Chapter 3: Ethics and Professionalism

15 03 2009

(Notes from Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron)
spaceballspaceball1There are 3 different types of belief systems:

1.  Absolute:  “The absolutist believes that every decision is either ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ regardless of the consequences.  It is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant that the end cannot justify the means.”

2.  Existential:  “The existentialist, whose choices are not made in a prescribed value system decides ont he basis of immediate practical choice.  This approach is somewhat grounded in Aristotle’s idea that individuals should seek a balance, or midpoint, between two extremities.  In other words, Aristotle would disagree with Kant by saying, ‘never say never.'”

3.  Situational:  “The situationalist believes that each decision is based on what would cause the least harm or the most good.  This often is called the utilitarian approach.  This concept was advanced by John Stuart Mill, who believed the end could justify the means as long as the result benefited the greatest number of people.”

Four-Way Test for ethics in decision making:

(1.) Is it the truth?  (2.) Is it fair to all concerned?  (3.) Will it build goodwill and better friendships?  (4.) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Professional PR organizations–

PRSSA- Public relations Student Society of America

IABC- The International Association of Business Communicators

IPRA- The International Public Relations Association

  • *All professional PR organizations have a code of ethics**



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