1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In educational institution Public relations (PR) is defined as a planned and systematic management function to help improve the programs and services of an education system (especially tertiary institutions of learning) (Ofuani, Sulaimon, & Adebisi, 2018; Okwelle & Agwi, 2018). According to the scholar, public relation in (tertiary) academic institutions depends on a comprehensive two-way communication process which involves both internal (e.g., staff and students) and external (e.g., general public, parents, communities and the government) publics with the aim of arousing enhanced grasp of the tasks, goals, accomplishments and needs of the institution. Hence, public relation performs a reinforcement role to organizational communication (Okwelle, 2010; Yahaya & Abubakar, 2017). Public relation is a critical tool for enhancement of employee performance, establishing, fostering and developing growth and stability in any organization (Austin & Pinkleton, 2015). Furthermore, Michnik (2015) highlighted that public relations concerns the total communication of any organization. In a time when information is being regarded as power (Ofuani et al., 2018; Paul, 2016) it is important that communication channels and Public relations practices are updated to meet critical needs and routine of their organizations, including public tertiary institutions (Adagala & Michael, 2017). There are about two key resources in the organizational public relation industry which include information and communication which are the raw material and the internal and external publics are the market for information and communication services while management and employees are considered as the factors of service production (Ofuani et al., 2018; Paul, 2016). This research will focus on the internal publics, specifically staff and workers. Hence, all these factors must be maximized to ensure that all internal publics are effectively informed and enlightened about events, orders and developments in order to ensure symbiotic relationships in the organization (Suchan, 2016). In this perspective, formal organizations such as tertiary educational institutions must deploy all the available means to communicate effectively to the internal publics because communication is indispensable to job performance in any organization (Adagala & Michael, 2017). In organizational public relation communication is regarded as a key element (Ritter, 2012; Sadia, Salleh, Zulida, & Sazuliana, 2018). Often, many problems occurring in an organization are attributed to defective or ineffective communication. In most cases, management that is wont of keeping information that is supposed to be disseminated confidential, does not communicate properly causes confusion among employees, who will strive to understand what they are required to, or not required to do (Sadia et al., 2018; Wiñska, 2010), a phenomenon which, according to Sadia et al., (2018) leads to what is referred to as “the catastrophe of higher management in communication”. Communication defects or deficiency in organizational public relation practice inhibits job performance and impedes organizational progress, which affects both employees and senior management who are the key actors of the organization (Grunig & Grunig, 2009). Poor relationships with staff and other employees of the organization because of defective communication imply that the organization may not achieve its goals (Okwelle, 2010). Furthermore, educational institutions require a bit different method of regulating their operation styles; they require constant evaluation of the needs for effective communication to build effective relationship with individuals and groups (Sharma, 2015). Tertiary educational institutions engage people from diverse backgrounds hence, the need for effective communication in any public relation activity. For example, some issues were raised at a symposium as well as matriculation and convocation lectures presented at the Federal Polytechnic Damaturu (FEDPODAM) regarding growing concerns for the need to address problems associated with poor channels of communication and PR between the management and staff of the institution which often negatively affect management employee relationships and job satisfaction. Another example is, in late 2016 an internal industrial action was embarked upon by members of both academic and non-academic staff unions of the institution, an incident believed to be prompted by communication gaps between the management and the staff of the institution (Personal communication, Information Unit, FEDODAM, 2016). One way of eliminating communication gaps and PR vacuums in an organization is by timely and regular dissemination of the right information to the right publics via the appropriate medium (Austin & Pinkleton, 2015). It is mandatory for organization to be keen in making sure that their internal publics receive adequate information, promptly and through appropriate channels, in order to enable them to execute their responsibilities effectively (Johnson, Weaver, Kim, & Hocke, 2010). To facilitate this, the right channels ought to be made accessible (available) by the organization (Cutlip, Center, & Broom, 2009; Grunig, 2009). Dissemination of effective communication and goodwill-bearing public would create room for school managers to obtain feedback from their internal publics by collecting information from fundamental areas of internal communication to make a distinction between the actual situations against that which management perceives to be the situation (Adagala & Michael, 2017; Suchan, 2016). Formal organizations such as tertiary institutions of learning can achieve the goal of keeping their staff and other employees effectively informed by keeping their communication channels open for the employees to inquire and to be given the right response by the management team (Grunig, 2009). A good internal communication system is crucial to an organization because it ensures proper message flow to its publics (Cutlip et al., 2009). Organizations have a hierarchy, which is divided into units and subunits such as classes, departments and the management. The hierarchy ensures effective flow of information and communication all the time through various channels (Grunig, 2015; Otubanjo, Amujo, & Melewar, 2010). Furthermore, effective communication and public relation are prime age of prime importance in an organization today in which good public relation approach is utilized (Miner, 2005; Suchan, 