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This study investigates how excellence theory is being applied in the public relations practice of Kaduna polytechnic. Excellence theory is a theory that specifies how public relations practice makes institutions to be more effective in organization and management for optimum productivity. The study employs both qualitative and quantitative assessment of the application of excellence theory in public relations practice of Kaduna polytechnic. In-depth interview with structured and unstructured questions was used in collecting data from purposively selected informants at Public relations department of Kaduna polytechnic for the qualitative study, while a structured questionnaire was used in collecting the data and information for quantitative study. 1,376 questionnaires were issued to the sampled population of the institution. Findings show that Kaduna Polytechnic makes use of information and protocols unit as their PR department. However, the study reveals that, the institution does not fully understand the importance of the unit to its success or operations. Kaduna Polytechnic does not apply the excellence theory principles in it public relations activities. The Involvement of public relations in strategic management is critical to the application of excellence theory. An organization that practices public relations strategically develops programs to communicate with its strategic publics, both external and internal that provides the greatest threats to and opportunities for the organization. Kaduna Polytechnic Public relations unit does not recognize this role, as public relations are not seen as a management function in the institution.
1.1 Background to the Study
For an organization or institution to be effective, according to the theory, it must behave in ways
that solve the problems and satisfy the goals of stakeholders as well as of management. If it does not,
stakeholders will either pressure the organization or institution to change or oppose it in ways that add
cost and risk to organizational policies and decisions. To behave in socially acceptable ways,
organizations institutions must scan their environment to identify publics who are affected by potential
organizational decisions or who want organizations to make decisions to solve problems that are
important to them. Then, organizations must communicate symmetrically with publics (taking the
interests of both the organization and publics into account) to cultivate high-quality, long-term
relationships with them (Grunig 2008).
This makes Public relations (PR) today to become an integral part of every business
organization. It is being regarded, more and more today as a management process in itself like
other management processes, professional public relations work requires setting clear objectives,
planning strategies, detailing out appropriate tactics and techniques. Often, the outcome is
reflected in the overall reputation of the company and the total profit margins. As a management
functions also, public relation demands a wide range of skills to cope with the four cardinal areas
of full public relations task (Ajala 2002). No doubt, these are the canon of the excellence theory
Public relations as it exists in any given organization and institution, however, have
different organizations assigning different names to their public relations departments or units.
Some refer to it as customer care, public affairs division, public service division, customer
service or information and protocols unit among others as the case may be with Kaduna
polytechnic which is our point of reference in this study and as one of the recognized institutions
Kaduna Polytechnic, since its establishment in 1956 where it started as Kaduna Technical
Institution to what it is today. It is the biggest Polytechnic in Africa, South of Sahara in terms of
staff, student population and physical infrastructure, it is the second oldest technological
institution in Nigeria, the oldest being Yaba College of Technology which was established in
1948. Kaduna Polytechnic is also the second largest tertiary institution in Nigeria after Ahmadu
Bello University, Zaria. The Po
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