Posted by: emilywil | March 9, 2009

Chapter 3: Ethics and Professionalism

Chapter 3 brings up the important issue of ethics and professionalism.  It covers the basic definition  and discusses how the two are relative within the Public Relations field. 


“Ethics is concerned with how we should live our lives.  It focuses on questions about what is right or wrong, fair or unfair, caring or uncaring, good or bad, responsible or irresponsible , and the like.”  This was quoted from J.A. Jaksa and M.S. Pritchard’s book Methods of Analysis. 

3 Basic Value Orientations:

  1. Absolute: believes that every decision is either right or wrong, regardless of the consequences.
  2. Existential: decides things on the basis of immediate practical choice.  This person seeks a balance between two extremes.
  3. Situational: believes that each decision is based on what would cause the least harm or the most good. 

PRSA (Public Relations Society of America):this is the largest public relations organization in the world, that offers short courses, seminars, teleconferences, and webcast throughout the year.  They also put out the PRSA Code of Ethics for its members.PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America)offers students across 287 campuses the opportunity to work in contact with the PRSA and gives experience in analytical skills and mature judgement. 

There are Codes of Conduct for Specific Situations:

  1. Financial Information
  2. Video News Releases
  3. Internet PR
  4. Corporate Practice

Ethics In Individual Practice:

  1. Be honest at all times
  2. Convey a sense of business ethics based on your own standards and those of society
  3. Respect the integrity and position of your opponents and audiences
  4. Develop trust by emphasizing substance over triviality


Practitioner should have:

  1. A sense of independence
  2. A sense of responsibility to society and the public interest
  3. Manifest concern for the competence and honor of the profession as a whole
  4. A higher loyalty to the standards of the profession and fellow professionals than to the employer of the moment.

Professionalism is linked with licensing, accreditation, education and research.

*All this information was taken from Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics: 9th Edition By: Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron


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