Public Relations Professionalism in FDRE Ministries: A Study on Four Ministerial Offices

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Addis Ababa University


The main objective of this study is to appraise the PRs professionalism practice in FDRE government ministries through such dimensions of PRs professionalism including professional education, availability of standards and code of ethics, autonomy, serving the public interest and existence of professional association. The study assessed four FDRE ministries PRs directorates by using a cross sectional survey study among the existing 20 ministries in the country. It used a descriptive method based on purposive sampling which is part of a non random technique. The study is a mixed type of study but inclined more towards a qualitative style having quantitative aspect. The study result grabbed from 30 questionnaires distributed for the PRs practitioners, five FGDs made with PRs practitioners and five interviews data conducted with three PRs directors in the target study area as well as two informants at AAU, SJC. Since this study is an appraisal about the professionalism of PRs; it is not expected to be a comprehensive study about PRs professionals’ themselves or issues related with professionalization uphill of the PRs profession. In relation to the education background of the PRs practitioners the study finding shows among the 30 questionnaire respondents 25 (80.6%) of them have BA/BSc and four (12.9%) of them are MA holders. Again among the total 30 respondents 17 (57%) of the practitioners were teachers, three (9.7%) of them came from journalism and communication, and 10 (33.3%) joined from a wide-ranging of work background. Even though there is a reasonable educational background and prior work experience; the actual PRs practice lacks attention, understood by the public as a governmentmouthpiece, lacks skillful practitioners, didn’t maintain by extensive professional training, follow-up and care from the government and lacks center of excellence for its professional growth and experience sharing among practitioners. Besides to this, the usage of standards for PRs work is found at low level since the actual situation is dominated by customary practice than strategic issues in each organization. Independent work and role in stakeholders’ activities also face bottlenecks to the PRs professionalism practice. The only positive result obtained from the study is the existence of practitioners’ attitude to serve the public at large. Nonetheless, the FGDs and interviews conducted with PRs practitioners; PRs directors and academicians at AAU, SJC so as to triangulate the data confirm that PRs has to wait long time to attain a professional status. It is found at its infant stage in the FDRE ministries and thus it needs to get favorable situation from the government, nurtured by PRs association and feed by higher institutions. At last, the student researcher believes the study would give a glimpse of facts about PRs professionalism in FDRE government ministries and help to point out the PRs professionalism gap in relation to the actual standard usage and ethical level of the professionals. Besides to this, it surely used as a springboard to further studies either by Ethiopians or overseas informants in the field of PRs professionalism in other governmental offices as well as private organizations.