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The Effect of Public Relations Practice in Government Institutions in Ghana



This study was on the effect of public relations practice in government institutions. Three objectives were raised which included: To Assess the Impact of Public Relations Practices on Public Trust and Confidence in Ghanaian Government Institutions, to Examine the Role of Public Relations in Shaping Public Perception of Government Institutions in Ghana and to Investigate the Contribution of Public Relations Practices to Crisis Management and Resilience in Ghanaian Government Institutions. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from University of Accra. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).


Chapter one


Background of the study

Effective public relations in government institutions can contribute to building and maintaining public trust and confidence. When government agencies communicate transparently, disseminate accurate information, and engage with the public, citizens are more likely to trust the government. A study by Grunig and Hunt (1984) suggests that open communication and transparency are crucial for building positive relationships between organizations and their publics.

Public relations can help shape the public perception of government institutions. By crafting and disseminating positive messages, highlighting achievements, and addressing concerns proactively, government agencies can influence how they are perceived by the public (Cutlip, Center, & Broom, 2006).

Public relations practices play a vital role in managing crises. Government institutions that have well-established PR strategies are better equipped to handle crises, respond to emergencies, and mitigate reputational damage (Coombs, 2007). Timely and accurate communication during crises can help maintain public trust.

Public relations can facilitate citizen engagement and participation in governance. Engaging citizens in decision-making processes, seeking feedback, and involving the public in policy discussions contribute to a more inclusive and responsive government (Grunig, 2009).

Positive public relations can enhance the image of a country and its institutions internationally. This, in turn, can attract foreign investments, aid, and partnerships. A positive international image may positively impact economic development (Grunig, Grunig, & Dozier, 2002).

Effective public relations can influence public opinion and garner support for government policies and legislative initiatives. By communicating the rationale behind decisions and addressing concerns, government institutions can build support for their agendas (Heath & Bryant, 2000).

Public relations practices can contribute to fostering a culture of accountability and transparency within government institutions. Communicating openly about decision-making processes, budget allocation, and policy implementation helps hold government officials accountable (Ledingham & Bruning, 1998).

It’s essential to conduct specific studies in the Ghanaian context to validate these general observations and provide a more nuanced understanding of the impact of public relations practices in government institutions in Ghana. Local factors, cultural nuances, and the unique political landscape can influence the outcomes of PR strategies in this specific context

Statement of the problem

In recent years, the landscape of public administration in Ghana has witnessed an increased emphasis on the role of public relations (PR) practices within government institutions. However, despite the growing recognition of the importance of effective communication and engagement with the public, there remains a gap in our understanding of the specific impacts of PR strategies on the functioning and perception of government entities in the Ghanaian context.

While the literature suggests that transparent communication fosters public trust, there is a need to empirically assess the extent to which PR practices contribute to building and maintaining trust in Ghanaian government institutions.

The influence of PR in shaping public perception of government entities is acknowledged, but there is a lack of comprehensive studies exploring the effectiveness of PR strategies in managing public perceptions within the unique socio-political context of Ghana.

Given the dynamic nature of governance, understanding how PR practices contribute to crisis management and resilience in the face of challenges is imperative. This study aims to investigate the preparedness and effectiveness of government institutions in Ghana in handling crises through PR.

The concept of citizen engagement is integral to modern governance, yet there is limited empirical evidence on the impact of PR practices on fostering citizen engagement and participation in decision-making processes within Ghanaian government institutions.

While it is theorized that positive PR can attract foreign investments, there is a need to explore the link between the international image of Ghanaian government institutions, the perception of the country on the global stage, and its economic implications.

Understanding the role of PR in garnering support for policies and legislative initiatives is critical. This study seeks to explore how effective communication strategies contribute to building public support for government agendas and initiatives.

While PR is often associated with promoting accountability and transparency, there is a need to investigate the practical implications of PR practices in fostering a culture of openness within Ghanaian government institutions.

Objective of the study

  1. To Assess the Impact of Public Relations Practices on Public Trust and Confidence in Ghanaian Government Institutions
  2. To Examine the Role of Public Relations in Shaping Public Perception of Government Institutions in Ghana
  3. To Investigate the Contribution of Public Relations Practices to Crisis Management and Resilience in Ghanaian Government Institutions

Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses are formulated;

H1: There is no Impact of Public Relations Practices on Public Trust and Confidence in Ghanaian Government Institutions

H2: There is no Role of Public Relations in Shaping Public Perception of Government Institutions in Ghana

Significance of the study

The significance of the study lies in its potential contributions to academic knowledge, policy development, and practical applications within the context of public relations (PR) practices in government institutions in Ghana. The study holds several key implications

The findings of this study can inform the development of communication policies and strategies within Ghanaian government institutions. Policymakers can use the insights to enhance existing practices or introduce new approaches to strengthen public relations efforts.