2016). The two concepts are functional elements in which the success of every organization depends. Johnson et al. (2010) asserted that communication is the nervous system of an organizational group, providing the information and understanding necessary for high morale and productivity. However, as a pre-condition for communication to be effective, it must not only rest in the effective information between the people involved in the act but also people outside the organization (Austin & Pinkleton, 2015). Thus, public relation and communications are key to what transpire in an organization, without which the organization’s existence will be undermined (Cutlip et al., 2009). As communication is essential for life so is it fundamental in any organization (Lindeborg, 2014). Therefore, effective communication between organization and its publics allows open and viable interaction with optimal input and grants an enhanced performance in an organization (Johnson et al., 2010). This article aims to review literature surrounding enhanced employee performance through public relation and effective communication in an organization and critically looks at how these two concepts play the role of enhancing performance in an organization.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Today in any organization and office the public relations part is evident and essential. Function and role of this area is such important that essentially there is no organization or office without it and their survival and continue the movement more than anything, depends on the power and efficiency. Public relations are the most important body part of an organization. Oghojafor et. al (2012) opine that the world today is tyrannized by call for effectiveness, and workers, managers, departments and organizations are always under pressure to be effective. Studies globally have documented that excellent practice of public relations can greatly enhance the overall productivity of an organization and employees. In their Excellence study, L. Grunig, J. Grunig, & Dozier (2015) suggested that public relations can provide the value to an organization by identifying the strategic publics that develop because of the consequences that organizations and publics have on each other by using symmetrical communication programs to develop and maintain quality relationships with these strategic publics. In spite of this, public relations practitioners have continued to struggle to define the role and place of PR in organisations and its contribution to the organizational performance (Grunig et al.2015). If the above submissions are from the west economies where the PR industry is arguably grown, the situation in Africa and specifically in Nigeria where PR as an industry is in its nascent stages calls for an examination. Jjuuko (2014) says PR in Nigeria is in its infancy and even some big institutions neither have PR departments nor a person in charge of public relations. Globally, the vital roles public relations play in educational institutions has been underscored. Grillis (2010) opines that many universities have set up PR units for the purpose of enhancing communication with their publics. In concurring, Hirsh & Weber (2011) claims that universities generally look to public relations units to manage crises, boost rankings, increase donations, and carry out a variety of other tasks. However, Bruning & Ralston (2015) assert that the practice of public relations at most universities has been relegated to a single office concerned primarily with managing institutional reputation. Private universities in Nigeria are faced with performance challenges indicated by dwindling student enrolment, high staff turnover, limited cash flows among others (Nyamache, 2009). With PR practice, even in grown economies still facing an identity crisis, questions abound as to whether PR practice in a developing economy like Nigeria, and in less commercially viewed industry as education, is appreciated and given the eminence it requires to contribute to staff productivity. This study therefore sought to unravel the impact of public relations on the productivity of staff in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine public relations as a tool for aiding staff productivity in tertiary institutions. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The most outstanding hope of this study is that its findings will be of immense benefit to students, lecturers and staff of management of tertiary institutions, which will help in minimize conflicts in these institutions. The study also gave an insight into the problem and practices of public relations in Nigeria institutions of higher learning. This study by its objectives will not only assess the effectiveness of classified public relation, but as its application and uses generally, therefore, when successfully this project wale or research work is carried out and documented, it will save as a source of relevant information to many institution and organizations on the ways of using public relation and its importance. Finally, public relation practitioners have been deprived of excellent performance in their operations because of shanty and insufficient data and in-adequate literariness availability in this area. This study when successfully completed and adequately supervised will be an addition to the essential literature needed in public relations, vital areas of marketing communication public relations practitioners and consultants will therefore use it extensively for reference.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to public relations as a tool for aiding staff productivity in tertiary institutions, a case study of Yabatech staff Lagos state.
1.8 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.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Public Relations: A unique management function for establishing and maintaining mutual communication lines and understanding between the public and the bank.
Staff Productivity: Staff Productivity is the measurement between the amount of time and effort staff spent working and the resultant output (Sheahan, 2011).
Public: Any group that has actually a company to achieve its objective.
Opinion & Attitude: Belief or judgment not founded the same in everybody i.e the opinion and attitude of everybody happens to differs from one person to another. It is what the people feels, thinks or believe about something or company.
OTHER SIMILAR MASS COMMUNICATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS