Public Relations Ethics Versus Professional Practice - Paper Example

2021-08-23 08:55:02
6 pages
1388 words
Boston College
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IntroductionPublic relation is often seen as a strategic corporate conscience that creates mutual relationship amongst organizations such as business enterprises, private ventures, non-profit making organizations, government agencies, and the public (Theaker, 2013). The public relations spread messages and information among the parties involved. The aim of public relation is to impress the audience to have a positive view of the organizations. However, fruitful public relations fit well with ethics of moral principles governing conducts of activities and social responsibility. Public relations apply the accepted code of behavior (ethics) to disseminate information. The elements of public relations ethics encompass honesty, openness, integrity, loyalty, fairness, integrity, respect, fairness, timely and accurate communication in interacting with the audience. The encompasses of public relations ethics need to have a central role in public relations because unethical public relations compromise professional practice.

The public relations ethics and professional practice is a balancing act between the interests of the organization and the public. It can be challenging to balance these interests of the public and the organizations because the codes of ethics are not universal among the public relations professionals. Public relations consciously cover up organizations reputation from the public. It can be catastrophic for the organization and the public to assume that the public relations professionals and the public regardless of culture and situation abide by the same ethical standards. Have you ever wondered why some businesses in the neighboring doors offering the same services have higher customer preferences than others? The aim of this essay paper is to justify the link between the public relations ethics and professional practice.

Connection between Public Relations Ethics and Professional Practice

The ethical position of public relations is a powerful task with associated challenging responsibilities. Practising professional and ethical public relations is a challenging task as it clears misleading information. The misleading information could be coming from the enemies of the corporation, competitors or even disgruntled employees. The public relations ethics and promotes inferior products of the company. The public relations professional practice is challenging and powerful in that it handles political discrimination and influence whereas it is powerful for it influences management actions. Professional public relations practice dictate that the basic ethical principles are followed consistently when interacting (Theaker & Yaxley, 2017).

Public relations ethics and professional practice require business organizations and the related institutions to never deceit or to disseminate misleading information to consumers. Spreading false information about an organization to have the edge over another business is unethical. The professional practice of public relations requires the public relations officer give countering facts against the deceiving information. For instance, in business, an information may be spreading that the company is making severe losses to the extent that it is disposing some assets and laying off some staff. This information may be originating from an unreliable source such as a competitor or an employee who is not satisfied. The public relations officer is tasked to give facts on the correct position of the company. The public relations officer will further condemn the unethical attempt to tarnish and dent the image of the company. By clearing the misconception, the public relations manager acts in public relations ethics for professional practice.

When the organization is releasing information, the target audience who are interested in information should be in mind. Otherwise, releasing information without a particular target will amount to unprofessional practice. It is the responsibility of the PR officer to identify the specific target for which the information is intended and advise the organizational accordingly before the information is released. Public relations ethics dictate that consumers of information should receive desired information without any distortion. If the information is not received by the intended recipients, the information will be irrelevant and of no value. Therefore, the irrelevant disseminated information will question the professional practice and the ethical standards of the organization. For instance, in a queue of customers waiting to be served, there could be a sick client. The public relations officer seeking to help the ailing client should inform the other clients in the queue of the need to facilitate fast attention to him or her. Otherwise, the other clients may perceive the effort as unfair assistance and raise unethical concerns. This information may be very irrelevant if the public relations officer informs the cleaner about the situation.

It is unethical and unprofessional to act on the legal framework. The PR ethical provisions require that all transactions, procedures, and practices must be within the stipulated laws and procedures. When, for instance, there is job listing, interviews, promotions within the organizations and even demotions and terminations of service the PR officer ensures that no legal requirement is not met when implementing the action. Following the law is not only a legal requirement but also an ethical practice which creates a connection between the public relations ethics and professional practice.

As a public relation professional in an organization, one is in access to diverse information which is either private, confidential or meant for public consumption. The public relation ethics requires that information which belongs to an individual or confidential must be treated as such. Information which must be authorized by the organizations management must not be accessed by or disclosed to any other person, without direct permission from the organization. There is data or information held by a government or organization about people. This data and information may be seen by authorized persons without the knowledge of the owner. However, it should not be used for commercial gain or any other unofficial purpose without the owner being informed. Any breach of creates a disconnect between the public relations and professional practice.

Public relations ethics demand that an organization or business must not release any information before a thorough check for accuracy and facts are done. An organization should compose a team that critically check for the accuracy of information before it is released to the intended recipients. Once the fact checking agencies are satisfied by the information, it should sign off the details. The signing off is both a public relations ethical code of conduct and professional practice.

The actions of the public relations dictate that the decisions and implementations of policies should not favor the interests of one party against the other. These unbiased should be evident in recruitment, servicing, interviewing, advising or when defining what constitutes employment. Failure to observe these unbiased actions will constitute unethical and unprofessional practices.

When the organization is venturing into a tendering, bidding or auctioning process, public relation ethics require the organization to practice a standard process in a transparent manner. The information that is received by the interested parties should uphold high standards of ethical practices as laid down in the organization's policies and guidelines. For instance, an institution auctioning organizations asset sets a transparent and open guideline. The biding fee should be indicated for the interested bidders and stated if the amount is refundable or not. During the actual auctioning day, the activity is conducted openly with a due briefing of the process. The public relations ethics require the transparent and reasonable bid as the professional practice.


An organization that can strike a balance between the public relations ethics and professional practice facilitate smooth organizations decision making and profitability in a symmetrical manner. Public relations ethics provide customized, needs-based services for organizations that recognize that value of integrating public relations ethics into their day-to-day workplace practices (Parsons,2016).

The focal point of public relations is conscience target audience in mind when releasing any information. All actions undertaken by the public relations officer should be by the provisions of the law. Information regarding individuals or organizations, whether private or public, must be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Information and activities desired for public consumption must be disseminated transparently and without any malice. Public relations should always avoid biases when carrying out activities within the organization and those relating to the public. Due process should be followed when awarding promotions or dismissing individuals. By applying the principles of public relations ethics, individuals and institutions will uphold professional practice in their day to day operations.


Theaker, A. (2013). The public relations handbook. Routledge.Theaker, A., & Yaxley, H. (2017). The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit: An essential guide to successful public relations practice. Routledge.Parsons, P. J. (2016). Ethics in public relations: A guide to best practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

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