Many authorities have contributed immensely to the success of defining public relations. The IBPR defines public relations as a deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.

According to Roger Hayward as quoted by Adegoke (2001:1) public relations is the propagation of the personality of the organization. This states the importance of communication between the organization and its publics.

Roger Hayward’s definition has something to do with the British Institute of Public Relations (IBPR) definition because both state the duty of public relations officers in promoting, projecting and representing the organization and at the same time relating with the public’s of the organization both the internal and external public.

Public relations project the management personality of which the public relations department represents, through their activities with the use of their perspective tools (i.e. Print and electronic media).

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as:

a distinctive management function which helps to  establish and main mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and operation between an organization and its public”

The international public relations association of Mexico in North America defines public relations as:

“the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organisations’ leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which serve both the organisation’s public interest.”

It is obvious that the work of Public relations is needed in almost in every society, organisation, both the profit and non-profit organisation, to include higher institution of learning (universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and other colleges). In fact, individual in the society also need the service of public relations especially those individuals that are profession or expert such as musician, athletes, politician e.t.c .

Therefore, public relations assist the institution in so many ways and some of the ways is by writing and distributing press realizes, school newspaper, journal and many more.

PR promotes and projects the image and dignity of the institution to the world. Public relations principles successfully add the following skills:

•        Ability to effective writing, fluent speaking and effective reading.

•        Ability to think clearly and put issues in perspectives.

•        Ability to act and work as part of management team at all level.

•        Ability to write speeches for the top institution management such as chief  executives

•        Ability to provide needed information to the institution and those outsiders.

•        Creativity ability to design any art work for the institution’s logo, Letterheads   e.t.c

•        Ability to plan events such as convocation, seminar, conference, exhibition, and many.

  • Ability to write and protect the institution during crisis or catastrophes such as if a cult groups are striking and in the process a body or more death, examination malpractices e.t.c

Because PRs is a backbone for every organisation that is ready and willing to survive. To this end the research seek to examine the impact of public relations in enhancing harmony in higher institutions using Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife).

 1.2 Statement of the Problem

This research has observed that in so many organizations, management neither recognizes nor appreciate public relations efforts in Nigeria. The management does not realize the potential of public relations activities in building and enhancing a good image for the success of the organization. It has been observed that the management’s attitude is lukewarm and non-challant towards public relations department and their activities.

Besides, they don’t want to spend money on its activities such as organizing seminars, workshops, symposium e. t. c because of the erroneous and selfish belief that public relations efforts bring little benefits to the organization.

Therefore, this study will examine the impact of public relations in enhancing harmony in higher institutions of learning, using Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife as a case study.

 1.3 Purpose of the Study

v    To examine the role of public relations office in higher institutions of learning.

v    To study the contributions of public relations offices in dissemination of information between the management and students.

v    To know the means and technique public relations Unit adopt in bridging communication gaps between the school management and the entire publics.

v    To study the challenges facing public relations in higher institutions.

v    To know how public relations manage and prevent crisis in higher Institution.

v    To show the type of public relations (internal or external Consultancy) suitable for higher institutions.

v    To know why public relations is needed in higher institutions.

1.4       Research Questions

v    Is public relations necessary in higher institution of learning?

v    Is public relations a useful tool during crisis in higher institution?

v    To what extent does public relations help in building and maintaining a mutual understanding between the management and its various publics?

v    What are the problems facing public relations in higher institutions?

v    To what extent does the management recognize the role of public relations in higher institutions?

1.5 Scope of the Study

With the selection of Obafemi Awolowo University as a case study, this project work has been limited because visiting all higher institutions of learning in Nigeria cannot be possible. However, the demography of the staff, students and management of Obafemi Awolowo University such as age, sex, working experience, academic qualification will be considered before the distribution of questionnaires.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The research will benefit a lot of individuals, institution and other organisation. Few among the beneficiaries include undergraduates and graduates of mass communication and public relations including the public relations practitioners.

It will as well benefit the public relations practitioners on what is expected of them in higher institutions. It will serve as eyes opener to the management of higher institution of learning on the need to have a functioning public relations department or unit in their institution.

In addition this research work tries to provide satisfactory answers to some questions that are disturbing the mind of policy formulators, students and researcher.

Researchers will be exposed to know how the public relations promote mutual understanding between the organization and the publics; students in various institutions will benefit from this project work by knowing the impact of public relations in enhancing harmony in higher institution of learning

Moreover, policy formulators will benefit from this research work because they will be able to identify the usefulness of public relations to them on policy formulations and corporate management.

1.7 Limitations to the Study

Wide research of this nature cannot be carried out without some constrains, this constrains pose a lot of limitations to this work.

The challenges stated below posed some limitations to the researcher.

Time: Duration for the research work is relatively short while stress emanated from other academic activities is also another constraint.

Material: Little materials are also available on this concept because the work is relatively new.

Financial: Financial constrain poses another challenges as most of information are gathered through books and surfing the internet to get the latest information for this study which consume lots of money.


1.8 Definition of the Terms

Impact: This is synonymous to functions, impact or contributions.

Higher Institutions: It means all colleges such as: polytechnics, universities, colleges of educations and host of other post secondary schools.

Public Relations: Public relations is a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.

Publics: In this research publics means all the groups or organizations, entity that are one way or the other associated with an organization.

Mutual Understanding: This is a terms in public relations, is simply all about good rapport that brings symbiotic relationship between an organization and its various publics.

Harmony: It simple means the state of tranquility, peace and understanding.

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