsa.org).
Rex F. Harlow a renowned American public relations expert provides us an excellent and exhaustive definition of public relations as a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics, involves the management of problems or issues, helps management to keep informed on and responsive to public , defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest, helps the management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serve as an early warning system to help anticipate trends and uses research and sound and ethnical communication as its principal tools.
Public relations has varied definitions. But it is agreed that public relations is a profession that uses communication to create and sustain favorable image and reputation among its strategic stakeholders called the public.
The British Institute of Public Relations, cited in Yaroson and Asemah (2007) defines public relations practice as the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.
Another working definition for this study is Mexican statement as quoted by Nkwocha (2004;103) it says that public relations is the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders and implementing planned programmes of actions, which will serve both the organization and the public interest.
Public relations is a “communication function of management through which organizations adapt to, alter, or maintain their environment for the purpose of achieving organizational goal’’ (Long and Hazelton 1987:6).
Public relations is concerned with “assisting organizations to both formulate and achieve socially acceptable goals, thus achieving a balance between commercial imperatives and responsible behavior’’ (Kitchen 1977:8).
Nwosu(1992) says that public relations includes winning friends, keeping them and influencing them, as well as others. Through effective public relations, an organization will be able to win public acceptance.
Public Relations as the name suggests is simply relations with the publics. Public relations practitioners communicate regularly with many different publics not necessarily the general public. Each public of an organization has its own needs, and wants and this require different types of communication to address each of them.
Often, the lines that divide these publics are thin, and the potential overlap is significant. Therefore, prionties, according to organizational needs must always be reconciled (Seitel, 2007).
Public relations practitioners always act as a link between their organization and the various publics. Publics can be classified into internal and external.
The internal publics of tertiary institution involve the followings:
– The University Council
– Board of Trustees
– Other employees- skilled and unskilled.
The external publics of tertiary institution involve the following:
– National Accreditation Board
– Local regulations
– The government
– The media
– Affiliated University or Universities.
The focus of this chapter is to review existing literature relevant to the subject matter of this study. The review covers part of the conceptual framework, theoretical and empirical framework, which reviews past studies related to this research work.
3.1.1 Public Relations Strategies
Strategies public relations has become a catchphrase in the discipline of public relations(J.Grunig and L.Grung 2000a) There is an increasing consensus among industry scholars and practitioners that public relations should move beyond its technician role to one that contributes to strategic management.
Strategy could be seen as the thinking, the logic behind the actions (Robert 1977; 22)
Ducker (1954) sees it as indication of an organization’s positioning for the future, deciding what should be done rather than how it should be done.
Strategy requires choices-deciding what particular kind of value an organizations wants to deliver to whom (Porter, in Gibson 1997).
Strategy from the Greek word ‘Strategia’(Office of the general) is the science of art of military command as applied to the overall planning and conduct of large scale combat operations’’( Robert 1997;22).
A strategy could also be seen as an approach, design, scheme or system that directs the course of action in a specific situation (Grunig and Repper , in Grunig 1992:123) – the means to achieve the ends.(Narayanan and Nath 1993:244).
Strategy is the thinking, the logic behind the actions (Robert 1997:22).
Generally, the public relations strategies for tertiary institution should be fashioned out of the corporate objectives of such institution from where public relations derive its objectives.
Press release; It serves as the data bank of institutions. It informs the external publics of the institutions about events that is about to take place or have taken place, through press to the media. The first modern press release was created out by Lvy Lee .press release or news release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the new media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy. Typically they are mailed, faxed or e-mailed to assignment editors and journalists at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, online media, television stations or television networks.
The press release was invented in the 1800s written in the form of conventional news story; a release presents the point of view of the organization that disseminates it. Newspaper editors and reporters often use facts, quotes and other information from release to amplify their stories or support their accuracy and credibility.
Articles/letter to the editors; lauder the image of the institutions by contributing to articles, different newspaper title and letter to the editor to clarify issues that affect the institutions. Article must be balanced, fair, truthful and interesting. The aims and objectives of the articles are as varied as the needs and situations of the institutions.
Media Relation; Media relations is the core activity in many public relations jobs (Wilcox, 2005). Public relations should maintain mutual relationship with the journalist through letters, personal calls on point of interest as a practice measure in order to effectively manage the reputation of the institution.
