By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
Just like a structure is built upon a foundation, the practice of public relations is built upon a foundation, too.
It’s called ethics.
And, anyone who purports to provide public relations counsel should have a solid grasp of established ethical standards and guidelines. What’s more, serious PR professionals should identify and call out those who violate the rules.
After all, without adherence to sound ethical principles, public relations devolves into hucksterism, or worse, propaganda.
So, how well do you know what’s within the boundaries of ethics in public relations today? In recognition of PRSA Ethics Month, spend a few minutes taking this pop quiz courtesy of the PRDude.
I’ll provide the answers later. Or write a comment and share your thoughts.
If you need a refresher, read the current PRSA State of Professional Values and Provisions of Conduct.
1. You’re the account manager for a new client landed by your agency. During the first face-to-face meeting with the client, you want t0 capture everything that’s discussed; so you record the conversation — but don’t tell the client or your colleagues.
Is this a breach of ethics? If so, which provision?
2. ABC Amalgamated is celebrating its 50th anniversary. As the director of communications, one of your responsibilities is to order logo merchandise for use at anniversary events. Your old friend, a fraternity brother, owns a promotional products company in town. The friend offers your company a discount to get the order. You ask your superior if you could do business with your friend.
Are you violating any ethical standards? If so, which one?
3. As head of business development, you’re asked by agency leaders to complete a new business RFP. The prospective client is a manufacturer of an agricultural product that is under investigation by the EPA for being unsafe. Before the RFP is due, you learn though a source at the EPA that the product will be approved.
Does the PRSA provision of safeguarding confidences apply here?
These should be fairly easy for most of us in the industry, and it should be noted I figuratively pulled these scenarios out of thin air.
Want some more challenging ethics-themed questions? Take this challenging test prepared earlier this year by the Detroit PRSA Chapter. And, another full disclosure: I didn’t get all 10 questions correct.
Want more on ethics?