A Qualitative Examination of Public Relations Practitioner Ethical Decision Making and the Deontological Theory of Ethical Issues Management

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 25 (3):226-245 (2011)
Abstract
Public relations practitioners are uniquely positioned to promote ethical communication and practice. As Kruckeberg (2000) explained, “public relations practitioners-if they prove worthy of the task—will be called upon to be corporate—that is organizational—interpreters and ethicists and social policy-makers, charged with guiding organizational behavior as well as influencing and reconciling public perceptions within a global context (p. 37).” Public relations practitioners, however, may never take an ethics course as a student, receive on-the-job ethical training, or use the many professional codes of ethics available to them. This lack begs the question: How are they tackling the various ethical decisions they face? This study examines how public relations professionals engage in ethical decision making and make meaning of deontological ethical models. Such inquiry regarding ethical decision making may assist public relations practitioners and scholars to better understand themselves, serve society, and advance the communication profession
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