Public Relations Ethics Complete Notes: Part 1 [4.0ed the final exam]

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Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations
COM CM 525
All Professors

COM CM 525 Exam Study Guide Fill in the blank and short answer questions. Nothing onArthur Page Be able to define these terms: Judeo-Christian ethics (FB p. 178) Concept of loving thy neighbor as they self Categorical imperative (FB p. 178) developed by Kant as a duty-based moral philosophy Kant believed in the duty to tell the truth even if it resulted in harming others Progressive relativism (FB p. 178) Kant; believes what is right or good for one is not necessarily right or good for another Aristotle’s golden mean (FB p. 136), Advocates that a person of moral maturity would naturally seek the action that would further moral character The moral mean is different for each person and is acquired through good character, moral maturity, and the ability to perceive a situation accurately as it pertains to the individual Utilitarian considerations (FB p. 136) Grounded on a theory of ethics based on quantitative maximizations of some good for society or humanity Utilitarianism (Bentham)▯ concept of utility: the good is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people Stuart Mill▯ considered cultural and spiritual happiness to be of greater value than physical pleasures alone Consequences-based morality (FB p. 117) know names, metanorms, end of pg118 Which action or policy promotes the best overall consequences or the greatest utility for all parties? Involves the principle of enlightened self-interest (egoism), which suggests that an action is morally right if it promotes a party’s long-term interests Duty-based morality (FB p. 117) Can the maxim underlying the course of the action being considered be universalized? Is the principle of fair play being violated? If there appear to be conflicting duties, which is the stronger duty? Rights-based morality (FB p. 118) Which action or policy best protects the human and legal rights of the individuals involved? Does the proposed action impede the basic requirements of human flourishing? Teleological ethics (DKW 1 p. 528) Incorporated by consequence-based ethics that suggests that the obtained result is what’s important The ends justify the means when the benefits exceed the costs “teleos”= “the good” or “the end” Deontological ethics (DKW 1 p. 528) Rejects utilitarianism and argues that people must employ proper means and act with good intentions regardless of outcomes “deon”= “duty” or “obligation” Kant▯ categorical imperative, which argued that all human actions must be fair and honest Ethics are divided into three related subareas (DKW 1, p. 526): Meta-ethics Attempts to assign meaning to the abstract language of moral philosophy Normative ethics Provides the foundation for decision making through the development of general rules and principles of moral conduct Applied ethics Concerned with using these theoretical norms to solve real-world ethical problems Be able to answer these short-answer or essay questions: 1. Describe how the US has struggled with regulating commercial and political advocacy. (FB pp. 4-8—won’t need for exam) i. Marketplace theory▯ “truth” will emerge from public debate and be determined by the people who evaluate competing ideas and messages ii. SC has consistently ruled that “free speech” that makes a direct contribution to the exchange of ideas is entitled to special protection iii. SC has recognized that both individuals and organizations enjoy the FirstAmendment protection to participate in public discussion and debate on matters of public interest and concern, thus corporate political speech is not subjected to greater regulation just b/c of the commercial nature of the enterprise iv. The most significant exceptions have been in cases involving corporate speech related to election campaigns and financial matters, where the SC recognized a need to ensure just elections and protect fair investment markets v. Commercial speech is defined by the Court as “speech which does no more than propose a commercial transaction” a) Does occupy a “lower rung” on the SC’s hierarchy of First Amendment values and is therefore subject to a higher degree of regulation 2. Know and understand the positions ofAristotle, Socrates and Plato as pointed out in FB p. 136 and DKW 1 p. vi. Aristotle (Plato’s student)- golden mean (see above) a) argued moral virtue often required touch choices vii. Socrates (came first)- study of ethics began with him, who claimed virtue could be identified and practiced viii. Plato (Socrates’ disciple)- advocated moral conduct even in situations when responsible behavior might run counter to societal norms 3. Know and understand Richard Spinello’s thoughts about the moral quandaries of Internet technology (FB pp. 117-118). ix. Argues that ethics are more than just social norms x. Contends that ethics serve as meta-norms that represent universal values that ought to play a directive role in influencing all the factors Lessing cites—laws, the market, system, architecture and social norms xi. Suggested the following operative moral questions (see above for definitions): a) Consequences-based morality b) Duty-based morality c) Rights-based morality 4. What does Kathy Fitzpatrick say are the four baselines