Role of public relations in crisis management ( a case study of Ethiopian airline)

Role of public relations in crisis management ( a case study of Ethiopian airline)


This Project examines Role of public relations in crisis management, a study of Ethiopian Airline. To achieve this, the survey research method was adopted. The researcher uses the number of the population as the sample size; this is because the population is already small to reduce as we know that the purpose of sample size is to reduce the large number of population. Three research questions guided the study. Research findings showed that public relations play a vital role in crisis management. In view of these findings, the researcher recommended that every good organization must have public relations department, with well qualified staff and provide them with basic facilities to work with like security camera etc. The researcher suggested that Ethiopian Airline. should imbibe public relations as a philosophy of management and all organization should be made to appreciate the place of public relations in the organization.


Background of the Study

Conflicting situation is a situation in which two or more values, perspectives and opinions are contradictory in nature, have not yet aligned or agreed upon yet. Conflict may be defined in many ways and can be considered as an expression hostility, negative attitudes, antagonism, aggression, rivalry, and misunderstanding. It is also associated with situation that involves contradictory or irreconcilable interests between two opposing groups. A simple definition of conflict is that it is any tension which is experienced when one person perceived that one’s needs or desires are or are likely to be thwarted or frustrated (Gupta and Joshi, 2008). A conflict is more than just a disagreement. It is a situation in which people perceive a threat (Physical, emotional, power, status etc) to their well – being and is caused by t he differences and clash of personalities – attitudes, beliefs and values and needs, Conflicts are inherent in any interpersonal relationship, its management is integral to the performance of any organization. Conflict management involves acquisition of skills relating to conflict resolution, self –awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment.

The handling of conflict resolution in an organization or in the political realm of a state is major function of Public Relations. It is an essential skill of Public Relations manager to prevent gender conflict resolution rather than finding solutions when crisis erupt. The use of fire brigade approach in finding solution to problems that arises in banking sectors is described as “Remedial Public Relations” by Haywood (1984) where as “preventive Publics Relations” is what many scholars advocate in public relations practice. This is “the prevention of crisis in an organization through effective communication network between the organization and its publics in order to engender understanding, acceptance, goodwill, respect, efficiency, good welfare and mutual support ad co-operation”. In order to handle conflict resolution in our organizations, and be in a position to apply Public Relations as a strategic management option for survival and growth, Nwosu (2004) says that Public Relations practitioners should see themselves as managers as well as carryout their functions as skilled and knowledgeable managers in a manner similar to what exit or is the dominant paradigm commercial organizations.

Statement of Problem

Conflict decreases growth and brings about instability in the aviation industries. It brings about unhealthy competition among other airlines. This development is critical as foreign and domestic investors will be skeptical that their huge investment would be safe, fear and insecure as well as lack of trust and confidence will prevail. Thus, for the continuity of development for Ethiopia airline to be guaranteed, the need for Public Relations roles in managing conflict in the aviation sector can not be over emphasized.

 Objective of the Study


The study had the following objectives


  1. To determine the role public relations play in crises management at Ethiopian Airline
  2. To determine what Public relations tools were used to resolve the crises at Ethiopian Airline.
  3. To ascertain how effective the Public relations tools were used in resolving the

Research Questions

The study answered the following research questions.

  1. What roles does public relation play in crises management at Ethiopian Airline?
  2. What Public relations tools were used to resolve the crises?
  3. How effective were the Public relations tool used in resolving the crises?


Ho: Public relations does not plays any role in crises management at Ethiopian Airline.

Hi: Public relations play a role in crises management at Ethiopian Airline.

Ho: A good public relations unit cannot help prevent crisis in Ethiopian Airline.

Hi: A good public relations unit can help prevent crisis in Ethiopian Airline.

Ho: Public relations unit can not maintain peace in Ethiopian Airline Hi: Public relations unit can maintain peace in Ethiopian Airline.

Scope of the Study

The study is limited to Ethiopian Airline. This airline is large and representative enough to provide all the information necessary to do justice to the study within the period.

Significance of the Study 

The study will go a long way to benefit many co-operate Organization, the academics and Government Officials in Crisis as few work have been done on the subject.

The foundation of modern society lies in its economic and industrial capacity for business and governance to grow and progress. There is the over whelming need to ensure stable social, political and economic environment. This show the vital position public relations has come to occupy in the scheme of things. Public Relations application in administration and Management can help in achieving the desired expectations when properly harnessed.

In other words, business and industries will find the study important and used as it attempts to mirror the various Crisis, it also proffers solutions. The society will benefit from this research especially in this time of stress on the national economy and the high level of corruption pervading all sectors of our national life.

Operational Definition of Significant Terms


The definitions of the vital terms used in the research are given thus:

Public: Customers and staff of Ethiopian Airline from Jan. to July 2014.

Public Relations: It is the practice of managing the spread of information between the staff of Ethiopian Airline. and their customers.

Crisis: Violence created by the retrenchment of Ethiopian Airline.

Crisis Management: It is the process by which Ethiopian Airline deals with a major event that threatens to harm their staff and customer.

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