Grunig and Hunt(1984) state that “relations with the news media are so central to the practice of public relations that many practitioners especially those guided by the press agentry and public information models of public relations, believe that public relations is nothing more than media relations ’’.Media Relations can be defined as the systematic (kendall 1996) planned (Lesly,1991) purposeful(Miller 1984) and mutually beneficially relationship(Guths Marsh 2003) between journalists in the mass media and public relations practitioners.
Media relations involves building a positive relationship with the news media so they know your organization is reliable, professional, accurate, and ethical.(Feam-Banks, 2010,p.3).
Interviews; Opoku- Amenkwa(2009) defines interview as a useful tool for finding out individual opinions, ideas, values and beliefs.
According to Boyce and Neale (2006) in –depth interviewing is a qualitative research technique that involves conducting intensive individual interviews with a small number of respondents to explore their perspective on a particular idea, program or situation.
Interview is a veritable tool of getting the support and understanding of the student for their popular and unpopular policies and decision. An interview is a conversation where questions are asked and answers are given. Its helps to gather student’s opinion on some important issues.
Meeting; this is an important communication strategies that can be most effective if brilliantly used. However, meeting will be very useful with all classes of the institution executive in order to state specifically the position of the institution with a view to solicitor their support.
Sponsorship and Event; According to Palmer (2005) Sponsorship involves investment in an event or cause in order that an organization can achieve its objectives. Thus through events, an organization can achieve objectives such as increase in awareness level, reputation enhancement and image building.
Palmer (2000) additionally states that major events are an opportunity for two –way dialogue between the organization and the media.
Events and Sponsorship in the words of Duncan (2002) are designed to create involvement and intensify the marketing communication activities in an organization.
Lancaster (2005) believe that key individual can be invited to artistic events and such key individuals can be targeted, contracted, entertained and result in long term relationships building.
Moore and Kalupa (2007) also were of the view that events play an important part in changing attitudes and opinions. The authors further assert that events provide information that often induces a change of mind.
Clow and Baack (2007) further mention that since events is an opportunity for organization to have a dialogue with their publics, public relations professional should always amplify responsibility for positive outcomes of events and increase the desirable outcome in the eyes of the publics. Therefore, public relations practitioners must recognize the importance of events in transforming passive attitudes into positive opinion on controversial issues.
In the words of Galloway (2005) corporate websites, chat- rooms, email, facilities, and electronic news release are viewed as standard aspects of public relations practice.
Sponsorship involves providing entertaining radio and television programmes to the publicity.
Internet; Clow and Baack (2007) also argued that the internet could be used as a major tool of public relations to help combat negative word of mouth.
Khali (2004) also asserted that the explosive growth of mobile computing and wireless networks has helped educational institutions stay at the forefront of the changing world.
Audu (2006) revealed that the internet has many benefits in the academic cycle as its provides around the clock access to global sources of information. Thus internet and websites provides a faster, broader reach for public relations practitioners to publish company press release, background information, introduce new products or services and provide promotional information for an organization.
Adomi, Omodeko and Otolo (2004) thus internet has become an invaluable tool for teaching, learning and research.
Internet is a media technology that has greatly enhanced the concept of a global village. Due to the power of internet, it makes institutions to be known (resumptions date, sales of Post UTME, date of Post UTME).The internet has become a primary channel for publics to get together in cyberspace for communication, it has given the population opportunities to speak out at the same time, this electronic sounding-board has become a good place to detect problems and issues as soon as they arise.
The internet was originally developed in the 1960s at the U.S defense department by a group of researchers headed by Dr Robert W. Taylor.
Internet is becoming the strategic tool for organizations to raise visibility and to manage communication and to build relations with stakeholders (Kent and Taylor, 1998). The web is not only a medium to disseminate information to targets; it is a multimedia and interactive instrument. This means that it allows new dialogues and responsiveness to stakeholders needs and it has fundamental role to build effective relationships with team (Baver, Grether and Leach 2001: Castell, 2006, kent, Taylor and White, 2003, Walther, Gay and Hancock, 2005).
Internet has become such a crucial tool for universities (Hallahan 2001; Mc Allister-Spooner, 2008: Lovari and Orsini, 2005: Pook and Lefond, 2011).
3.2 TOOLS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
The tool to monitor and manage opinions of the general public’s towards an organization
Is the use of public relations (Moore and Kalupa, 2007) .
According to Jobber (2001) the objectives of public relations is to manage misconceptions for unfounded opinions not to tarnish the image and operations of an organization.
Well et al.(2005) also support the view of Jobber(2001) stressed that public relations objectives focus on creating credibility, delivering information, building positive images, changing stakeholders attitudes, opinions or behaviors about a company.
Wells et al (2005) further opined that public relations practitioners have many tools to establish and enhance a positive image of an organization and its publics.
Hence, the various tools employed by public relations practitioners to deliver messages to the publics of an organization includes speeches, sponsorship, events, corporate advertising, press release, websites, internal publication ,and notice boards(Belch and Belch 2001:Lancaster,2005:Moore and Kalupa,2007:Palmer, 2001:Well et al ,2005).
Palmer (2005) emphasized that a wide range of public relation tools are available and suitability of each tool depends on the promotional objective.
Belch and Belch(2001) echoed that public relations uses a variety of tools including special publications, participation in community activities, fund raising, and sponsorship of special events, advertising and public affairs activities to enhance an organizational image.
Well et al (2005) also describes categories of public relations tools and stressed that the tools are best suited to create awareness of an organization and its services depending on the amount of control the company has in its communication. The tools are described as controlled (e.g House ads, public service ads, publications, photographs, Displays, exhibits)
Uncontrolled (e.g News release, press conference, Talk and interview shows, public service announcements) semi – controlled (e,g Electronic communication(websites, chat rooms) special events and sponsorship.
Lancaster (2005) further mentions exhibitions as one of the potential tools for creating the opportunity for public relations officers as well as marketing communications to come into face to face contact with desired targeted audience or visitors.
Public relations professionals rely on a toolbox full of varied tactics to achieve their communication objectives, public service announcements, media conferences, and special events are some of the best- known and time -honored tactics.(Wilcox, 2011;250).
Public relations is a management tool designed to establish support among a firm’s various internal and external publics (Thomas and Lane, 1990).
Another definition stated that public relations include activities that are built around a favorable company’s image through publicity, and community events (Zeithaml, Birtner and Gremler 2009).
The major functions of public relations are to create and maintain excellent relations with the organization’s internal and external stakeholders, such as persons and private,governmental and societal entities in general.
Public relations can have a strong impact on public awareness at a much lower cost than advertising (Kotler and Armstrong 2006).
Public relations must be an important part to internal communication to promote planned changed and development within the organization (Rivero, 2013).
3.2.1 Public Relations Campaign Planning
Franks Jerfkins (1998), in his model, outline four points for public relations activities in the following order;
1 Appreciation of situation; although public relation activities are meant to place organization in good state before its public in order for the organization to be able to achieve its corporation aims.
Appreciation situation involves tactical monitoring of trends within and around the campuses of the institution making use of formal and informal research techniques relevant to public relations practice.
2. Defining the Objective; Specific public relations campaign objective for higher institutions are;
-To pass information to community on the day to day activities of the board, management staff, student union and other members of the community.
-To fight against cultism in tertiary institution.
-To correct misconception of management activities by staff, students and other members of the community.
3.Defining The Publics; Public relations programme are designed for different publics to the institution, for effectiveness of specific campaigns a clear understanding of the’’ Specific public’’ being targeted is essential for the success of campaign. Therefore, for every programme, a list of target public should be made.
4.Selection Of Media And Techniques; Public relations media serve as the instrument of communication used by an organization to disseminate information to the different publics and also provide feedback needed for further actions on the part of management, before selecting media, public relations must have deep knowledge of the characteristic of both the publics and media. This will enable the public relations executives to put the right peg in the right holes as far as the publics and the media are concerned.
A better knowledge of the media will also help in the design of messages so that the desired response can be received from those the message is meant. Examples of media that can be used are; Radio, Television, Newspaper, and Magazine.
3.2.2 Public Relations for Tertiary Institutions
The present picture that all of us can see of our ivory tower is one of fast depreciating academics values, that has drastically reduced the standard of education in the ultimate institution that all over the world dictates the quality of socio-economic, cultural and technological position of the state. The current state of higher institutions and higher education in Nigeria is the combined responsibility of the governments of these institution; lecturers, parent, student themselves and the larger society Mojaye (2005).
