ABSTRACT: The thrust of this study was to ascertain the role of public relations in building corporate image of the Nigeria Army especially on issues that surrounds Boko-Haram insurgency, Niger Delta militants and Fulani herdsmen among others. The Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) has remained a powerful mouth piece of the Nigeria Army in building and maintaining good image of the Nigeria Army. Model of Public Relations by Grunig and Hunt and Technological Determinism Theory were adopted to justify the position of this research. Survey research method was adopted with questionnaire as data collection instrument to elicit responses from the Nigeria Army particularly those at the PRs unit in Lagos state cantonment, Ikeja. One hundred (100) respondents were picked from the various departments of the Nigeria Army particularly PRs unit using purposive sampling method while out of 100 copies of questionnaire administered; ninety (90) copies were retrieved and analysed using frequency and percentage table method. Findings show that the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) know its onion by updating Nigerians and outside world on various successes and challenges facing the Nigeria Army. It is recommended that the PRs unit should be more conscious in dealing with the media to afford given sensitive information to the members of the press who are always on their neck to break news while social media platform must be used carefully to prevent fear and panic among other things.
1.1 Background to the Study
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, experiences, etc between and among the people within the society since no man can live in isolation of others.
It is through the communication that facts, opinions, ideas, knowledge are shared, it is through the information that people get enlightened, informed and educated. Imagine a life without information, the society will be in total darkness because information is a light that illuminate darkness because “A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice…” (Radcliffe, n.d).
Communication and information are veritable ingredients in our society, from family, school, group, small organisation to a very complex institution like the Nigeria Army that carters for many publics. So from time to time, there will be a need for communication either in the horizontal or vertical directions. There must just be communication which could take the form of recruitment announcement, promotion, military success, military attack etc which could emanated from any of the followings place, Department of Army Administration, Department of Army Policy and Plans, Department of Army Logistics, Department of Civil Military Affairs, Army Transformation and Innovation Centre, Department of Army Training and Welfare Limited/Guarantee. However, Directorate of Army Public Relations is responsible for most of this communication and information.
Thus, British Institute of Public Relations defines public relations as a deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. Arowosegbe, (2005) cited 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 every society, organisation whether profit or non-profit, whether governmental or non-governmental organisation. In fact, everyone who has things doing in the public domain must employ the service of Public relations. No wonder, Nigeria Police, Air-force, Navy, Army, Civil Defence among other cannot do without Public relations not only to build image but to offer the first hand information to the concerned people rather than allowing people or press to guess, insinuate and cook unpalatable information to the publics. The focus of this paper dwells on the role of PRs which in the Nigeria Army language is called the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) in building and enhancing the image of the Nigeria Army.
Corporate image, or reputation, describes the manner in which a company, its activities, and its products or services are perceived by outsiders. In a competitive business climate, many businesses actively work to create and communicate a positive image to their customers, shareholders, the financial community, and the general public. A company that mismanages or ignores its image is likely to encounter a variety of problems. Reputation problems grow like weeds in a garden (Davis, 2014).
Dominique (2002) says the concept of Corporate Image draws the company’s attention to the way in which it is perceived in the market. The market as mentioned contains the company itself. Of course, the companies are chiefly interested in what image their most important audience have of them. No matter how much or how well the company seeks to influence this, its image on the market usually never corresponds with the ideal as the managers wants it to be and as the employees perceive it.
It should be recalled that the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) was established in 1962 to keep the Nigerian contingent in the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Congo abreast with happenings back home. It was also to inform Nigerians at home on the performance of the Nigerian contingent in the operation area. DAPR has developed and expanded in terms of manpower, roles and responsibilities. It is charged with the short and long term building and management of good corporate image for the NA and sustenance of cordial relationship between the NA and the public (Nigeria Army, 2017).
