Public relation is much similar with other related business functions since it adds value in any institution. It is also significant for those who practice public relations to account for their achievements in an organization and if not the question they need to ask themselves is why. The accountability of any practitioners can be determined through two process evaluation and review. To differentiate the two evaluation is the process of evaluating a process that is in progress more so which is a long-term and the moment a particular campaign comes to an end then the results have to be evaluated and analyzed. On the other hand review is series of steps that mostly involves management exercise. It is important since it involves revisiting what had initially been evaluated in order to determine the loop holes in a given project and coming up with better strategies. Evaluation has many benefits and just to mention a few; it focuses on the important objectives, it has proved to show how effective an organization is, it also ensure proper management of funds, it encourages best management practices, and finally it also guarantees accountability in any organization.
According to Waston and Noble they deduced that most of those who practice public relations lack the confidence of encouraging evaluation among their employees or even customers. When they were both questioned regarding their motives they claimed that evaluation was important since its the only way the leadership skills of a person can be measured and from there, clear guideline can be constructed on how to effectively manage resources. Another reason why practitioners dislike evaluation as per Watsons research is that they tend to believe that the end results from the evaluation process might be used to judge them or even their performance yet to the practitioners point of view they believe that evaluation outcomes are a mere data which should not be used to measure their performance. Another reason for Watson why evaluation was not been conducted in many programmes was because of lack of skills, lack of the necessary knowledge, high cost and budget for the whole evaluation process. The previously mentioned techniques are just a few of the many reasons why evaluation techniques can be rendered problematic. Besides the problems associated with the evaluation process there are a number of principles that comes in place before anyone conduct the evaluation procedure.
The first principle is the objective. Under this principle it is very significant that when conducting the evaluation one should consider or determine if the set objectives are met. Without meeting the programme objective, that particular programme may be considered unsuccessful. The second principle is Evaluation itself. This second principle need to bet set from the word go rather than ending up asking yourself at the end of the programme that how did we do it? Another aspect being addressed under evaluation is that it must be ongoing so that a program can be scrutinized or judged based on how it progresses. Communication is equally important and everything has to be well interpreted. One thing that cannot be under-estimated concerning the evaluation is that it must be objective as well as scientific as possible. This calls for the practitioners to be proficient in their area of study. Finally the principle of evaluating processes or programmes come in handy. The results for a given campaign need to be evaluated more so the communication activity along with their management.
According to Gregory and White they explain the different levels of evaluation which are categorized into four: societal, management, programme and individual activities. Societal explanation basically entails how a public relation campaign can drive certain agenda to the society for instance enticing people for the need of action to be taken over climate change. It may also fight for the minority within the society who lack the powers. Measuring such activity at societal level calls for tools that will be involved in measuring the opinion of the public and observation from large quantitative and qualitative surveys. Management evaluation involves keeping in check the general performance of an organization it terms of its financial records, assets and to some point the reputation of the organization in the eyes of the public. All these factors plays a great role in determining the performance of an organization. Having in mind the various evaluation levels, it is appropriate to come up with the best evaluation model. However, there is no standard evaluation model neither is it easy to come up with one the most common used model is the one that Jim Macnamara devised which is pyramid in structure. The first stage in the structure at the peak is outcome, out-take, outputs, and inputs respectively.
Evaluation process should always engage the staff as they are part of it. They need to cope with the ever changing communication environment in an organization. Besides the staff needs to be motivated and well informed of the whole evaluation process since they are the handlers and managers of the reputation of the organization. All managers are also called upon to lay down a reasonable budget for the evaluation process as depicted in the two case studies in the article: the Olympic bid case study and the media analysis. The evaluation techniques applied to these case studies proved to be very successful having deployed the later discussed procedures involved in evaluation.
Gregory (2010) Evaluation.
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