LEVEL OF PROFESSIONALISM OF PR PRACTITIONERS IN NAIROBI
The level of professionalism of Public Relations practitioners is a crosscutting issue of global concern. Professionalization of PR assumes that PR is an emerging profession. While the field of Public Relations has steadily progressed, champions of PR profession have done little to nurture a common understanding and utility of a profession called Public Relations.
Public Relations is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. PR provides an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that don’t require direct payment.
The aim is often to persuade the public , investors, partners, employees and other stakeholders to maintain a certain point of view about the company, its leadership products or of political decisions. Common activities include:
❖ Speaking at conferences
❖ Winning industry awards
❖ Employee relations, corporate and
❖ Crisis communication
❖ Networking communication
❖ Management counseling
Ivy Lee in early 1900s along with Edward Louis Berney defined PR as a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures, and interests of an organization followed by executing a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) claimed in 1988 “Public Relations help an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” According to PRSA, the essential functions of PR include research, planning, communication, dialogue and evaluation.
Building and managing relationships with those who influence an organization or an individual’s important audiences has a central role in doing PR.
An earlier definition of PR by the first World Assembly of Public Relations Associations , held in Mexico City, in August 1978, was “the art and social science of analyzing, predicting their consequences, counseling organizations leaders and implementing planned programs of action, will serve both the organization and the public interest.
A professional refers to a person with advanced education and training in a specific recognized profession or merely a member of a profession.
Professionalism therefore refers to the adherence to professional behavior.
However for the purposes of this research I will take a sociological approach to understanding professionalism as an occupation characterized by altruism, self-governance, esoteric knowledge, special skills, and ethical behavior among others.
The level of professionalism of PR practitioners is very important because it influence decision making in society on a daily basis. PR professionals like any other professionals often have a lot of power in decision making processes, both in public and private organizations. Therefore the potential of PR professionals (practitioners) is limitless.
An organization is more likely to succeed if it is trusted and in PR credibility is vital. Not only must it be believable but it must be true. Public Relations is about understanding and that leads to goodwill and reputation which depend on faith.
Deny Griswold (Cited in Reilly1981) states that PR is a function generally recognized in just about every area of human activity, business, religion, education, government and social and civic welfare. For that reason PR is a process intended to...