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Values in action.

Ethics Codes

Govern what we are willing to do and what we are unwilling to do; offer guidelines for values-driven PR.

International Code

Emerge as organizations build relationships with publics in other nations.

Societal Code

Codes from religions and communities.

Professional Code

PR has no central, binding code; practitioners voluntarily join organizations with binding codes; doctors and lawyers have this.

Organizational Code

Organizations have written codes employees follow.

Personal Code

Individual ethical codes.

Objectivity or Advocacy

Debate for PR practitioners.


Deal with issue of selective truth.


Difficult situations in which important values clash and every potential situation will cause pain.


Can cloud judgment; we have an ethical responsibility to control quality of our work.

Legal/Ethical Confusion

What is legal isn't always ethical and vice versa.

Cultural Relativism

Belief that no set of ethics is superior to any other.

Cultural Imperialism

Belief that your system of ethics has no flexibility and overrules every other system.

Short-term Thinking

Short term problems solved at too high a cost; lead to long-term problems.

Virtual Organizations

Emerging threat to ethics. Temporary organizations formed by smaller units to fulfill a specific job.

Higher Financial Success

Ethical organizations have...


Logical outcome of ethical behavior

Corporate Social Responsibility

Way to build trust over time; positive force for change; organizations that practice this are good corporate citizens.

Fully Functioning Theory

Through PR organizations should address social needs by using 2-way communication to build consensus and discover shared goals.

Top Management

Ethical behavior starts with...

Strengthen Ethics

Establish periodic ethical audits, integrate values in 4-step process, develop a Potter Box

Potter Box

Helps analyze individual ethics crises.

Potter Box

Define the situation objectively; state different values involved in the situation and compare merits of other values; consider traditional ethical principles; identify all stakeholders; select action that embraces most compelling values, principles, and loyalties; evaluate impact of decisions.

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