Strategic Public Relations and Performance of Large Motor Vehicle Dealers in Nairobi City County, Kenya.
Ngarachu, Simon Kimani
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The Motor Vehicle Companies in Nairobi, Kenya have played a major role in the contribution to job creation and economic development. Despite their role in economic development, these dealers face intense competition from imported second-hand vehicles. The purpose of the study was to investigate the strategic value of public relations on the performance of Large Motor Vehicle dealers in Nairobi, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study included; to establish the effects of; openness strategy, stakeholder involvement strategy, investment strategy and commitment strategy on the performance of Large Motor Vehicle dealers in Nairobi, Kenya. A descriptive research design was used where the target population was 15 large motor vehicle firms operating in Nairobi, which are members of the Kenya Motor Industry Association. The unit of analysis was the large motor vehicle dealers while the unit of observation was the four strategic public relations strategies including; openness, stakeholder involvement, investment and commitment strategy. The study used primary data sources and secondary data. Primary data was collected using open ended and closed questionnaires. Content and construct validity was achieved though seeking expert opinion. Reliability was ascertained using Cronbach Alpha coefficient. Descriptive statistics and multiple regressions were used to analyze the quantitative data while qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis. Data was analyzed using tables and figures. The study findings confirmed that majority of the large motor vehicle dealers in Nairobi had improved firm performance as a result of leveraging on strategic public relations strategies. They had improvement in decision making time through openness strategy. They also had buy in from different stakeholders through stakeholder involvement strategy. Similarly, there was commitment from the management in supporting the Public relation function through the commitment strategy. Most importantly, the investment public relation strategy guaranteed the effectiveness of strategic public relations as adequate financial and human resources were availed to drive the public relations agenda forward. This proves that majority of the large motor vehicle dealers in Nairobi applied strategic public relations strategies in their operations to ensure their improved firm performance. It was further concluded that strategic public relations significantly influenced performance of large motor vehicle dealers in Nairobi with investment strategy contributing most to the performance of large motor vehicle dealers in Nairobi followed by stakeholder involvement strategy, openness strategy and commitment strategy respectively. The most significant strategic public relations strategies influencing performance of large motor vehicle dealers in Nairobi is investment strategy, followed by stakeholder involvement strategy, openness strategy and commitment strategy respectively. The study recommends that the Large Motor Vehicle dealers should create a framework that guides that access to information to ensure they optimize and benefit the most from their knowledge management made possible through openness public relations strategy. The management of Large Motor Vehicle dealers should carry our as assessment on the value of different stakeholders on their operations to formulate the extent of their involvement in decision making processes. The management of the Large Motor Vehicle dealers need to monitor their financial investment in public relations to guarantee value for money. Finally, the top managers of Large Motor Vehicle dealers should institutionalize public relation in the firm operations to ensure it enjoys sufficient support from the management.