The Public Relations as a Management Function and the Challenges to Effective Internal Public Relations at the Kerio Valley Development Authority in Kenya

Stellah I. Onyiengo


The role of public relations in any organization is to identify the key publics, both internal and external, with whom the organization must operate effectively, and alongside this, to strategically develop and maintain a relationship with these publics for the benefit of both the organization and the identified publics. A typical organization like KVDA is faced with a myriad of critical publics with whom it must communicate effectively. It must be sensitive to their needs and concerns, communicating with each other in a timely and effective manner. While management must always speak with one voice, its inflection, its delivery and its emphasis should be sensitive to each public. The study focused on the internal publics of KVDA because it has been observed that unless the internal publics have a favourable image of the organization, the external publics cannot be expected to be in favour of the organization. Specifically, the study sought to establish whether or not the public relations office at the KVDA is considered a function of management and ascertain some of the challenges faced by the PR as well as suggest ways of overcoming those problems. Data was collected through use of questionnaires and which were administered on the non-management employees of KVDA. Face-to-face interviews were used to collect data from management staff of KVDA. The above methods of data collection were supplemented by use of document review and observation schedule. The total number of employees at KVDA was 660; participants for the study were drawn from six departments in KVDA. Stratified random sampling was used to select respondents for the study. A total of 150 respondents were selected. Qualitative data was analyzed through the use of content analysis. Quantitative data was analyzed through use of SPSS-WINDOWS 7 computer program. From the study findings, the public relations office at KVDA is not considered a management function at the KVDA and this has contributed to the poor internal Public relations. This means that if the management starts including the PRO in all its meetings and allowing the PR practitioner to be involved in decision-making there will be an improvement in the internal Public relations of the organization. The problems that the PR office is facing have contributed to the poor internal public relations. If the problems are solved then the public relations office will be more active and this will lead to improved Internal PR. The management should recognize the important role that the public relations office plays in creating good internal PR and include the PRO in all decision-making meetings in the organization.

Keywords: Public Relations, Management Function, Challenges, Effective Internal Public Relations, Kerio Valley Development Authority, Kenya

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