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Evaluation of Crisis Management Strategies in Selected Universities in South-East Nigeria

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Evaluation of Crisis Management Strategies in Selected Universities in South-East Nigeria.

ABSTRACT

This study sought to evaluate the crisis management strategies used by the Public Relations departments of Nigerian universities in handling crisis situations and also the effectiveness of these strategies. These objectives were born out of the prevalence of crisis in Nigerian universities which has become an issue of concern.

The study was anchored on one theory (Human Relations Theory of Management) and one model (Public Relations Transfer Process Model). In meeting the research objectives, the study adopted the explanatory mixed method. The purposive and proportionate stratified sampling techniques were used in selecting the sample for the study.

A sample size of 399 was used for the questionnaire while a sample size of 20 was used for the in-depth interview. The study was divided into two phases.

Whereas data for the first phase were collected through questionnaire from undergraduate students and staff of selected Nigerian universities in the South-East (ABSU, EBSU, IMSU, NAU and UNN), data for the second phase were collected through in-depth interview with the PROs, ASUU and SSANU chairmen and SUG presidents of these universities.

Data obtained were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Data obtained through questionnaire were analyzed using frequency tables, percentages and ANOVA while data obtained through interview were analyzed qualitatively.

It was found that the Public Relations departments adopt good strategies such as communicating to staff and students and involving staff and students in management decision making.

Yet, further finding revealed that these strategies have not helped in reducing the rate of crisis in universities, based on the fact that these strategies are not often used.

Other factors that hinder the effectiveness of these strategies were revealed to be inability of the management to accord Public Relations its rightful position, inadequate fund and staff to carry out PR functions.

It is based on these findings that the study recommends that the strategies such as prompt listening and response to the needs and welfare of staff and students, participatory communication and involvement of staff and students in decision making should be strictly adopted and adhered to by the management and PROs of universities.

The study further recommends that the management should accord great importance to Public Relations by recognizing it at the top management level.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page .. ….. i
Certification .. .. …. .. .. ii
Dedication … … … … … … iii
Acknowledgements … … … … … iv
Table of Contents … …… vi
List of Tables … … … … xi
List of Figures … … … xiii
Abstract … … … … … xiv

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study … .. .. .. .. .. .. 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem … .. .. .. .. .. .. 6
1.3 Objectives of the Study … .. .. .. .. .. 7
1.4 Research Questions … … .. .. .. .. .. … 7
1.5 Significance of the Study … .. .. .. .. .. .. 8
1.6 Scope of the Study … .. .. .. .. .. … 9
1.7 Definition of Key Terms … .. .. .. .. .. .. 9
References … .. .. .. .. .. 11

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Focus of the Review … .. .. .. .. .. 12
2.2 Conceptual Review … .. .. .. .. .. … 13
2.2.1 Definition and Meaning of Public Relations … 13
2.2.2 Public Relations as management function … … … … … 16
2.2.3 The concept of crisis … … … … … … … 21
2.2.4 Conventional Crisis Management Plans or Strategies … .. .. 29
2.2.5 History of students’ crisis in Nigerian Universities … … … 31
2.2.6 Staff Unions and University Administration … … … 36
2.2.7 Public Relations in crisis management … … … … … 38
2.3 Empirical Review … … … … … … … … 43
2.4 Theoretical Framework … … … … … … … 52
2.4.1 Human Relations Theory of Management … … … … … 52
2.4.2 Public Relations Transfer Process Model … … … … … 56
References … .. .. .. .. .. 58

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY

3.1 Research Design … … … .. .. .. .. .. 62
3.2 Population of Study … … … … … … … … 63
3.3 Sample Size … … … … … … … … 64
3.4 Sampling Technique … … … … … … … … 65
3.5 Measuring Instruments … … … … … … … 67
3.6 Method of Administering Instruments … … … … … 68
3.7 Validity of Instruments … … … … … … … 69
3.8 Reliability of Instruments … … … … … … … 69
3.9 Method of Data Presentation and Analysis … … … … … 71
References … … … … … … … … … … 72

