Constraints to Internet Use for Public Relations Functions by Selected Kenyan Organizations (Published)
Public Relations has gained increasing organizational importance in recent times, as it has been emphasized in various platforms. A review of current literature shows that the use of the Internet for PR in organizations has been empirically investigated mainly in other contexts – especially in Europe and America – but not in Africa. However, most of these investigations focused on specific components of Internet and not the holistic use of the Internet for PR. The study examined the constraints to the use of Internet as a PR platform in organizations. It adopted a relativist-interpretivist research paradigm and a qualitative approach utilizing the multiple case study method. A total of 45 participants was sampled comprising nine respondents each from a financial, telecommunications, insurance, PR Agency and online shopping business. In each category of business, one person in management, two PR and communications experts (or customer care services marketing and advertising in some organizations), one ICT expert and five key stakeholders (key publics-internal/external customers) was selected. The PR organizations involved in the study were sampled purposively. In-depth interviews, observation and document analysis were used to generate data. Data analysis was done thematically. Among the constraints of Internet as a PR platform in organizations were security and trust concerns, content mismanagement, lack of tools of monitoring and evaluation, ineffective utilization of the platforms, lack of expert knowledge, experience and poor role specification. Evidently, numerous constraints impair the utilization of Internet for PR functions in most organizations. As such, it was recommended that PR practitioners should develop internet plans to bolster interactivity and utilize social media services fully to produce effective messages to strengthen organisation-public relationships.