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Volume :8 Issue : 31 1982      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

“PUBLIC RELATION FUNCTION: THEORY AND PRACTICE A FIELD STUDY IN KUWAITI BUSINESS SECTORS”

Auther : By: Dr. Zaki M. Hashem

The purpose of this paper is to present an analytical demonstration of the dimensions, techniques and practical problems of public relation (PR) function in Kuwaiti business sectors and to offer guidelines to increase the effectiveness of this function as an essential approach to rationalize decision-making process in business organizations.

The information employed is obtained from replies to a specific questionnaire designed for this purpose and distributed to the research sample, which contains 74 organizations in the several business sectors. Besides, several top executives of the surveyed organizations were submitted to lengthy and detailed interviews concerning their experience.

The study indicates the lack of awareness of Public Relation role and objectives. Public Relation is not well understood or appreciated inmost of the surveyed organizations. Most people do not know exactly what Public Relation is. A great number of people think that Public Relation is public affairs, publicity, consumer functions or product promotion; overlooking the real concept of PR as a function of management. Many organizations have a wrong belief that PR is to present the most persuative possible selling message to the right prospects for product of service. This as advertising role which differs completely from Public Relations role of informing and educating to create mutual understanding through knowledge. Besides, top managers do not give adequate support and understand to PR activity. They do not provide the organizational requirements, staff and funds necessary for good practice of PR function. Overlap can be easily noticed between the activities of PR departments and that of other departments. Most of PR practitioners lack the necessary education, experience, training and other attributes required for good practice of Public Relation function. Less concern is given to PR practice as a deliberate and planned effort that should be based on scientific research. This implies that PR activities in many organizations are operated haphazardly and purposelessly. The majority of the surveyed organizations do not use scientific methods and techniques in carrying our Public Relation activities. Less concern is given to public opinion attitude surveyed and evaluation of PR activity and programs.

Given the above findings, the study has reached a number of recommendations that may contribute in developing PR function. The establishment of a Public Relation Association is highly recommended aiming at developing awareness of PR function as an informative activity based on scientific approach in research, diagnosis and planning. The proposed Association has to prepare and publish researches and studies related to PR sphere and develop the professional level of PR practitioners through extensive training and development efforts. Also it has to help PR practitioners to broaden their knowledge, interests and perspectives by exposing them to numerous experiences and viewpoints through local and international seminars and conferences. Moreover, the Association should advise organizations on Public Relation problems, solutions and techniques. All Kuwaiti business sectors should participate in the proposed Association. A code of practice and conduct for the Association should be established.

When an organization is engaged in a great deal of Public Relation activity it may be necessary to handle it through an internal PR unit. This unit should have definite activities and skilled specialist staff. Since PR concerns the total organization, and since PR has become and arm of management that should participate fully in decisions and activities involving the organization’s future, PR unit should belong organizationally to top management level who is responsible for providing the organizational and administrative facilities necessary for good practice of PR activities. Besides, the use of more scientific approaches, systems and techniques of PR planning and evaluation and evaluation is highly recommended. Emphasis should be given to extend further the time dimension of PR planning and to integrate PR plans with the corporate planning process in the organization. Finally, a good use of communication media and techniques, outwards and inwards, between the organization and its publics is necessary for the purpose of achieving mutual understanding, taking into consideration that sound PR begins at home within the organizational structure itself.

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May 18, 2017

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