Teaching a Branded Ethical Conscience

With new technologies and a growing population, the world as we know it is slowly shrinking.  The workplace is no different.  Offices are becoming more streamlined, and traditional roles are slowly falling into the hands of others.  So what does this mean for public relations professionals?  A shift is taking place in business where we are seeing ethical issues being handled more by public relations teams, and less by human resources.

Savvy public relations professionals know ethics is an important aspect in society.   Not many actions can be managed without finding some sort of balance between society’s perceptions of right or wrong.  But, with the reins of ethical management now placed in the hands of public relations, are schools providing enough training, or are they leaving the student to determine the fine line between black and white on their own?

Most training programs for public relations focus on developing a brand, and giving students the necessary skills to persuade a wide variety of audiences to find faith in a product or service.  Many courses will only mention the importance of ethics.  This leaves the individual creating their own ethical conscience, and increases the risk of blurring right and wrong.

The concepts of moral integrity are often taken for granted.  Human nature dictates that we should all have an understanding of honesty, integrity, loyalty, and accountability.  Alas, these concepts need to be taught thoroughly for a person to truly benefit.

By providing greater insight into the values of ethics for students, professors will be able to build stronger core values and a better balance for their protégés’ future endeavours.  After all, why not teach a subject that has built the foundations of public relations?

–Eli Duern

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2 Responses to Teaching a Branded Ethical Conscience

  1. This is a great point, the teaching of right and wrong should never be excluded from formal education. Differentiating the two can be difficult, but a fine line it is not. The “shades of grey” are were the majority of PR happens. Creativity, imagination, innovation, and revolution all reside in this line. Teaching right and wrong is important, but being able to identify the aspects of grey is invaluable.

  2. Shauna says:

    While I agree with your statement about human nature and how it dictates that we should all have an understanding of honesty, integrity, loyalty and accountability, I disagree that this is something the professors of post secondary school should be required to teach. It is not the professors responsibility to embed these qualities into an individual. It is sad to think that once a person reaches this higher level of education that they have not been exposed to or taught much about these concepts. Too much is placed on the professors and teachers to teach our children, when qualities like the ones mentioned should, in fact, be taught by the parents. It is time for parents to be held more accountable.

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