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

4.1 Quantitative Analysis … … … … … … … … 73
4.1.1. Demographic Data … … … … … … … 74
4.1.2. Psychographic Data … … … … … … … 77
4.1.3. Research Question One: What type of crisis is most common in Nigerian Universities? … … 77
4.1.4 Research Question Two: What have been the causes of these crises and how often do they occur? 83
4.1.5 Research Question Three: What are the various strategies used by the Public Relations units of Nigerian universities? … … … 88
4.1.6. Research Question Four: How effective are these strategies used in ameliorating crises in universities? … 90
4.1.7. Research Question Five: What control measures could be used to handle future crises in Nigerian Universities? 93
4.2: Qualitative Analysis … … … … … … … 99
Part 1: Analysis of data obtained from the Public Relations Officers of selected universities … 99
4.2.1. Research Question 1: What type of crises are most common in Nigerian Universities? …… 99
4.2.2. Research Question 2: What have been the causes of these crises, and how often do they occur? …102
4.2.3. Research Question 3: What are the various strategies used by the Public Relations Units of Nigerian Universities in managing crises? … 105
4.2.4. Research Question 4: How effective are these strategies in ameliorating crises in the university system? 108
4.2.5. Research Question 5: What control measures could be used to handle future crises in Nigerian Universities?  110
Part 2: Analysis of Data obtained from selected universities ASUU Chairmen 112
4.2.6. Research Question 1: What type of crises are most common in Nigerian Universities? … 112
4.2.7. Research Question 2: What are the causes of these crises, and how often do they occur? …… 113
4.2.8. Research Question 4: How effective are these strategies used in ameliorating crises in the university system? …  115
4.2.9. Research Question 5: What control measures could be used to handle future crises in Nigerian Universities? 117
Part 3: Analysis of responses obtained from SSANU chairmen of selected  Universities …… 118
4.2.10. Research Question 1: What types of crises are most common in Nigerian universities? … 118
4.2.11. Research Question 2: What have been the causes of these crises and how often do they occur? 120
4.2.12. Research Question 4: How effective are these strategies used in ameliorating crises in the university system?  121
4.2.13. Research Question 5: What control measures could be used to handle future crises in Nigerian Universities? 123
Part 4: Analysis of responses obtained from SUG presidents of the selected Universities … … 124
4.2.14. Research Question 1: What type of crisis is most common in Nigerian universities? … … 124
4.2.15. Research Question 2: What are the causes of these crises and how often do they occur? …  126
4.2.16. Research Question 4: How effective are these strategies used in ameliorating crises in the university system? … … … 128
4.2.17. Research Question 5: What control measures could be used to handle future crises in Nigerian Universities?130
4.3 Discussion of Findings … … … … … … … 132
4.3.1: Research Question One: What type of crisis is most common in Nigerian universities? … … 132
4.3.2: Research Question Two: What have been the causes of theses crises and how often do they occur? … … 133
4.3.2: Research Question Three: What are the various strategies used by
the Public Relations units Nigerian universities in managing crises? 136
4.3.4: Research Question Four: How effective are these strategies used in ameliorating crises? … 137
4.3.5: Research Question Five: What control measures could be used to handle future crises in Nigerian Universities? … … … 139
4.4 Limitations of the Study … … … … … … … 141
References … … … … … … … … … 143

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Summary … … … … … … … … … 144
5.2 Conclusion … … … … … … … … … 146
5.3 Recommendations … … … … … … … … 148
References … … … … … … … … … 152
BIBIOGRAPHY … … … … … … … … 153

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

Crisis as an inevitable phenomenon in every organisation always emerges between organisations and their stakeholders. It connotes an event, issue or occurrence that violates  the natural order of things and produces a destructive force or threat to the organization.

Though crises exist in various sectors, the rate at which they arise in the Nigerian university system is alarming, resulting in disruption of academic programmes.

An instance was the protest led by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and its sister unions at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) on January 6, 2014, which disrupted academic activities as both campuses at Nsukka and Enugu remained closed at the beginning of the 2013/2014 academic session, (Nigerian Newsworld Magazine, Jan 2014).

The goal of university education is pursued through its main functions and activities of teaching, research, dissemination of existing and new information, service to the community, and being a storehouse of knowledge (FRN, 1981).

In carrying out these functions, there are always conflicts within and among the categories of people within the university community, namely students, academics, administrators, non-academics and their unions. These categories of people have different purposes and expectations from the university.

The non- academics who perform support- functions might feel unappreciated by both the superior academics and the potentially more prestigious students.

The administrators might also clash with students and staff in carrying out their functions of recruitment, admission, examination and provision of welfare services for the staff and students.

REFERENCES

Adeyemi,T.O. (2009). Causes, Consequences and Control of Students’ crisis in Public and private Universitiesin Nigeria in Journal of Educational Research and Review, Vol.4(4).pp156-163. ISSN: 1999 -3839.
Anyim, J.N. (2010). Public Relations and Crisis Management: A study of UNN Students’ Protest of January 16, 2010. (Unpublished Project Work). Dept of Mass Comm. University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Ayodele, J.B & Adewumi, J.O. (2007). The Incidence and management of conflicts  in secular and non-Secular tertiary institution in South West Nigeria in Journal of Educational Research Review vol.2(5).pp 096-102. ISSN 1990-3839.
Ezemezie, J.A. (2011). The Role of Public Relations in An Organization. A study of Zenith Bank PLC. (Unpublished Project Work). Dept of Mass Comm. University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Odiagbe, S.A (2012). Industrial Conflict in Nigerian universities: A  case  study  of the dispute between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government (FGN). Unpublished                                       PhD  Thesis. Retrieved on    3/20/2014    3:19PM From http/://theses.gla.ac.uk/3333/

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