THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RELATION AS A CORPORATE TOOL FOR CHANGE MANAGEMENT IN ORGANIZATIONS: A STUDY OF FIDELITY BANK PLC

THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RELATION AS A CORPORATE TOOL FOR CHANGE MANAGEMENT IN ORGANIZATIONS: A STUDY OF FIDELITY BANK PLC

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the Study

From the beginning of the 20th century, our world has witnessed tremendous and dramatic changes and advancement in all factors of human endeavour. The society is dynamic and has been undergoing development in technology, managerial capabilities, social advancement and legal revolution which impact directly on the economic, physical and spiritual well being and the way of life of the generality of the people (Boddy, 2008),

Change is inevitable in a dynamic and highly competitive environment where we find ourselves. As often said, nothing is permanent in life except change, individuals and organizations alike must device ways of introducing, managing and coping with change. According to Connor, 2005, Allen, 2001, Jick, 1991, Kotler, 1996. Changes in the banking sector ranges from new policies, new technologies, merging banks, acquisition of banks, institutionalized system of operations, market capitalization to electronic/ Internet banking. The speed with which trade and industry experience change in new products and innovations is unimaginable. This demands increase in capacity and capability to manage these changes. (Robbins and Judge, 2007).

Fidelity Bank Plc today operates under an ever changing environment which necessitate an increasing demand for change management. The environment rapidly changes due to globalization, strong competition, technical development and a customer driven market (Senior and Flemming, 2006). This high face of change means that the organization must change behaviors and manage the same to rapidly adopt to

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shifts in the market. To increase the ability to change, the change competence must increase. Change competence is described as the ability to manage change in the environment and organization. Successful organizational change must involve top management, the board and top executives. Usually top executives are the people who initially instigates the change by being visionary, persuasive and consistent (Mecca, 2004).

Change management therefore can mean the process or art of taking proactive actions that will smoother and climate the negative effects of change and those actions that help in harnessing the gains derivable from positive change. It can also be seen as the process of planning and implementing change in organization in such a way as to minimize employee resistance and cost to the organization while simultaneously maximizing the effectiveness of the change effort.

The implementation of all these change processes requires sustained public relations. This is because an organization cannot respond promptly to these changes without a dynamic public relations policy. Such public relations policy is expected to weave together the entire organizational system in a spirit of collective responsibility, team spirit, mutual trust and harmony with a view to achieve the expectations for the change.

This research work therefore intends to examine the role of public relations in organizational change management with emphasis on the banking industry. Fidelity bank Plc has been selected as a case study.

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1.2      The Statement of Problem

More so in an environment like ours where excellence, skill and expertise have been underplayed for trivial uneconomic factors such as religion, tribalism, and favoritism. [Change is inevitable and ideal, and change management is one of the most difficult problems organizations face]. In spite of the efforts and polices by many organizations to increase productivity and achieve corporate goals through change in system and structure ,many organizations still fall below the expected result the change is meant to achieve.

The organizations that will not adopt to change and manage it well will either be faced with reduction in productivity, customers/supplier relationship or become extinct. This is worse for the banking sector which is one of the sectors that are mostly affected by economic and technological changes. Change management has become inevitable for organization especially in todays rapidly changing and highly competitive environment where globalization also plays its own role. The major question that this research work wants to provide answers to is whether public relation as a corporate tool has a role in change management with emphasis on the banking sector.

1.3        Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this research work is to examine the role public relations play as a corporate tool for change management organization with Fidelity Bank as case study. Specific objectives are to:

1.    To ascertain the major organizational changes fidelity bank has undergone.

2.    Determine if Fidelity Bank has employed public relations as a tool in managing these changes.

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3.    Determine the public relations strategies that were employed by Fidelity Bank plc in managing these changes.

4.    Determine if public relations was an effective tool in the management of Fidelity

Banks organizational changes.

1.4      Research Question

1.    What are the major organization changes the bank has undergone?

2.    Was public relation tools employed in managing organizational changes in Fidelity bank?

3.    What are public relations strategies used by Fidelity Bank Plc in managing change in the organization?

4.    How did the employment of public relation tools affect the organization in her

change management?

1.5        Research Hypothesis

The following Null hypotheses are postulated for this research work.