Inconsistent policies on tertiary education which government make from time to time have great impact on the present situation of Ivory Towers. Apparently, in reaction to government policies, a lot of lecturers in Nigeria tertiary institution have found to be involved in so many atrocities that have injured and significantly weakened the pillars upon which sound and quality education were built by the nation’s founding fathers.
The presence of cultism in our citadel of learning has done a lot of havoc to the nation’s educational systems just as it has negative impact on her socio-economic and political systems. Hundreds of promising Nigerians have been killed through violent cult clashes; a great disturbance has been done to the nation’s socio-economic order. No thanks to the nefarious activities of cultist.
Public relations activities in tertiary institution before now had to contend with and contain student’s agitation which usually comes in form of protests against shortage of or unavailability of water supply, power outrage, increase in tuition fees and other matters, bordering on insensitivity on the part of government.
Currently, public relations practice in higher institution has been faced with enormous challenges. The focus of public relation has been directed lately towards getting the institution out of the woods and consequently repositions them to brazen up for the task of extinguishing the extraneous factors that have rotten the system. Adefolakan (2001). Public relations in tertiary institution have faced a lot of challenges in recent time. Chief executive of higher institution of learning have had tough times coping with their institution’s buttered image as a result of series of ugly development that had arisen mostly from neglect of fundamental approaches to public relations in our ivory towers Adefolakan (2001).
It is now evident that tertiary institutions in Nigeria are seeing the need of employ public relation services and strategies to tackle their image deficiencies but it is also true that most manager of these institution often rebuff practitioner’s counsel in favor of the use of contemporary public relations approaches for solving most of the problems that plague the sector Nwosu (2002).
There have been various studies undertake in the field of public relations in educational institutions. A lot of these studies have centered to the universities which is probably because the universities deal with various publics which necessitate dissemination of information in the most appropriate manner (Veena, Dayaneethie and Zukiswo 2012).
The purpose of the functions of public relations in the administration of Universities is to advance the objectives of universities as formal organizations. Public relations must therefore be geared towards achieving the organizational goals established by the university’s administration.
Universities relations with the public cannot be said to be the preserve of public relations practitioners alone. All members of the university especially those in leadership, management and supervisory positions have a public relations role to play. All of which are coordinated by the public relations practitioners to inform the public with a holistic image about the university.
Over the years, universities have adopted professional public relations practice owing a rapid expansion of its stakeholders, increase in staff and students population and the complex social issues that they grapple with owing to expansion in staff and student’s population, communication effectiveness and efficiency has also become a formidable task for most universities.
For instance, the crowding of campuses inadequacy of accommodation, escalation of fees and limited amenities are some of the problems bothering all stakeholders that need to be explained to their satisfaction. Adequate and satisfying explanations to such problems certainly require a well – coordinated system of information service delivery for which effective public relations is required.
3.2.3 Historical Evolution and Development of Tertiary Educational Institution in Nigeria.
The history of higher education in Nigeria began with the establishment of Yaba Higher College in 1934, to provide middle-level manpower for government and private sector (Wokocha, 2003).The college came into being only after a lot of agitations and demands by the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA) led by Casely Hayford, a lawyer from Accra, Ghana, headquarters of the organization ( Aminigo, 2003).
By 1960, the university college, Ibadan which was established to award academic degree to university of London, had established itself as a reputable institution of higher learning.it was also making a great contribution to manpower needs of Nigeria (National Teachers Institute 2005).
By 1962, there were only three regions in Nigeria, thus, each of the regions had a university with the creation of the Mid- Western Region in 1963.The yearning for a regional higher institution was set in motion, and the Mid-Western Institute of Technology, which was established in 1970, later became the university of Benin (Wokocha,2003).
In the year 2011, the number of tertiary institutions in Nigeria rose to 363.
3.2.4 Public Relations As a Management Function In Tertiary Institutions
The educational public relations functions in institutional decision making at colleges and universities has been well documented in literature (National School Public Relations Association, 2012; Peyronel and Lawnizak, 2000).
According to Tianping (2003) public relations is a basic function of a modern school’s management and will help improve the programmes and services of an educational organizational (National School Public Relation, 2012).
The growth of public relations has become very important in recent years( Moore and Kalupa 2007).In their view, Peyronel and Lawniczak(2000) state that senior public relations administration function is to be involved in institutional decision making at colleges and universities.
