These notes are taken from Chapter 3, Ethics and Professionalism, from the text Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics.

Ethics, according to the text, “is concerned with how we should live our lives. It focuses on questions about what is right or wrong, fair or unfair, caring or uncaring, good or bad, responsible or irresponsible, and the like.”

Three basic value orientations, according to philosophers, are:

  • Absolute. Every decision is either right or wrong, regardless of the consequences. The end cannot justify the means.
  • Existential. Choices are made based off of immediate and practical choice. Grounded in Aristotle’s belief that individuals should seek a balence or midpoint between two extremes.
  • Situational. Each decision is based on what  would cause the least harm or the most good.

Public Relations professionals, bearing the burden of maintaining ethical considerations, must consider:

  • The public interest
  • The employer’s self-interests
  • The standards of the Public Relations profession
  • Their personal values
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