Ethics in Public Relations

Stack of green business related Books Royalty Free Stock Photo

          Ethics in public relations, as any other profession, should be considered very carefully by all specialists. Things have to be done properly and honestly within all groups of employers, whether they may or may not work with the same people all the time. The public has to learn how to execute their actions in the most appropriate way possible.

            “While increasing attention is being paid by people in public relations to ethical theory, the predominant ethical perspective in the field is still situational. The reason for this, at least in part, is the loss of the traditional grounds of moral objectivity—tradition, religion, and universal reason. (Leeper, 1996).  Event eight years ago, challenges were appearing within peoples ethical analyses of their own and others morals. In public relations, honesty is the number one priority in everything a person does. Well, at least it should be your number one priority.  

            “It’s all about public trust. Public trust involves professional practitioners, the fields we practice in and the domains-the institutions that legitimize our work, that provide the codes of ethics, technical standards, and personal values that we uphold.” (Atkin, 2003). If you are always being the most honest you can be, at all times, then people are more likely to trust in your decisions. If you are able to maintain this type of relationship between co-workers, the practice becomes second nature and keeps consistent a set of ethics.

            Ethics in public relations could have issues in all sorts of areas. For example, in sports there can be ethical issues in judging a sports contest. Ethics and morals occur in governmental issues, sales revenue, choosing and assessing information, legislation and policy issues, and many other subjects. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation said “there were perhaps tens of millions in bribes and hundreds of millions in lost revenue.” (Atkin, 2003). This statement seems a bit absurd. There were “perhaps” millions of bribes? People are being unethical when they let things slide by as if doing immoral actions will not have any effect on future outcomes. I think that for this to happen, it is sad to see first off, and also makes me wonder where society will be in future decades.

Corporate Business Hands Holding Earth Friendly Green World Fragile Globe Royalty Free Stock Photo



Atkin, N. (2003). Ethics and public relations from an assessment perspective. Assessment             Journal, 10(1), 41-51. Retrieved from

Leeper, R.V.  (01/01/1996).  Moral Objectivity, Jurgen Habermas’s Discourse Ethics, and Public Relations.  Public relations review. ,  22 (2), p. 133 – 50.


Why Research in PR?

Planning Your Research Royalty Free Stock Photo

            Research in public relations is essential for understanding a particular target market, demographic, psychographic, lifestyles, and anything else you can think of. It is very important to have a well grounded understanding and background information about the group(s) you are going to be tailoring your promotions to. Research is one of the most important things when it comes to many things in life. In public relations it is crucial to break down every bit of each segment and explore the different pros, cons, possibilities, challenges, strengths, competition, you name it!

            “PR models should be analyzed and understood in depth with respect to “political context, culture and social”; rather than defining it narrowly.” (Khodarahmi, 2009). This statement couldn’t have put it in a better way.  To be able to have a strong business up and running, things have to be extremely strategic in that specific work environment. All employees have certain ideas they can incorporate, they have specific jobs they have to execute properly and accordingly. If things are not in-sync with each other, how do you know it will go well? There’s always a possibility of simple mistakes when people don’t pay attention and contribute their part of the research. “In order to be successful in this endeavor, a public relations program must be adjusted to the group of people to whom it is directed.” (Lang, 1951).  Even in the 50s they knew they had to come up with a strategic plan to be able to perform well.

            “Another wide field of research includes procedures relating to the selection, placement, and training of personnel. Tests are available for measuring aptitude, ability, intelligence, achievements, personality, interest, and attitudes.” (Lang, 1951).  Research in public relations is important to all aspects of the exploration.

            “Research allows us to show results, to measure impact, and to refocus our efforts based on those numbers.” (Public Relations v. 1.0, 2012). Besides that research is important to show the different results of facts that were found, it is also an important aspect to use the many different routes of research. By this, I mean, depending on what you are exploring, you may need to find primary research for your topic or group, or maybe only secondary research. All and all, research is extremely crucial to understanding the background and specifics of whatever it is you may be searching for!

R and D signpost Royalty Free Stock Photo    Examine the world Royalty Free Stock Vector Art Illustration


Khodarahmi, E. (2009). Strategic public relations. Disaster Prevention and Management, 18(5),   529-534. doi:

Lang, F. The Role of Research in Public Relations The Public Opinion Quarterly , Vol. 15, No. 1   (Spring, 1951) , pp. 54-64. Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. URL:

Public Relations v. 1.0. (2012) Purpose and Forms of Research, 8.2. doi:        research.html