THE ROLE COMMUNITY
RELATIONS HAS PLAYED ON THE CORPORATE IMAGE OF SHELL PETROLEUM PLC PORTHARCOURT
TO THE STUDY
Companies has recently gave priority to their
interactions with the people constituting the environment they operates in and
draws resources from, to foster mutual understanding, trust, and support
between the company and the host communities (Meyers, 2005). This study is
examining the role that these activities involved in community relations on the
corporate image of Shell petroleum Plc, Port Harcourt. Corporate image”
was once an advertising jargon but is today a common phrase referring to a
company’s reputation. The “image” is what the public is supposed to
see when the corporation is mentioned. The ordinary man and woman on the street
usually have a wry view of community relations, advertising, hype, hoopla, and
therefore also of corporate image—and this often for good reasons (Brady, 2005).
But a good corporate image is a genuine asset; it translates into dollars at
the counter and higher stock valuation.
concept is usually associated with large corporations, but small businesses
also have a corporate image even if neither their owners nor customers think of
it that way. In the absence of active efforts, corporate image “simply
happens”: it is how a company is perceived (Johnson, 2002). Management,
however, may actively attempt to shape the image by communications, brand
selection and promotion, use of symbols, and by publicizing its actions.
Corporations trying to shape their image are analogous to individuals who will
dress appropriately, cultivate courteous manners, and choose their words
carefully in order to come across competent, likeable, and reliable. In the
personal as in the corporate case, the image should match reality (Hayward,
2005). When it does not, the consequence will be the opposite of the one
intended. Community relations is no longer an afterthought or corporate
window-dressing, community relations, as more chief executives are
acknowledging, is now a serious, strategic aspect of business for Nigerian
companies, a fundamental ingredient for the health of the enterprise.
Competitive business and social pressures are forcing a redefinition of the
relationship between company and community. When a company makes a commitment
to the community part of its core business strategy, it not only helps attract
and retain top employees, but it also positions itself positively among
customers and, increasingly, improves its position in the market. Positive,
proactive connections to the community can translate into a boost to the bottom
line. Leading-edge companies are now seeing that to succeed in a global
economy, the corporation has to be more than a preferred shareholder. The broad
array of new stakeholders that the enterprise must embrace require a new
perspective on corporate governance and behavior (Brady, 2005). Consequently,
in addition to becoming the investment of choice, a company must become the
supplier of choice, the employer of choice. Several community relations strategies by
oil companies have failed to reduce the incidence of violent conflict between
the host communities and oil companies in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Shell
is Nigeria’s oldest energy company, and has a long term and continuing
commitment to the country, its people and the economy. The largest contribution
by Shell companies in Nigeria is through the taxes and royalties they pay as
well as its commitment to support and finance community development
initiatives in the host communities.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
the pressures that accompany the growing parity in the price of goods and
services, companies will achieve an increasing competitive advantage through community
relations and social responsibility as an approach of building corporate image.
This makes strategic social investment all the more important for global
corporations as they seek to establish a consistent image and market presence
across the world. However, the researcher is examining the
role community relations have played on the corporate image of Shell petroleum
Plc, Port Harcourt.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
following are the objectives of this study:
examine the role of community relations on corporate image building at Shell
Petroleum Plc Port Harcourt.
determine the process of effective community relations.
identify the factors that determine the corporate image of an organization.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
is the role of community relations on corporate image building at Shell
Petroleum Plc Port Harcourt?
is the process of effective community relations?
are the factors that determine the corporate image of an organization?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
following are the significance of this study:
outcome of this study will be a useful guide for the management of Shell
Petroleum Plc Port Harcourt in reorganizing and restructuring their community
relations programmes to meet the need of the host communities to enhance
cooperation and mutual understanding.
research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers
interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if
applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
study on the role of community relations on corporate image building at Shell
Petroleum Plc Port Harcourt will cover all the community relations strategies
that has been used by shell to facilitate cooperation and mutual understanding
between the company and the host communities.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the
efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature
or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire
Time constraint– The researcher will
simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently
will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Meyers B.Y. (2005): Analysis: Corporate
Case Study—Schering-Plough Looks to Remedy An Ailing Image.” PR Week.
12 December 2005.
Brady, Diane, Michael Arndt and Amy
Barrett. “When Your Name is Mud, Advertise; Companies in Crisis Used to
Lie Low. The New Response to Bad Press is Positive Spin.” Business Week.
4 July 2005.
Johnson L.O. (2002)”Explaining the
Enron bankruptcy.” CNN.com/U.S. Available from http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/01/12/enron.qanda.focus/.
13 January 2002.
Hayward, Roger. “Insight:
Corporate Reputation” Accountancy Age. 30 June 2005.