This research was on the Role of Public Relations in Crisis Management, a case study of the Etiti Ihitte-Uboma, L.G.A. of Imo State. Crisis is a necessary evil, a sine quo non. This was so because in the process to satisfy needs, people and organizations engaged in different activities and as a result crisis emerged. These crises that emerged posed a lot of problems to the society. The objective of this research was to investigate the cause of crises and examine the Roles of Public Relations in Crisis Management in Nigeria. This research used both primary and secondary sources of data collection and population of the study was 9,010 and sample size was 383 chi-square test of independence were used to test the hypotheses as survey method was an ideal for a good research like this. Included in the findings were that unemployment, land disputes, intolerance and lack of application of public relations strategies cause crises among others like improper demarcation of land boundaries, regular surveillance and tolerance among communities. The research recommends that this crises should be carried out through public relations enlightenment programmes.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Crisis emerged in the universe right from the beginning of man and has remain a reoccurring variable or decimal but not without effects.
Man’s interaction with the environment coupled with the sophistication of the present age, survival of the fittest has become a since-quo-non. Thus, people get involved in many activities with the prime objective to satisfy their basic or primary needs (psychological and safety) and secondary needs (social, esteem and self fulfillment).
In the process to achieve these need, crisis always emerge either between employee and employees and the management of an organization.
On the other hand organization and groups strive to win a bigger shame of the market as to make profit than rivals which will result in intensive. Competition and finally to crisis. Communities due to interest will engage in crisis. Crisis is a necessary evil with us.
Presently, hardly is there any day without news of crisis from our media whether religion, political or industrial crisis. Of a truth, crisis has been with us for centuries but the spate of current violent crisis in organization government and communities portent great anger and threaten the growth and stability of the mention areas and the society in general.
This situation requires appropriate measures and structures to manage properly these evil called crisis.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
From the above background, its obivious that crisis is a negative element that is highly unwelcomed. Crisis deaccelerate growth and brings instability in the polity, it bring about unhealthy competition, destruction of life and property as well as lost of life. This development is critical as foreign and domestic investors will be skeptical that theirs huge investment would be safe, fear and insecure as well as lack of trust and confidence will prevail.
Thus, for the continuity of development, the country to be guaranted, the need for public relations roles in management of crisis can not be over stated emphasized.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The nucleus objective of this research is to investigate how to manage and possibly reduce the frequency and channel crisis to a more productive activity, to promote development in the society.
Specifically the research objectives include:
i) To trace the causes of crisis
ii) To examine the previous methods that will be employed of crisis on the society.
iii) To explain why there have been unsuccessful management of crisis.
iv) To offer suggested solutions on how to handle crisis.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will benefit many co-operate organizations and government officials in crisis management as few work have been done on the subject. Also it will serves as a starting point for other researchers who will be interested in the subject of this research, it will also be beneficial to communities and public relations experts as more knowledge has been gained from the research.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The researcher has mapped out vital research questions which need to be answered as follows:
1) Does public relations strategies play a significant role in crisis management?
2) Do land disputes cause crisis among communities?
3) Do intolerance among ethnic groups cause crisis?
4) Do crisis among ethnic groups in the country discourage foreign direct investment?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to validate or investigate the research problem.
H1: Government and multinational companies in ability to create employment opportunities do not cause crisis.
H0: Government and multinationals companies in ability to create employment opportunities does not cause crisis.
H1: Crisis do discourage investment in the country.
H0: Crisis does not discourages investment in the country.
1.7 SCOPE / DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study covers, Etiti Ihitte-Uboma local government area of Imo State and specifically discuss causes of crisis and the activities of corporate organization on crisis issues and the role of public relations in crisis management.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This researcher faced some obstacles in the course of gathering data, among the barriers were that few works have been done on the subject matter. Thus, few interactive existed.
Also, the unwillingness of some respondents and government officials to provide information was another problem. Finally the financial constraints made it difficult for the researcher to reach a wider public at the time frame too short.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The meaning of key words that constitute the research problem and some key words that may be used frequently in course of this research work will be defined as sub-headings to ensure proper and easy understanding of the study.
The following salient concepts have been conceptually defined for the study.
James (1990), defined communication as the channels and visual aids against enemy or unfriendly, interception for intelligence purpose.
It is the medium through which relationship are established, extended and maintained.
Chappen et’al (1984), explained it to be army means by which a thought is transferred.
Eyre (1983), defined communication as the transferring of a message to another part so that it can be understood and acted upon.
Nwosu (1996) defined crisis as an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty. Any life can take on crisis proportion, if it is experienced as sudden intense unexpected, it is also emotionally.
Black (1991), defined crisis management as the process by which organization deals with any major unpredictable event that threatens to harm the organization, it is responding to unforeseen circumstance with no time to plan ahead.
Weihrich (1994), opted management as the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individual working together in groups efficiently accomplish selected aims through planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling.
Frank (1987), also defined public relations as the forms of planned communication outward or inward between an organization and it’s public for the purpose of achieving specific objective concerning mutual understanding.
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