Posted by: loveleigh | March 27, 2009

Ch. 3: Ethics and Professionalism

What is Ethics?

“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.” said J.A. Jaksa and M.S. Pritchard in their book Methods of Analysis.

A person’s belief system can also determine how that person acts in a specific situation and the three basic value orientations are…

Absolute. Believes every decision is “right” or “wrong,” regardless of the consequences. The end cannot justify the means.

Existential. Seeks a balance between two extremes and decides by choosing the immediate practical choice.

Situational. Believes that each decision is based on what would cause the least harm or the most good.

Golden Rule: “treat others as you would like to be treated”

Professional organizations like Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) help develop the standards of ethical, professional public relations practice.

PRSA. is the largest national public relations organization in the world with about 22,00 members that are organized in 110 chapters nationwide. This organization develops professionalism by offering many workshops and seminars with topics such as crisis communication strategy, media relations building, strategic management planning, and many more. Their website can be found at

PRSSA. is the student group of PRSA. This organization has 287 campus chapters with about 10,000 student members. They hold  regional and national conventions actively promoting mentoring between students and professionals in the field. Their website can be found at

PRSA’s Code of Ethics: includes six core values

1. Advocacy– serving the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for clients or employers.

2. Honesty– adhering to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of clients and employers.

3. Expertise– advancing the profession through continued professional development, research, and education.

4. Independence– providing objective counsel and being accountable for individual actions.

5. Loyalty– being faithful to clients and employers, but also honoring an obligation to serve the public interest.

6. Fairness– respecting all opinions and supporting the right of free expression.

This information has been provided by Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics (9th edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron


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