Tianping(2003) further indicates that public relations is a basic function of a modern school’s management but Bruning and Ralson(2001) assert that the practice of public relations at most universities has been relegated to a single office concerned primarily with managing institutional reputation.
Public relations play a very critical role in almost every educational institution. Educational public relation officers assist students and work with parents and various groups within institutions. They distribute newsletter containing information about campus events, build and maintain ties with alumni, lecturers, staff and students.
According to National School Public Relations Association (2012) educational public relations is a planned and systematic management function to help improve the programmes and services of an educational organization. This indicates that activities of educational public relations are a two- way affairs involving communication between the institution and its publics.
National School Public Relations Association (2012) echoes that one of the educational public relations functions is to provide counseling to students, take a proactive stances, anticipate problems, and provide solutions and handle all aspects of the school publications.
Newson and Carrel (2001) further emphasize that public relations personnel for the local schools distrinct must be aware of the feelings of students, parents, voters and the regional accrediting agency.
According to Seitel (2007), the functions of public relations comprises writing, media relations, planning, counseling, researching, publicity, marketing communications, community relations, consumer relations, employee relations, government (regulatory) affairs, investor(stakeholders) relations, public affairs and issue management and website development.
The role usually played by public relations in educational institution is to manage the flow of both internal and external communication. Public relations departments manage their organization’s reputation with various group including internal and external publics.
According to Seitel (2009) “public relations practices is based on two –way communications facilitated through a multimedia approach and is founded on research’’.
The traditional roles of the education public relations specialists have been that of a scribe and paper mover. Whose purpose typically was to inform but often to publicize? For the most the duties of the educational public relations specialist or practitioner was the recording and publishing of minutes of board meetings, the development of brochures for financial campaigns and even the supervision of the school newspaper when the positions was half rather than full time(Ojomo et al 2006).
Today, however, the role of the educational public relations practitioner is seen as a much broader one.
Flatt (2002) listed twenty roles for the contemporary public relations specialist these leadership roles emphasized a variety of skills, publicizing, advertising marketing (of existing new products services), editing and knowing basic graphic design, conducting budget and building referenda campaigns. public relations in service for administrators and staff, relating effectively to adults and youth in community problem solving situations ,dealing with oral and written complained and organizing and administering communications plan for school crisis, keeping accurate district public relations records, determining alternative futures and serving not only as the district peacemaker and public conscience, but also as one of the superintendents key advisors, which includes speaking for him or her occasions.
The dynamic nature of education and educational institution has made it somehow to have stereo-type public relations for educational institutions especially in Nigeria. .Nkwocha (2004). However the following would serve as the basic for articulating function of public relations in tertiary institutions.
1. To serve as communication link between the institution and its internal and external publics.
2. To embark on all activities and programs that would greatly reduce student’s agitation and crisis
3. To secure the understanding and support of major donors and philanthropist for the institution.
4. To secure the confidence and support of government.
5. To undertake community relations activities that will create lasting friendship between the institution and the host communities.
6. To monitor trends in education as they may affect performance and fortunes of tertiary institutions
7 To foster mutual and beneficial relationship between the management of the institution and its workers, workers union and their leaderships.
8 To design programmes that would bring the institution alumni to support its causes at all times.
9. To embark on students’ relations activities that engenders symbiotic relationship between the students’ union leaders and the management.
10. To guide the proprietors and management in building for the institution good image that attracts public’s goodwill.
11. To undertake periodic research, counsel management and put potential plans in place to solve potential and situational occurrence.
12. Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact goodwill or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
13. Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy and decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
14. Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization.
15. Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy.
3.2.5 Role of Public Relations Officer in Higher Institutions
Operators and managers of higher institutions have since realized the importance of public relations in the day to day running of the institutions. They have come to realized that the institutions cannot survive without the support of its crucial publics(internal and external), and in order for them to function properly there is need to align their policies, goals and objectives with the interest of larger society .Nkwocha (2004).
According to Lattimore el al(2004;328)’’ Public schools as well as higher education institutions have found that public relations is increasingly important to them as they seek funds, deal with crises, or face many of the special situations revolving around education.
This is in tandem with the viewpoint of Biagi (2003;219) universities, colleges and schools often hire public relations people to promote these educational institutions and to handle press attention from the consequences of decisions that educators make.