Understanding the impact of PR on public trust, citizen engagement, and crisis management can contribute to improved governance and public administration. The study’s insights can guide officials in adopting communication practices that foster transparency, accountability, and public participation.

Positive findings regarding the relationship between PR, international image, and economic impact can have implications for Ghana’s global standing. Government institutions can leverage effective communication to attract foreign investments and build stronger diplomatic ties.

Communication professionals within government agencies can benefit from the study’s findings by gaining a deeper understanding of the specific strategies that are most effective in the Ghanaian context. This knowledge can guide the development and implementation of communication campaigns.

The study contributes to the academic discourse on public relations by providing empirical evidence specific to the Ghanaian context. It adds to the body of knowledge on the role of PR in government institutions, serving as a foundation for further research and scholarly discussions.

As the study investigates the impact of PR on citizen engagement, its findings can empower citizens by shedding light on the importance of their involvement in decision-making processes. This knowledge can foster a sense of participation and civic responsibility.

Scope of the study

The effect of public relations practice in government institutions. The study will be limited to the University of Accra

Limitation of the study

Every research study has its limitations, and it’s crucial to acknowledge them to maintain transparency and provide context for the interpretation of results. Here are some potential limitations of the study on “The Effect of Public Relations Practice in Government Institutions in Ghana”:

  1. Generalization Constraints:

The study’s findings may be specific to the Ghanaian context and might not be easily generalizable to other countries or regions with different political, cultural, and socio-economic dynamics.

  1. Temporal Constraints:

The research is conducted within a specific time frame. As communication practices and political landscapes evolve, the study’s findings may not capture potential changes in public relations practices over an extended period.

  1. Data Collection Challenges:

Constraints related to data collection, such as access to government officials, restricted information, or the sensitivity of certain topics, may impact the depth and breadth of the study’s analysis.

  1. Resource Constraints:

Limitations in terms of time, budget, and available resources may impact the scale and scope of the study. For instance, a comprehensive nationwide study might be constrained by resource limitations.

Definition of terms

  1. Public Relations (PR):

Public Relations refers to the strategic communication process that organizations, including government institutions, use to build and maintain positive relationships with their various publics. It involves managing information, fostering transparency, and influencing perceptions.

  1. Government Institutions:

In the context of this study, government institutions refer to organizations, agencies, and bodies within the public sector of Ghana involved in governance, policy-making, and public service delivery.

  1. Public Trust:

Public trust is the confidence and faith that the citizens of Ghana have in the actions, decisions, and integrity of their government institutions. It reflects the belief that these institutions operate in the best interest of the public.

  1. Crisis Management:

Crisis management involves the coordinated efforts and strategies implemented by government institutions to effectively handle and mitigate the impact of unforeseen events or emergencies that may negatively affect the institution’s reputation or public perception.

  1. Citizen Engagement:

Citizen engagement refers to the active involvement, participation, and inclusion of the public in decision-making processes, policy development, and other activities carried out by government institutions.

  1. International Image:

International image refers to the perception and reputation of Ghanaian government institutions on the global stage. It encompasses how the country is viewed by the international community in terms of governance, stability, and economic potential.

  1. Economic Impact:

Economic impact, in the context of this study, refers to the effects that positive or negative perceptions of Ghanaian government institutions may have on foreign investments, trade relationships, and overall economic development.

  1. Policy Support:

Policy support is the level of approval, endorsement, or acceptance that government policies and legislative initiatives receive from the public. It reflects the degree to which citizens are in favor of or against specific government actions.

  1. Accountability:

Accountability refers to the responsibility of government institutions to provide an account of their actions, decisions, and use of resources. It involves transparency in operations and a willingness to be answerable to the public.

  1. Transparency:

Transparency is the degree to which government institutions openly communicate information, decisions, and processes to the public. It involves making information easily accessible and understandable to foster trust and accountability.



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  • Skinner, C. Von Essen L., & Mersham, G. (2001). Handbook of public relations. 6th edition. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
  •  Sriramesh, K. &Verčič, D. (2003). The global public relations handbook: Theory, research and practices. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Ströh, U. M. (2007). The conundrum of public relations versus marketing: Clarifying the differences in terms of relationship management. PRism 5(1): 1-15. http://praxis.massey.ac.nz/prism_online_journ.html/[accessed 28 June 2008].
  • Tench, R. Yeomans, L. (2006). Exploring public relations. London: Pearson Education Limited.


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