ABSTRACT: The study examines communication as a key to effective public relations with a case study of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Communication is the basis of human interaction and development since no human being can survive in isolation from others. However, effective communication fosters unity, understanding and general development in an organization. Communication models and communication processing theory was also adopted including Technological Determinism while the survey research method with questionnaire was adopted to elicit data from the respondents within Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. who were mainly students, teaching and non-teaching staff that were drawn using a simple random sampling technique? The data collected were analysed and interpreted using table coupled with simple frequency and percentage method of statistics. It was recommended that OAUY through the public relations unit is expected to have a page or group or room on social media like Facebook and Twitter which shall be solely managed by the Public relations department or Unit of the institution or any other authorized body or person. Such a group could be titled “OAU INFORMATION ROOM”, e.t.c.
Keywords: COMMUNICATION AS A KEY
1.1 Background to the Study
Public relations have been defined in various ways. The British Institute of Public Relations (IBPR) defines public relations as a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public. Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as a distinctive management function that helps to establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and operation between an organization and its publics (Arowosegbe, 2005).
It is obvious that the work of public relations is needed in almost every society such as profit and non-profit organizations including higher institutions of learning (universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and other colleges). In fact, individuals in society also need the services of public relations, especially those individuals that are professionals or experts such as musicians, politicians and others.
From the above definitions, we can see that the core functions of the public relations lies in the building and maintaining good relations with organisations’ public through effective communication and other good activities. Communication is therefore a process or means of accessing the mind or thought of another. Communication is an exchange of meaning and each participant comes into the communication situation with his or her own experience which he or she hopes to exchange with another participant(s) (Anaeto, Osifeso and Onabajo, 2008).
Similarly, Olutope (2010) defined communication as any means by which a thought is transferred from one person to another. Thus, communication is a basic human need and for that reason, man has always found a means of satisfying this need. It is believed that no human society can function effectively if there is no exchange of ideas between and among the people within the society since no man can live in isolation of others. This communication cannot be effectively achieved without the use of the media and that is while one of the functions of PRs is media relations. However, there are lots of media of communication available to public relations in achieving effective communication in an organisation.
One of the means of communication available to the PRs person or public relations unit of an organisation is through the internet particularly corporate website, email, videoconferencing, youtube, social media, radio, television, newspaper, magazine, house journal, billboard, posters, caller tune, SMS and other channels which could come inform of press release, press conference, press reception, facility visit or tour, feature writing, documentary writing, press interview/briefing speeches etc Public relations need various media to press information and enhance organisational communication. Social media becomes an issue in PRs because it offers means to reach PRs publics faster, easier and directly (University of Greenwich, 2016).
Therefore, for PRs to perform excellently and effectively, he needs to understand the various media- print, broadcast and even the new media apart from the composite media. The PRs person must also know the advantages and disadvantages of each, their characteristics and how to make use of them optimally. Thus, public relations’ media are the vehicles or channels through which the PRs practitioners can disseminate or share PRs messages of the organisation he or she represents to the public (internal and external).
However, mass media are the main media of public relations which gulp a large chunk of PRs budget of most organisations because they want their message heard (Ogbiten, 2014). It is against this background that the research examines the role of communication as a key to effective public relations practice and performance with a study of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This research has observed that in so many organizations, management neither recognize nor appreciate public relations efforts in Nigeria because the management does not realize the public relations activities in building and enhancing organisational goal for the standard of the organization. It has been observed that the management attitude is lukewarm and non-challant toward 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 this is because of the erroneous and selfish belief that public relations efforts is not beneficial to the organization.
While many organizations neither create room nor interested in knowing the feeling of both their internal and external public. Other things the research try to answer is the nature and type of communication system employed by the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.e. including the media of communication often used to share their message.
It is against this background that the research examines the role of communication as a key to effective public relations practice and performance with a study of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
1.3 Research Questions
- To what extent has PRs used communication to achieve smooth running of academic programme in OAU?
- What type of communication medium is often employed by Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
- To find out the extent at which OAU used communication in achieving smooth running of academic calendar
- To ascertain the type of communication system that are using in OAU.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The research which examines the examines the role of communication as a key to effective public relations practice and performance with a study of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife has been narrowed in scope through the case study of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife community. Since it will be very difficult if not impossible to study all organizations in Nigeria due to the time available to carry out this research, fund, materials, geographical structure of Nigeria and other considerable factors. Therefore, the concept of communication, type of communication in an organization, benefit of communication, effect of poor communication and many will be discussed.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this nature will be beneficial to large number of individuals grow is companies and future researchers.
This work when completed will help company or organization and industries to know the importance of communication in all their daily activities, how to communicate effectively and the need to get feedback from all their communication.
Future researchers will find this report useful to guide them and serve as a starting point while writing project, paper, research and other work relating to this.
Finally, the research will form part of academic work that will contribute to the existing knowledge in the field of mass communication public relations, business administration etc.
Communication students without double will gain from this piece to know what is expected of them as a communicator and public relations officer, media assistance, e.t.c in an organization, how to achieve effective communication and ways to curb crisis in an organization using various communication strategies and media.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Communication: This is a process of sharing, passing and exchange of information idea, concept, feeling etc between and among member of an organization.
Organization: This is a group of people coming together with a particular purpose or common goals such as Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Feedback: This is a terms peculiar to communication which means the ability of the receiver to send back what he/she understand (how it feels) about the message receive from the sender.
Public Relations: Is the deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understandings between an organization and its publics.