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1
The Ideal Professional?
The Challenge of Ethics in Public
Communication
Patricia J. Parsons APR, FCPRS
Professor, Depart...
2
"You must be the change you
wish to see in the world."
-Mahatma Gandhi
3
Definition of ethics??
• Ethics is drawing a black
line through a grey area.
4
Which one are you? One of…
 Those who don’t care about ethics.
 Those who don’t think anything
can be done anyway.
 T...
5
Public relations & corporate
communications are “dirty work”
 They are “morally tainted.”
6
A professional’s primary mission is to
serve society…As individuals we need…
 Integrity
 Competence
7
Loyalties in Public Communication
…a constituent to whom the public
communication professional owes a
duty and who in re...
8
Four Main Loyalties for Public Communication
Professionals
Your
organization
Your
profession
Society
Yourself
9
Best
decision in
an ideal
world
The most
unethical
decision
Aristotle’s “Golden Mean”
Step 1 To a continuum
10
The continuum of ethical decisions
The ideal decision
The second-best option
The slippery slope
The lesser evil
The lin...
11
How about doing
nothing?
The only thing necessary for the
triumph of evil is for good men to
do nothing. (Edmund Burke)
12
“The measure of a man’s real
character is what he would
do if he knew he would never
be found out.”
Thomas B. Maccaulay
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The Ideal Professional? The Challenge of Ethics in Public Communication

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Presented to Health Canada Corporate Communication Managers, Ottawa, 2008.

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The Ideal Professional? The Challenge of Ethics in Public Communication

  1. 1. 1 The Ideal Professional? The Challenge of Ethics in Public Communication Patricia J. Parsons APR, FCPRS Professor, Department of Communication Studies Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS Presented to Health Canada Corporate Communication Managers
  2. 2. 2 "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi
  3. 3. 3 Definition of ethics?? • Ethics is drawing a black line through a grey area.
  4. 4. 4 Which one are you? One of…  Those who don’t care about ethics.  Those who don’t think anything can be done anyway.  Those who wouldn’t know an ethical dilemma if they fell over one.  Those who are working actively to make some changes.
  5. 5. 5 Public relations & corporate communications are “dirty work”  They are “morally tainted.”
  6. 6. 6 A professional’s primary mission is to serve society…As individuals we need…  Integrity  Competence
  7. 7. 7 Loyalties in Public Communication …a constituent to whom the public communication professional owes a duty and who in return places a trust in that professional and what he or she represents.
  8. 8. 8 Four Main Loyalties for Public Communication Professionals Your organization Your profession Society Yourself
  9. 9. 9 Best decision in an ideal world The most unethical decision Aristotle’s “Golden Mean” Step 1 To a continuum
  10. 10. 10 The continuum of ethical decisions The ideal decision The second-best option The slippery slope The lesser evil The line you won’t cross
  11. 11. 11 How about doing nothing? The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke)
  12. 12. 12 “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.” Thomas B. Maccaulay

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