Week 3 ethics


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  • We as PR practitioners also have a code of ethics to uphold. The Public Relations Society of America has been a leader in fostering a strong sense of professionalism among its membership, particularly by its fairly recent Code of Ethics. According to the PRSA, there are six specific core values (explained on pg. 119 in your book). These values are the fundamental beliefs that should guide your behaviors and decision-making process as a PR professional. These professional values are vital to the integrity of the profession as a whole.(http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/CodeEnglish/)The first value is ADVOCACY:The PRSA expects that we serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. Going back to Nick Naylor’s character in “Thank You For Smoking”, do you think he was acting as a responsible advocate? If you were the PR person for Big Tobacco, what type of information would you have to provide the public in order to be acting in an ethical way? The Code of Ethics states, “We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.” The core value of advocacy also says that you should never reveal confidential or private client information, even if a journalist demands it. The only way this info might be revealed is after a thorough discussion with your client. The next value is HONESTY:“We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.” What would you do if a client asked you to embellish their company performance in a press release or briefing? You should be diplomatic, but respond with a firm, “no.” PR people should never lie for their client.EXPERTISE:“We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience. We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education. We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.” For example, if a client is in need of guidance whether he or she should accept a sensitive interview invitation for a cable TV talk show, you as a skilled PR professional, should and must guide them through the pros and cons of doing the interview.INDEPENDENCE:“We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.” For example, when everyone is ‘yessing’ your client’s stupid idea to cover up bad news, it’s your duty to strike an independent tone. That’s what they’re paying you for!LOYALTY:“We are faithful to those we represent, while honoring our obligation to serve the public interest.” For example if one of your client’s competitors offers you more money to join their PR team, you should understand that your loyalties should always remain consistent. FAIRNESS:We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media, and the general public. We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression. For example, even if a journalist is being a total jerk to you and demands information, you need to treat that jerk with fairness.
  • Week 3 ethics

    2. 2. WHAT IS ETHICS • Standards of conduct that indicate how one should behave based on moral duties and virtues. • Ethics are the values that guide a person, organization or society- concepts such as right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, honesty and dishonesty. • A person’s ethical construct and approach depend on numerous factors- cultural, religious and educational. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    3. 3. WHAT IS ETHICS.. • Ethics is the branch of study dealing with what is the proper cause of action for a man. • It answers the question, “What do I do?” • It is the study of right and wrong in human endeavors. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    4. 4. CONTINUED.. • Ethics is concerned with how we should live our lives. • It focuses on questions about what is right and wrong, fair or unfair, caring or uncaring, good or bad, responsible or irresponsible and the like. (Jaksa and Pritchard cited in Wilcox, p.182) PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    5. 5. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ETHICS The law is often interpreted in black and white. Ethics fall into a gray area because we have different standards, perceptions, values. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    6. 6. WHY IS ETHICS IMPORTANT IN PR • The practice of public relations is all about earning credibility. • Credibility, in turn begins with telling the truth. • Public relations, then must be based on ‘doing the right thing’- in other words, acting ethically. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    7. 7. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ETHICS • • • • Public relations professionals make ethical decisions that must satisfy: Their employer The public interest Their professional organization Their personal values PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    8. 8. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ETHICS A PR professional’s job is to: • Advocate • Influence • Communicate • Promote • Move others to action PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    9. 9. ETHICAL ISSUES IN PR • Many people perceive public relations as something less than respectable – as clever strategies to convince the public that what’s wrong is right. • Some see public relations professionals as manipulators of the public mind, rather than conveyor of truth. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    10. 10. ETHICAL STANDARDS IN THE INDUSTRY • ‘Public relations people must adhere to a high standard of professional, with truth as the key determinant of their conduct.’ (Seitel,p.111) • ‘Ethics in public relations begin with the individual and is directly related to his or her own value system as well as to the good of society. Although it is important to show loyalty to an employer, practitioners must never allow a client or an employer to rob them of their self-esteem.’ (Wilcox,p.185) PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    11. 11. THE ROLE The PR practitioner serves as an intermediary between the organization that he or she represents and all of that organization’s publics Consequently, the PR practitioner has responsibilities both to the institution and to its various publics PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    12. 12. THE TWO ASPECTS COMMUNICATION: receiving information from the ‘publics’, advising management of their attitudes and responses, helping to set policies that demonstrate responsible attention to them and constantly evaluating the effectiveness of all PR programs MANAGEMENT: the function of public relations involves responsibility and responsiveness in policy and information to the best interests of the organization and its publics
