TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
1.1. Background of Study
1.2. The Objectives of Arik Airlines
1.3. Statement of Problem
1.4. Purpose of Study
1.5. Research Questions
1.6. Significance of Study
1.7. Scope and Limitations of Study
1.8. Definition of Terms
- Literature Review
2.1.The Origin and Concept of Public Relations
2.2. The Place of Public Relation in an Organizations
2.3. Corporate Publics
2.4. Corporate Image
2.5. Public Relations Environment in Nigeria
2.6. Social Responsibility
2.7. Public Relations Practitioner
2.8. Public Relations Media
- Research Design and Methodology
3.2. Sample Size
3.3. Sources of Data
3.4. Data Collection
3.4.2. Classes of Respondents
4.1. Data Analysis
The basic philosophy underlying public relations practice is that people matters and that the support of public opinion is of prime importance in all spheres of activity. This study therefore critically evaluated the role public relations have been playing in Arik Airline in view of unprecedented public dissatisfaction and criticism of the services of the airline in recent times. It is therefore a sustained and a continuous effort to maintain good relationship between the organization and it publics through a good character and responsible performance based upon a mutually satisfactory two-ways communication thus the research stresses the need and the impact of public relations in enhancing credibility and goodwill of Arik Airlines. The findings reveals that the airline need to improve its level of service through good and effective public relation and adequate information it wills to satisfy customers and build confidence in them.
Public Relations is a concept that has gained popular recognition in every language of private and institutional behavior. It is also a matter of fact that its existence, its practice and effect are more closely associated in the untutored minds, with the private corporations than the government parastatals.
At best, its practice and importance are recognized more as a useful executive tool of corporate image promotion. That is why those that practice public relations invest a large sum of money in it bearing mind its resultant effect which is public support.
We can therefore see public relation as a methodical attempt to promote all the corporations activities and interest in every way possible. The fundamental purpose of public relation practice is to establish a two – way flow of mutual understanding based on truth, knowledge and full information.
This explanation shows that a parastatal like Arik Airline which embodies employees, stockholders, customers, media, financial institutions, shareholders and community to mention but a few, needs the Public Relations Practitioners to tell their various publics about the activities of the institution.
In today’s complex business environment and with the proliferation of the internal and external organs of information, companies must make maximum use of their and external tools. If for example, the public relations function that is more popularly termed corporate communications is pigeon holed in an organization, the contribution it can make to the organizations overall performance will at best be minimal. However, if the public relations functions are set intelligently and creatively, it can touch every phase of a company’s operation and make both desired and needed contributions.
Moreover, public relations by and large is at cross roads with respect to moving into the strategic level of decisions making, partly as a result of growing public scrutiny and accountability, top management in these organizations such as Arik Airline are fast recognizing the need for public relations to report in at the strategic level. The contributions public relations can make to an organization seem almost endless.
It is therefore imperative that good public relations practice is an effective tool of corporate image. The attitude of the public towards an organization will determine its credibility. These attitudes could be positive or negative depending on how the organization earns the reputation or image to deserve.
David K. Berlo (1960) opines in his communication process that image is the mental picture a communicator carries about his receiver based on expectation. He further explained that the communicator anticipates the possible responsive of his receiver and tries to predict them ahead of time. This image affects his own message.
The image of an organization depends on the company’s behavior and financial performance, it’s marketing policies, the standard of its personnel relations and its design management. The protection of the organizational image is the public relations practitioners’ responsibility and he should also be the conscience of the organization in every aspect in which the activities impinge on public opinion or welfare.
George Flanaga (1985) stated that if an individual’s contacts and experience with a corporation are extensive; his personal image of the corporation is likely to be strong positive and relatively stable. If the individual’s familiarity with corporation is slight as is most often the case, the image will probably be weak and unstable.
From this background therefore, we can summarize that image is a correct impression, not favourable but correct. A public relations image results from a correct impression.
A basic assumption here is that for an organization to thrive, the goodwill of the people is paramount and if this goodwill is deficient or defaced, adverse consequences may arise to pose a threat to the existence of the organization. Every organization should therefore see itself as existing primarily to serve the needs of the people or society. It is therefore imperative that good public relations should enhance credibility and goodwill of any organization. The attitude of the public towards an organization will determine its creditability.
The credibility of an organization depends solely on it’s goodwill and it is therefore important that an organization should not only identify the audience that matters but to handle public relations on a continuous and planned basis so that a good reputations can be built.
It is essential that all the public relation activities of an organization are within the framework of an agreed and understood corporate personality. This project also emphasizes the fact that no individual or organization can operate successfully in an atmosphere of public antagonism.
A public relations man could for instance, advice against the introduction of a management policy that has the potential of stirring public disaster just as he could bring the public to appreciate good management policies and actions.
- Background of the Study
Arik Airway is a wholly owned Nigerian airline with a commitment to the people of Nigeria to deliver new standards in aviation. We are founded in 2002 as the vision of Sir Arumemi Ikhide, a leading and well respected Nigerian businessman who understood that if business was to succeed, there needed to be efficiency and quality to service. He has spent many years travelling throughout Nigeria without the satisfaction of knowing that he could depend on the existing choice of air transport services available to him. He also recognized the importance of healthy market competition in achieving efficiency.
A plan of change was soon set in motion. In 2004, Arik Air is incorporated with the goal of becoming an airline that Nigeria and the rest of the world would be proud to fly and in April, 2006, Arik Air takes over the former Nigeria Airways limited facility in Lagos and major reconstruction work begins to transform it into a modern office complex and also in October 10, 2006, Arik Air’s new headquarters and maintenance facility are inaugurated by former president Olusegun Obasanjo represented by the then Aviation Minister, Professor Babalola Aborishade, following the completion of successful proving flights, Arik Air welcomes passengers on board brand new Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft, the first new commercial aircraft to operate in Nigeria for over 20 years. In February 2010, Arik Air’s Chairman, Sir J. I. A. Arumemi-Ikhide honored at the 15th Annual This Day Award 2010 as one of the 50 most distinguished Nigeria, for his commitment to launch and build Arik Air. The Airline also receives the prestigious Nigeria Airline of the year Award for the third successive year.
- The Objective of Arik Airline
The objective of the airline as a national carrier is to operate schedules and chartered transportation service for the carriage of passengers, cargo, mails and any other related business in the most reliable, efficient manner on both domestic and international routes. Apart from its commercial objectives, the company also has social, defense security and political responsibilities to the government and the people of Nigeria as the nation’s carrier. For example, the airline should give back – up services to the military authorities as a transportation auxiliary in a period of national emergency, such as war. In other words, the airline as a rule is different from other commercial airlines since it must perform government functions without profit when directed to do so by the authorities for these reasons, Arik Airline is duty bound to operate to all airports in the country whether it is commercially viable or not.
In society where communication is poor, Arik Airline is used by government as an effective instrument to bridge the communication gap by transporting people, goods and mails through the length and breadth of the country.
This is a great social and economic responsibility to the nation, owing to these reasons; the federal government offers its protection to the Airline through diplomatic channels in international traffic negotiations and guarantees the airline to secure local and foreign loans to purchase aircraft and equipment.
- Statement of Problem
it is a well known fact that good management administration cannot exist without good relationship and it can only exist where management appreciate that public relations is heart and core of management yet more establishment of public relations department does not necessarily means realization of good image vis a vis good administration.
Rather therefore, effective and efficient public relations in any establishment can only be acknowledged and recognized by examining the public relation impact in such organization. This is understandable because the main concern of our travelers is to move from one destination to another in the safest and fastest possible time.
Despite the attainment of international recognition and standard, the Nigeria public has had much to complain about in both the efficiency and public relations of the Arik Airline.
Thus, this researcher sets out to find what type of public image has this corporation.
Consequently, the problems of financial constraints, differing regulatory philosophies of policies laid down by the government, negative attitude of employees to the public, flight delays cancellations, poor service conditions and generally rising cost of goods and services have recently created the need for a new approach to the business of public relation in the organization.
Hence, this project is conducted in view of the following can any government owned organization such as Arik Airline without a good image operates profitably in a competitive environment?
Is goodwill really necessary in Arik Airline since it enjoys government support?
In what ways has a public relations enhance credibility of Arik Airline.
- Purpose of the Study
To determine the extent to which public relations enhances credibility and goodwill of an organization.
To relate the effectiveness of public relations programmes of the airline to creating awareness and understanding among the various publics.
To analyze the major problems of the organization and its effects on corporate image.
To determine if the practice of public relations. In enhancing credibility in the organization needs professional standards.
To justify the need for effective public relations as boost for goodwill and having satisfied customers.
To determine the effects of public relations in government parastatals as it relates the Arik Airline.
- Research Questions
- Can any government such as Arik Airline without a good image operate profitably in a competitive environment?
- Does public relations programmes in Arik Airline help in promoting the image of the organization to its various publics?
- What relevance has public goodwill in the quality of service and level of patronage of the national carrier?
- Has public relations practiced does much towards improving internal and external communication Arik Airline?
- Is goodwill necessary in Arik Airline since it enjoys government support?
- Significance of Study
The need to measure, evaluate and interprete the impact of public relations in Arik Airline is of great importance not only to academics but to a great number on Nigerians, most of whom are fed up wsith the inconsistencies and unreliability of their national airline despite huge investment of their hard earned money. Therefore, the importance of a study of this nature on an organization that has social, political, economic, academic and even international significance directly or indirectly on every Nigeria cannot be over emphasized.
Firstly, an efficient and reliable airline that has the confidence of its Nigeria patrons and customs and would be a catalyst to the economic development of the country because of the emphasis modern technology has on fast mobility of main and materials.
Secondly, efficient and reliable air transportation in any nations is the foremost public relations and publicity agent for the country flying the national flag to all part of the world. It is in the light of this that this study is conducted to ascertain if public relations can cope effectively with these demands through its functions.
- Scope and Limitation of Study
This study covered one organization only Arik Airline. The organization was chosen because of its background and its image problem which is the core of this study.
The organization was also chosen because it will provide a convenient sample in view of staff capacity and its large publics who have negative attitude towards it.
This study however was carried out without much problem though it took me through financial mire.
Again, Airline staffs were reluctant as public officers to release information. In some places, they resorted to giving half truth and near lies which made me cut corners in order to get at needed facts, this was disheartening. In order to anchor the research very well, I had to travel to Lagos in order to obtain a fair average questionnaire were distributed in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja and Ibadan, this running around was not without its financial cost.
Also, the inconsistencies in the academic calendar posed a problem because the calendar was short and I had to cope up with my studies which wanted to bring hindrances in the research.
- Definition of Terms
The following are the operation of terms used in this study.
Public Relations: Public relations have been given many definitions by various organizations and individuals. Public relation could be seen as deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public.
Public: John Marton (1963) opined that a public may be said to exist whenever a group of people is drawn together by definite opinions upon matters within those area.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines Public to be connected with ordinary people in society in general and the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defined Public as a group in society considered for its interest in a particular person activity.
Public is divided into two major entities, the internal and external publics. The publics of Arik Airlines are the staff, the passengers, community, suppliers, competitors and government.
Image: Psychologists define image as a sensual thing perceived as an entity or a coherent whole which does not necessarily have something to do with the reality of the situation. Marton (1963) opined that by corporate image then, we mean that the public have in their heads about companies and corporations.
Credibility: This is the extent which the public perceives or believes an organization. Howards Stephenson defines credibility as the favourable influences that go to make up the image on the product quality side.
Goodwill: This is the intangible asset or established customs on popularity of any business or trade of ten appearing as one of its assets, with a remarkable money value. This was opined by Martins Aliede.
Attitude: This could be defined as individual’s feelings about people, objects, event or activities. The Longman Dictionary defined it as a manner of feeling and behaving.
Airline: This is a business that runs a regular service for carrying passengers and goods by air.
Organization: This could be defined as a group with a special purpose coming together as one to operate a business venture.
Arik Airline: Is a national carrier scheduled to operate chartered flights, goods and carrying passengers by air.
Impact: it means effects, efforts, results ore desire, consequences of an application the role it could also be seen as strong impression.
Government: Is the body of persons authorized to administer the laws or to govern a state.
Case Study: The point at which investigation begins.
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