Posted by: Sarah Kemp | February 5, 2009

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 discusses Ethics and Professionalism in Public Relations. This is one of the most important values to learn about the PR industry because it is the main thing that all professionals use as their guidelines for ethical behavior in the industry. J.A. Jaksa and M.S. Pritchard provide a good definition of ethics in their book Methods of Analysis.

“Ethics,” they say, “is concerned with how we should live our lives. It focuses on questions about what is right and wrong, fair and unfair, caring or uncaring, good or bad, responsible or irresponsible, and the like.”

It is very important in businesses to make sure that all employees and clients are ethical in all of their practices and it is not always a black and white situations, most falls into a gray area when dealing with ethical situations or people, as the book describes.

Philosophers say that there are three basic value orientations:

1. Absolute: Every decision is either “right” or “wrong”…

2. Existential: Decide on the basis of immediate practical choice. The approach is somewhat grounded in Aristotle’s idea that individuals should see a balance, or midpoint between two extremes.

3.Situational: Believes that each decision is based on what would cause the least harm or most good. Often called the utilitarian approach.

There are also four questions you can ask to help with ethical decision making that were discussed in the chapter… (1) Is it the truth? (2) Is it fair to all concerned? (3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and (4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Public Relations Practitioners should always try to use ethical values and standards in their agencies and uphold these practices for their employees as well. There are many Professional Organizations that are advocates of these values. Some include: The Public Relations Society of America (PRCA) and The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

Notes from: Public Relations Stategies and Tactics (9th ed.) by D. Wilcox, G. Cameron.

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