4) EXPLAIN THE NEED FOR ETHICAL PUBLIC RELATIONS IN RELATION TO THE CONSCIENCE OF AN ORGANIZATION.
The importance of ethics is not only visible in public relations alone; on the contrary it encompasses each and every aspect of our daily life. The public relations of organisations that lack ethical principles are bound to fail sooner or later. The field of ethics, also called moral philosophy, involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. It is defined by Parsons (2008:28) as the application of knowledge, understanding and reasoning to questions of right or wrong behavior. With this definition one can say that ethics are personal values system that ...view middle of the document...
The central responsibility for ethical organizational decision-making should be seen in terms of helping an organization communicate with its stakeholders and its publics. Helping an organization to be accountable for its behavior should be seen as one of the primary contributions of effective public relations.
Organizations’ today because of economic, social situations operate in a competitive environment. Therefore, they constantly need the services of their public relations department to be effective. Public relations practitioners have an important role to communicate between various sectors in business and public communities. Hook (2006) maintains that public relations is not just representing the organisation to the public, they must also represent the public to the organisation. For this reason, the need for ethical public relations practitioners is to help employees to understand how the public perceives their organisation’s actions. If the profession of public relations is seen as ethical, then the public will be more likely to accept the actions of public relations practitioners. For this reason, professional public relations practitioners today are extremely sensitive about ethics (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). Consequently, to be successful, public relations practitioners are required to make intelligent and analytical decisions on situations that otherwise might damage an organisation’s ethics and also reputation.
Public relations practitioners are using ethics to change unethical situations to ethical situations. Therefore, depending on these values one can say that public relations is frequently seen as the ethical heart of an organisation because they are making ethical decisions essential to establish relationships between the organisation and its public, (Seitel, 1998:77). This view is supported by IPMZ Public Relations module (2011:29) that public relations have the responsibilities to balance the needs of the society with the needs of clients , during this public communication process , public relations practitioners act as spanners, connecting the firm with the public and engage in both speaking and listening in order to practice ethical communication. As a result, one can say that, ethics is an indispensable part of the organisation. Therefore, public relations practitioners must be honest and trustworthy, acting at all times in the public interest.
Bowen (2010) argued that public relations can go beyond the role of relationship building to providing the information that a democracy needs to function, allowing organizations to be known and understood by citizens and governing bodies. This view requires the moral autonomy to be an objective counselor to the organization, rather than being co-opted by it (Bowen, 2006).
Ethical public relations are a practical thing to do as it protects the organisations from legal and regulatory problems. It also helps organizations build credible and action based relationship with its...