Re-positioning public relations: the relevance and future of public relations in organizational management in Nairobi, Kenya
Musau, Mumbi E
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Public relations can often be seen as an extension of other organizational departments. It is subsequently forced into playing technical function roles such as publicity and marketing because of it. Professionals in the field often see the theoretical foundation for public relations as separate or nonexistent to the practical application of its duties. Furthermore, elements of organizations such as power, control, and culture inhibit the proper functioning of the public relations role. Because of this conflict, many organizations that have public relations departments are misusing the function by making it an extension of other departments or filling PR's top management with managers from other fields. This encroachment limits the public relations function, thus not enabling it to realize its full potential. This study looks at the relevance of PR in chosen organizations in Nairobi, Kenya. It is a survey to find out how PR is looked at from the Managers point of view to that of PR practitioners. The main objective is to examine whether PR in its current positioning in Kenya is relevant to organizational management. It further looks at the factors that inhibit the practice of PR, and if there is a better way of positioning PR in Kenya. This includes the challenges faced by PR practitioners, which may have arisen from the undefined role of the practitioners. Interviews were carried out personally by the researcher, with formulated questions that acted as an interview guide. These questionnaires were in two sets; for CEOs and PROs. The CEOs helped to determine how relevant their PR department is in the running of the company. The PROs gave an outline of their roles and responsibilities in the corporate organizations where they are based. This was an overview of determining how PR is positioned in these corporate organizations. The questionnaire also sought to find out the challenges faced by the PROs in their daily activities and whether the training they got prepared them for the same. The organizations that were studied include: the banking sector, manufacturing industries, media houses, PR consultancies, NGOs and colleges. The findings are that PR is an essential department in the running of the organizations that were surveyed, although there was a general complaint on the issue of recognition in business strategies.