Investigating the Practices of the Roles and Functions of Public Relations’ Practitioners in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions: Eight First Generation Public Universities in Focus
Main Article Content
This study investigated the roles and functions of public relations practitioners in public universities in Ethiopia. A qualitative design was used to identify the practices of the roles and functions of the public relations practitioners at eight public universities and the respective university presidents‟s awareness of the values of the public relations practitioners. The participants of the study were directors/ senior directors of public relations and communications, the presidents, and the public relations workers at public universities. Eight first-generation public universities were selected using purposive sampling as they have more established public relations departments than the second, third, and fourth-generation public universities in Ethiopia. Data were collected using an in-depth interview with the directors/senior directors of public relations and communications and /or the presidents at the eight public universities and focus group discussion with the public relations workers. The qualitative data elicited the roles and functions of public relations practitioners' implementations at their respective universities. The results of the study showed that the public relations practitioners at these public universities predominantly carried out their roles and functions as technicians in implementing their routine communication activities. The model of communication practiced is one-way symmetrical and press a gentry and public information model. Furthermore, the public relations practitioners did not execute their managerial roles and functions across all the universities in the study.