DAPR has the role of advising commanders on the proactive ways of shaping policies and operations to gain public acceptance and support. As the mouthpiece of the NA, DAPR interprets and explains NA roles, policies, activities and accomplishments to the public. During war, conflicts, exercises or operations DAPR conducts information management to keep the public abreast and also undertake activities to motivate troops for attainment of overall NA’s mission. Avenues used by DAPR to achieve its tasks include publications, production of documentaries, media relations, radio and television broadcasts. DAPR is headed by the Director of Army Public Relations (Nigeria Army, 2017).
It is against this background that the research examines the role of the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) in building and enhancing the image of the Nigeria Army in the recent time.
1.2 Problem Statement
This research has observed that in so many organizations, management neither recognizes nor appreciate public relations efforts in building and projecting corporate image and good reputation in Nigeria. It has also been observed that the management’s attitude is lukewarm and non-challant towards public relations department and its 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 corporate image of organization. Whereas the publics of an organisation remain a power, bedrock of every successful organization which a serious institution must never toy with.
The instability in our political and economic environment creates problems of insecurity and uncertainty. With such degree of uncertainty coupled with its attendant problems such as Terrorism, Fulani Herdsmen, Niger Delta Militant among others has warranted the military to update the citizens on the state of security and various efforts of the troop to sustain peace making the job of PRs a necessity otherwise the public with be left to guess and this could lead to propaganda.
Also, little or no research have been conducted in Nigeria on the role of the PRs in building the image of the Nigeria Army especially at the time of controversial issues, wars and other crisis time while the few that were conducted were dated 2001 which is about 16 years ago meaning that it may not be able to fit the current challenges facing the Nigeria Army. It is against this backdrop that the research examines the role of public relations in building corporate image of the Nigerian Army with a particular focus on the Military base in Ikeja Cantonment.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study is primarily to do the following.
- To examine the role of public relations in building corporate image for organization in
- To examine the effects of crisis and depressed economy on the corporate existence of the Nigerian Army.
1.4 Research Questions
- Does public relations have any role to play in corporate image of an organization in Nigeria?
- Does crisis has effect on the corporate image of Nigerian Army?
1.5 Scope of Study
This research titled “the role of public relations in building corporate image” has been limited in scope to The Nigerian Army, Lagos Military Base, Ikeja due to lack of fund, limited time available for this study, geographical structure of Nigeria and other considerable factors.
However, this cannot be effectively studied without considering the demographic factors of the staffs of Nigerian Army and Nigerian public who will in turn respond to the questionnaires of this study. Therefore, experience, educational background, professional training, age, sex e. t. c must also be considered before the distribution of research instrument.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study which focuses on the role of Public relations in enhancing corporate image of the Nigerian Army will offer immense benefits to the Army PRs.
To this end, for the Nigerian Army to perform well in its role to the nation, it must be accepted by the people who established and found it . unlike other studies before, this work is unique in that it explores or investigates why the Nigeria Army PR irrespective of its relatively of age, has not achieved most of the aims of its establishment.
Instead of research will make a break though in the area of army public relations which will help Army in general to identify the barriers of distrust and misunderstanding which cast on it a negative image in its attention to execute its duties.
The findings and recommendations will serve as reference points for contemporary Nigerian army PR practitioners and will help the Army in general in its campaign for professionalism.
In addition, this research work tries to provide satisfactory answers to some questions that are disturbing the mind of policy formulators, students and researchers best practice among PRs to build good image for new firm and existing ones.
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.
It will also serve as reference materials for future researchers who may want to expand or explore on study relating to this work.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Public Relations: This is a department or unit of Nigerian Army saddled with the responsibility of maintaining mutual understanding between management, staff and publics of Nigerian Army and enhance good corporate image
Building: This involves developing and establishing confidence or trust among the publics.
Corporate Image: Corporate image refers to the overall reputation of an organization as determined by the various pictures, impression, knowledge, information and perceptions that the publics of that organizations have about it.
“ROLE OF PRs IN ENHANCING CORPORATE IMAGE OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY“
WHAT TO EXPECT: (Chapter 1-5, Abstract, Table of Contents, Questionnaire and References)