Noel Nutsugah and Albert Anani-Bossman (PhD), two lecturers at the Department of Public Relations in the Ghana Institute of Journalism, University of Media, Arts and Communication (UniMAC-GIJ), have made a significant contribution to global public relations scholarship with their research.
Their research, titled “Development of Public Relations in Ghana: A systematic review,” is based on a comprehensive systematic literature review that examines the state of public relations research in Ghana over ten years. Their research provides a thorough analysis of how public relations studies in Ghana have evolved and what are the possible directions for future research.
The two lecturers are recognised as experts in both the theory and practice of public relations. They undertook this ambitious project to illuminate the growth and importance of public relations research in the Ghanaian context and how it affects professional practice.
The research covers a wide range of topics, such as the limited representation of African public relations scholarship in global discussions, the prevalence of CSR and CSR Communication, the scarcity of research in areas such as Sports PR, Digital PR, PR in Oil and Gas, Crisis Communication, and the need for more public relations research in Ghana to deepen the understanding of the field.
By conducting an extensive review of existing literature, Nutsugah and Anani-Bossman have provided a comprehensive overview of the field’s development, current status and areas where future scholarly efforts should be focused.
One of the key findings of the research reveals the dominant application of the Excellence Theory, Dialogic Communication Theory, and Stakeholder Engagement Theory to support public relations research in Ghana, while neglecting other relevant theories, such as the Social Exchange Theory and the Signalling Theory. The authors stress that for public relations research to be contextualised and applicable to the Ghanaian context, scholars need to develop their own theories.
Moreover, the systematic review highlights the gap in public relation research in Ghana’s digital context, despite the rapid adoption of digital and social media platforms by organisations and individuals in Ghana.
They argue that there is a need to conduct more research in that area due to the transformative impact of these tools and how they enable professionals to reach wider audiences, build relationships, and shape public opinion effectively.
The researchers also explore the challenges faced by the public relations industry in Ghana. They identify issues such as limited resources, inadequate infrastructure, and the need for continuous professional development opportunities. By highlighting these challenges, Nutsugah and Anani-Bossman hope to initiate conversations and inspire actions that will address these issues and improve the overall practice of public relations in Ghana.
The work was published in the oldest PR Journal globally, edited by Prof Maureen Taylor who co-authored Dialogic PR Theory with Prof Michael Kent (Kent & Taylor). The journal is A-rated by Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) & has an H-Index of 96 (Scimago ranking).
The journal is published by Elsevier. The publication marks an important milestone in advancing public relations research within Ghana. The groundbreaking insights provided by the authors will undoubtedly serve as a valuable resource for academics, practitioners, and policymakers seeking to strengthen the profession in Ghana.
Nutsugah and Anani-Bossman expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the field. They hope their research will stimulate further investigations, encourage dialogue, and ultimately lead to implementing best practices and standards to advance public relations in Ghana.
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