for establishing responsible advocacy in public relations? (FB pp. 9-13) xii. 1. Access a) The speaker’s access to the market and a listener’s access to information are of paramount importance to the proper functioning of the marketplace xiii. 2. Process a) the marketplace of ideas requires a properly functioning forum of public dialogue and debate▯ the process of deciding policy is more important than the process itself b) PR professionals must consider whether their advocacy contributes to or interferes with marketplace processes xiv. 3. Truth a) the marketplace concept relies on the fundamental premise that truth will emerge from ideas and messages competing in a public forum, and any effort to achieve an alternative end interferes with the basic intent of the marketplace xv. 4. Disclosure a) in the commercial marketplace, full disclosure of material information is required b) disclosure of timely, relevant, and complete info is important in times of crisis when info voids can be particularly harmful 5. ***Summarize what author Tom Bivens says about responsibility and accountability. (FB Ch. 2) xvi. Responsibility= a sphere of duty or obligation assigned to a person by the nature of that person’s position, function, or work; can also include moral obligation xvii. Accountability= blaming or crediting someone for an action a) Aperson can be accountable if: a. The person is functionally and/or morally responsible for an action b. Some harm occurred due to that action c. The responsible person had no legit excuse for the action xviii. 6. ***Summarize what Karla Gower says about truth and transparency in her chapter (FB Ch. 6) 7. Why doesAl Golin say, “Trust is the most basic element of social contact?” (FB pp. 92-93) xix. Trust is the basis of every relationship xx. Says that every stakeholder has expectations of an organization and trust is the belief that a company will do its utmost to meet those expectations 8. What set the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill apart from other environmental public relations crises? (FB p. 98) xxi. Bc the public perceived Exxon as arrogant and uncaring 9. What does Jay Black say about propaganda? (FB p. 158) Do you agree? Why or why not? xxii.Apresumption of manipulation and control, if not outright coercion, that dehumanizes the audiences or intended “victims” of propaganda xxiii. Power imbalance b/w propagandists and propagandees xxiv. Does not aim for open-mindedness among members of its audience, but rather seeks adherence to the particular viewpoint being promoted xxv. BUT does point out that propaganda can be part of the open marketplace of ideas xxvi. Says balance must be maintained 10. Summarize what Jim Grunig and Jon White say about connections between public relations and ethics/social responsibility (FB p. 137). xxvii. Say that PR should be based on a worldview that incorporates ethics into the process of PR xxviii. PR managers should be ‘inside the door’ of management in all kinds of organizations where they can provide internal social reports on the organization’s public performance 11. What four criteria compose the foundation of all systems of ethics? (FB p. 173) xxix. Shared values xxx. Wisdom xxxi. Justice xxxii. Freedom 12. According to LouisA. Day, what would happen if we let people establish their own standards of conduct? (FB p. 174) xxxiii. It would “invite social anarchy”, ethical anarchy 13. Discuss the strengths and limitations of codes of ethics in public relations. (FB p. 183; DKW 1 pp. 531-532; DKW 2; Kruckeberg) xxxiv. Limitations a) b/c of their voluntary nature, they have an inability to be enforced b) it is not likely thatAmerican communication professionals will ever become licensed by the gov’t c) the fact that there are no legal restrictions on the practice of communication means that any person, qualified or not, can do so d) not taken seriously by many of those who practice PR e) they protect neither the client nor the public xxxv. Strengths a) Every code of conduct comes with a sense of charisma that enhances the professionalism and occupational selfworth of practitioners who subscribe to it b) Can grant prestige to the practitioner c) Can be helpful to professional newcomers by educating them about moral guidelines and sensitizing them to ethical problems generic to their field d) These codes often serve as the catalyst for professional and public scrutiny e) Their voluntary nature can serve to limit the need for bothersome gov’t regulations f) Provide guidelines for practitioners g) Illustrate what clients and supervisors should expect from practitioners h) Provide a basis for charges that wrongdoing has occurred i) Provide defense against charges of wrongdoing j) Best way to refrain from leaving moral judgments to individual interpretations 14. Discuss the similarities and differences between law and ethics. (FB pp. 15-17; DKW 1 p. 530) xxxvi. Law a) Differences b/w what is good and bad b) Often challenged by members of society who do not believe they are good xxxvii. Ethics a) Focuses on the differences b/w right and wrong b) Laws are usually consistent with ethical philosophy xxxviii. Although a law can be bad, something ethically good always should be right xxxix. Societies make and change laws, but ethical principles remain constant
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