1.    Fidelity Bank has not employed public relations as a tool in managing change in the organization.

2.    There are no public relation strategies that have been used by Fidelity bank plc in managing change in the organization.

3.    Organizational change does not affect corporate goals in Fidelity bank Plc.

4.    Public Relation did not play any role as a corporate tool in the organizational change in Fidelity Bank.

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1.6        Significance of the Study

The study explores the role public relations plays as a corporate tool for change management using Fidelity bank as a case study. The study will therefore be significant to the following:

Policy makers and administrators will find this study helpful in their policy implementation as it concerns change management in organizations. It will also be helpful to all levels of government and corporate organizations as it will provide information on how to manage change using public relations as a tool. It will also be helpful to business and co-operate organizations in their effort to managing change.

The study will also add to the existing literature on change management which will be of immense importance to researchers, authorities and students carrying out research work in management sciences and marketing .

1.7      Scope and Limitation of Study

The research work is on the role public relations play as a corporate tool for change management. The scope of the work has been limited to public relation strategies employed by organization to manage change. The study is limited to the review of how the management of Fidelity Bank plc has been able to introduce and manage change.

There are other aspects of public relations which include the relationship between the company and her other publics, but this study will not cover those strategies. The scope has therefore been defined by the role public relations play in change management.

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1.8        Definitions of Terms

1.    Public relations is the relationship between a firm and its numerous publics. It is a promotional activity concerned with creating and maintaining favourable relations between the organization and its publics such as customers, employees, shareholders and the community at large. It is also a management activity planned to shape and affect the attitudes and behaviour of the public towards an organization. (Adirika, et, al, 1996: 2002)

Public relations is an organizational philosophy that believes in two way communication process as a way to achieving public understanding and acceptances, both of which are crucial to the continued growth and profitability of enterprises. It is to inform, educate and enlighten the public in order to achieve understanding and public acceptance. (Ogunsanya, 1991:123).

2.    Strategy – is a unified, comprehensive and integrated plan that relates the strategic advantages of the firm to the challenges of the environment in such a way as to ensure that the basic objectives of the enterprise are achieved. (Hampton, 1988:82).

3.    Public relations strategies are the managerial process of developing and maintaining a strategic fit between the organization’s goals and capabilities and its changing marketing environment. It relies on developing a clear company mission, supporting objectives and goals, a sound business portfolio and coordinated functional strategies. (Kotler 1980: 83)

4.    Change is an organizational process that brings about conditions and situations

different from already existing practices and process in an organization. It is an alteration in, a shift or passing from one state to another of rules, regulations,

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polices, practices, procedures, norms, authorities and responsibilities in an organizational setting (Nwosu, 2003:15)

5.    Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, terms and organizations from a current state to desired future state. It is a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, organizational structures or cultural changes (Rouse 2009:13).

Change management is a proactive and implementing procedures and /or technologies to deal with changes in the business environment and to profit from change opportunities (Paulson and Rouse 2010:78)

6.    Organization is the assembling or bringing together like people and things needed to achieve a purpose. It implies bringing together all relevant human and non human materials, that is inputs of production, human aspects is assembled, empowered through planned orientation, training and deployment for them to perform their duties properly (Chukwu, 2007:6)

7.    Organizational change is the transformation of an organization which occur when business strategies or major section of an organization are altered, restructured or turned around. It is about reviewing and modifying management structures and business processes due to change drivers which include the competitive environment, new technologies, consumer demand, economic conditions, new business model and government policy actions. (Basu, 2014:268)

8.    Organizational change management is a framework structured around the changing needs and capabilities of an organization which is used to prepare, adopt and implement fundamental and radical organizational changes, including its culture,

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polices, procedures and physical environment as well as employee roles, skills and responsibilities (Janssen 2013:48)

9.    Change control is a component of change management which is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system. The purpose is to ensure that no unnecessary changes are made, that all changes are documented, that services are not unnecessarily disrupted and that resources are used efficiently. (Flemming 2006:34)

10. Productivity is the measure of the efficiency of a person in converting inputs into useful outputs. Productivity is an average measure of the efficiency of production. It can be expressed as the ratio of output to inputs used in production process. (Robbins & Judge 2008:86)


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