    13. 13. RESPONSIBILITIES TO PUBLICS Most professional PR practitioners recognize that they and their organizations have ethical responsibilities to at least 10 different publics: – clients – news media – government agencies – educational institutions PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    14. 14. CONTINUED Consumers Stockholders and analysts Community Competitors Critics Other public relation practitioners PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    15. 15. … in practice ethical problems that must be resolved in public relations research include: how to collect data (maintain certain standards toward the subjects used in research) how to accumulate and store information how to use research PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    17. 17. CODE OF ETHICS 6 values vital to the integrity of the professional as a whole ADVOCACY: PR professional serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for clients and provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas to aid informed public debate HONESTY: PR professionals adhere to the highest standards of truth and accuracy PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    18. 18. CONTINUED… EXPERTISE: PR professionals have specialized knowledge and skill and maintain that knowledge and skill through continued professional development INDEPENDENCE: PR professionals provide objective advice to their clients and are accountable for their actions LOYALTY: PR professionals are loyal to their clients but continue to serve the public interest FAIRNESS: PR professionals treat fairly all public, including clients PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    19. 19. PR RELOADED • PR can represent the needs, interests and desires of the organization’s various publics to management and then back from management to them, explaining management’s perspectives; it opens a dialogue between an organization and the publics it affects • PR focuses on society in the broadest sense and should work in the greater interest of society, rather than the narrow interests of the organization it serves PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    20. 20. OVERALL PR helps management formulate, advocate and teach objectives that are more sound the principles of PR reflect the basic cooperative natures of people, and thus PR people earn their reputation as problem solvers being socially responsible means upholding obligations PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    21. 21. CONTINUED social responsibility once ignored by most institutions, now is viewed as being an essential ‘cost’ of doing business still, the ethical, responsible practice of public relations is a personal choice … the PR person who loses the public’s perspective has foregone public responsibility PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    22. 22. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ETHICS Ethics experts agree that there are three systems of ethics: DEONTOLOGY OR ABSOLUTIST: every decision is right or wrong -- black or white. Consequences don’t matter. This system depends on the inner-based, self discipline of each individual. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    23. 23. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ETHICS TELEOLOGY OR EXISTENTIALIST: the ends justify the means. GOLDEN MEAN OR UTILITARIAN: each situation is judged on what would cause the most good and the least harm -- what’s best for the majority, the greatest good or the greatest number. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    24. 24. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ETHICS A public relation practitioner serves five masters: 1. The client 2. The employer 3. Your colleagues 4. Yourself 5. Society PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    25. 25. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ETHICS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The most common dilemmas faced by PR professionals are: Gifts Misleading Information Promotion of Inferior products Gain at the expense of others Political Action Committees Promotion of illegal products abroad PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    26. 26. PERSONAL ETHICS • • • • • • • Be honest at all times Convey a sense of business ethics based on your own standards and those of society Respect the integrity and position of your opponents and audiences Develop trust by emphasizing substance over triviality Present all sides of an issue Strive for a balance between loyalty to the organization and duty to the public Don’t sacrifice long-term objectives for short-term gains PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    27. 27. PR PROFESSIONALISM: ACT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL IN THE FIELD, BY HAVING: • • • • • A sense of independence A sense of responsibility to society and the public interest Be concerned about the competence and honor of the profession as a whole A higher loyalty to the standards of the profession and fellow professionals than to the employer/client of the moment. The reference point in all PR activity must be the standards of the profession and not those of the client or the employer PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    28. 28. ETHICAL ISSUES IN PUBLIC RELATIONS • Disseminating inaccurate or false information • Disclosing client information • Hiring and firing practices – Stealing employees – Taking accounts from employer – Employees offering company information via social media • Intentional billing errors • Making undeliverable claims to clients PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    29. 29. ETHICAL ISSUES IN PUBLIC RELATIONS • Poor treatment of local community – Polluting environment • Poor treatment of employees – Requiring long working hours, unreasonable demands • Poor treatment of customers – Selling harmful product – Lying about product benefits – Not honoring claims and promises PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    30. 30. ETHICAL ISSUES IN PUBLIC RELATIONS • • • • • Lying to company shareholders Salary discrimination Sexual harrasment Home-work balance issues Conflicts of interest PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    31. 31. THE REWARDS OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOR • There is satisfaction in doing the right thing. • Successful leadership is based on strong ethics. • Ethical behavior may lead to an organization’s financial success. • Bad ethics can lead to financial disaster. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN
    32. 32. ACHIEVING ETHICAL BEHAVIOR • Ensure that ethical behavior starts with top management. • Conduct periodic ethics audits. • Integrate an awareness of values and ethics into the public relations process. • Use a system for analyzing ethical challenges. PREPARED BY : MS GOMALA SUKUMARAN