|dc.description.abstract||The aim of this research is to establish the gaps between the potential role of the public
relations practitioner within the CMA central bank context, and management’s perception and
expectation of that role. The study may then improve the overall status of public relations in
central banking. The research focuses specifically on the role of public relations practitioners
of central banks belonging to the CMA of Southern Africa.
The research question is: what are top managements’ perceptions and expectations of the
public relations practitioner’s role in CMA central banks, and how does this differ from the
potential role public relations practitioners can play within this context?
An empirical study was conducted in order to achieve the aim and meet the objectives of this
research study. Elements of both the positivist and anti-positivist paradigms are evident in
this research study. The research approach is, therefore, both quantitative and qualitative of
nature. The research design is an instrumental and intrinsic case study, which used
methodological triangulation. The study population consisted of the dominant coalition (top
management) of the central banks. Management committees at the central banks provided a
sampling frame for the study. Due to the small size of the population a census was taken
instead of a sample.
Fourteen self-administered questionnaires were returned, but the response rate was too low
to draw any solid conclusions from the data. In order to overcome this obstacle, one-on-one
in-depth interviews were conducted with the fourteen respondents who returned their
According to the majority of interviewees, the strategic role of public relations practitioners is
the ideal role. The interviewees emphasised that the most senior public relations practitioner
plays an essential role in acting as the CMA central banks’ media liaison person. This
entails being the spokesperson of the bank, writing and disseminating information to the
media, ensuring the media complies with central bank protocols, as well as coordinating and
responding to media enquiries on a daily basis. The data suggests that, currently, public
relations practitioners spend most of their time dealing with the media.
It is a concern, though, that many of the interviewees could not describe the current
‘satisfactory performance’ or behaviours of most senior public relations practitioners. Many
answered: “I don’t know”. The interviewees further commented that the public relations
position lacks status and authority at the central banks. However, indications are that this
situation is slowly improving with positions gaining increased status.
Despite limitations, the majority agreed that corporate communication is extremely important
to central banks in the light of continuously building and maintaining public confidence. The
data further suggested that public relations practitioners may increasingly find that the value
of their position rests in advising and serving on the Boards of central banks in the future.
According to the literature review, there are mainly three public relations roles: strategist,
manager and technician. All three of these roles should be enacted depending on the
environment within which the public relations practitioner operates. Ideally, the public
relations practitioner should enact these roles with a strategist mindset.
Top management of the CMA central banks expect that senior public relations practitioners
enact a strategist role, but currently this is lacking. The study further suggests that top
management found it challenging to describe the current roles that practitioners are
executing within CMA central banks. Many of the interviewees had difficulty answering
questions about the current behaviours and performances of practitioners.
The expectations of top management for practitioners to enact a strategist role are
contradictory to what they further revealed in the interviews. This is because the dominant
coalition’s key expectation is for public relations practitioners to mainly deal with the media
by disseminating information, but also to influence media reports positively. The research
may suggest that top management equates the strategist role as that of a media liaison
person. The data further suggests that CMA central banks may be following the press /
media agentry or public information public relations models, which are one-way models. This
is in conflict with the strategist role, which is mostly evident in organisations following the
two-way public relations models.
Overall, this study emphasised the lack of research regarding corporate communication /
public relations within the central banking context. It is therefore recommended that further
research be conducted about the comprehensive role that public relations practitioners can
play in central banks.||en_US