Hence, not surprisingly, most institutions now have a public relations unit situated in the office of the Chief Executive. Ken and Greenhall (1987;45),while defining public relations practice within higher education system aver that public relations practice is the process of organized two- way communication between an institution and its audiences; its objective is to build a level of mutual understanding and respect which allows the institution’s goal to be more readily met.
Jubril (1997;22) opines that, public relations reduces industrial crises and student unrest, help raise the quality of learning, and the acceptance of certificates, safeguards the tenure of chief academic officers, enhances the employment of graduates, raises the profile of graduate and attract funding for the institutions, thus ensuring sustenance. Ideally, institutional public relations should achieve the following;
The implementation of the institution’s policy, goals and objectives. Assist the news media in coverage of the institution. Reporting to the employees and students on the institution’s activities. Increasing the internal cohesion of the institution. Increasing the institution’s sensitivity to its publics. Mobilization of support for the institution itself. From the foregoing, it has become apparent that public relations in institutions strive to achieve what Jefkins (1988; 9) calls the “transfer process” This entails transforming public perception from negative dimension to the positive. Specifically, public relation is considered as capable of converting public ignorance to knowledge and awareness; apathy to interest and support, prejudice to sympathy and lastly, hostility to understanding and acceptance.
Fayoyin (1992), underlie the national and philosophical basic of public relations which is primarily concerned with achieving understanding through knowledge.
Public relations practice has become a matter of great concern to many individuals, institutions and corporate bodies in recent year’s .Notwithstanding the benefits of public relations to higher education. There are conflicting views about its significance to the operation of universities. This is because public relations officers responsible for public relations are often left out of decision- making.
On several occasions, they are called in to implement some decisions that they hardly understood because they were not part of the decision making processes. They are not accorded that status that will make them part of those decisions. Thus gives an impression of insignificance of their function as role players in the management of universities (Eniola, 2011).
In tertiary institutions, most decisions are made at the committee level which includes academics. Administrators serve as secretaries or implementers of the decisions. Since public relations practitioners who are also administrators are not privileged to part of the decision making process, they are hardly able to comprehend the decisions made by the academics and this impedes their ability to advocate and propagate the decisions. An evaluation of the public relations office of some institutions found that there was need to increase public relations activities in section .It was explained that this could be achieved only when the public relation section is accorded the same status as the other department by appointing a head with similar status(Holtzhausen and Voto, 2002).
In the light, one can say that for public relations unit to function as a management tool in the administration of a university, the unit must be seen identifying problems, difficulties or needs of the publics in and around the university establishing channels for information flow, and maintaining mutual and cordial relations with the public.
Public relations units are considered a necessary component in the administration of tertiary institutions particularly in the universities. The public relations practitioner or officers in the capacity of a dean and should advice management on how to position the university to enhance its public image (Ojumo, Nikona and Kiroma, 2006).
Modern public relations practitioners are facing moore difficulties and challenges as information speed and globalization alter the pace and landscape of the profession.
The internationalization of public relations is both an opportunity and challenge for professionals (Taylor, 2001, p.629).
3.2.6 Public Relations and Crisis Management in Tertiary Institutions
According to Nkwocha (1999) crisis is any event, issue, occurrence or situation that will be described as a turning point for better or for worse.
Crisis is also a period of heightened uncertainty that increase the demand to plan at the time in which both external and internal pressure change the goals and operational practices of an organization.
Saliu (1994), view crisis as one of the agents and path of effective change unimaginable in organization. A crisis is some way causes something never to be the same again in a way.
Mark (1993) sees crisis as a period of heightened uncertainty that increase the need to plan and a point when external and internal pressures change the objectives and operational objectives of the organization.
Herman (1969) gave us a set of dimensions with which to define crisis. To Herman crisis tend to threaten the high priority values of the organization, present a restricted amount of time in which a response can be made and it is unexpected or unanticipated by the organization.
Black (1996) classifies crisis as a predictable one that can occur by the nature of business or service rendered by the organization for instance, industrial unrest\\ strikes by unions and demonstrations can be predicted in higher institutions.
Nwosu (2004) sees crisis as breach in the natural order of things, an aberration in the system or a disruptive force that can destroy the system or the organization concerned.
Ewurum (2000) define management as the process of planning, controlling, coordinating, directing and supervising to achieve the desired goal.
Crisis management According to Nweke(2001) is advise advanced on the need to plan and possibly do everything within your reach to ensure and prevent an uncanny event not to occur.