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Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. More information about this seller Contact this seller 5. Condition: New. Ethical questions and dilemmas are inherent to public relations, and ensuring that practitioners operate ethically is fundamental to the professionalism and credibility of the field.

Ethics in Public Relations gives readers the tools and knowledge to enable them to make defensible decisions, and outlines the important ethical concerns in public relations and corporate communications. Overall, the purpose of Ethics in Public Relations is threefold: to provide a framework for understanding important ethical issues in public relations and corporate communications now and in the future; to help develop an attitude that supports the concept that ethics are key to professionalism and credibility in the field; to assist in everyday ethical decision-making Printed Pages: Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller 6.

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Published by Kogan Page Ltd. About this Item: Kogan Page Ltd. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory B More information about this seller Contact this seller About this Item: Condition: good. Used products do not contain supplements and some products may include highlighting and writing. Published by Kogan Page Ltd About this Item: Kogan Page Ltd, Condition: Brand New. In Stock. Seller Inventory x Published by Kogan Page Mrz About this Item: Kogan Page Mrz , Condition: Neu.

Neuware - Ethical practice in any professional discipline is guided by age-old philosophical perspectives, but its modern parameters are continually evolving. Ongoing developments in technology, social media and social contexts mean that public relations and its practices are constantly changing, and so do the ethical questions faced by practitioners in the field. Engaging and accessible, Ethics in Public Relations offers a lively exploration of the key ethical concerns present in the public relations world today by way of practical tips and guidance to support those in PR and corporate communications.

Written by a leading academic in the field, this fully updated third edition of Ethics in Public Relations includes an entirely new chapter on the uses of ethics in social media, covering topical issues such as blogger engagement and the relationship between employee social media activity and organizational reputation. Seller Inventory BD Language: English. Brand new Book. Ethical practice in any professional discipline is guided by age-old philosophical perspectives, but its modern parameters are continually evolving.

Seller Inventory AA Seller Inventory BTE Ongoing developments in technology, social media and social contexts mean that public relations and its practices in particular are constantly changing, and so are the ethical questions faced by practitioners in the field. Ethical questions and dilemmas are inherent to public relations, and ensuring that practitioners operate ethically is fundamental to both the professionalism and credibility of the field.

It covers topics including the roles which lies, truth and honesty play; utilitarianism; practising respect and morality; authorship; conflicts of interest; PR and the corporate ethics programme; moonlighting; the impact of whistleblowing and more. Seller Inventory LHB About this Item: Kogan Page , Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is hours from our warehouse. While some evidence exists on a relationship between organizational ethics factors and ethical decision-making behavior of employees in ethics literature, no previous studies have empirically applied this relationship to public relations firms.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to empirically investigate the determinants of ethical practices of public relations practitioners within public relations firms. In particular, this study focuses on four specific organizational ethics factors—the existence of an ethics code, a favorable ethical climate, top management support for ethical practices, and a strong association between ethical practice and career success in the firm.

These factors are assessed in terms of their influence on ethical practices of public relations professionals and the extent to which they successfully promote ethical behavior. The outcome of this study will contribute to both scholarship and practice within the public relations field. Investigating the determinants of ethical practice of public relations is important as it increases scholars' and practitioners' understanding of the factors associated with ethical public relations practices. Additionally, considering the consequences of ethics in public relations practices is a fruitful avenue for continued public relations ethics research.

Scholars have continually added to the empirical evidence supporting the efficacy of ethics codes in discouraging unethical practices Bennett ; Ferrell and Skinner ; Hegarty and Sims ; McCabe et al. Moreover, scholars have claimed several direct and indirect benefits of ethics codes for companies, such as: 1 improvement of the company's bottom line Leeper ; Werner , 2 protection during litigation or regulatory actions White and Montgomery , 3 promotion of corporate social responsibility, positive employee behavior, management, and corporate culture Robin et al.

Since the mere existence of ethics codes in firms may correspond with only a limited impact on ethical practices, scholars conducting ethics studies have made an attempt to pinpoint the determinants of the codes' efficacy. In a meta-analytic review of key efficacy factors of ethics codes in ethics literature, Ford and Richardson broadly divided the determinants into two groups— individual factors and situational factors e.

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Individual factors include variables that are a result of birth e. These variables embody the sum of one's life experiences and circumstances of birth that an individual brings to the ethical decision-making process Ford and Richardson As these individual factors are predetermined and cannot be controlled by public relations firms, this study focuses primarily on situational factors.

In particular, this study assesses three organizational ethics factors—ethical climate, top management support for ethical behavior, and the association between career success in the organization and ethical practices—in addition to the existence of an ethics code. In ethics studies, organizational 1 culture has gained attention as a primary influential factor of ethical behavior. To emphasize the importance of organizational culture, Cassel et al. Organizational culture is the common set of assumptions, beliefs, and values that develops within an organization to cope with the external and internal environment and that is passed on to new members to guide their actions with respect to these environments Schein The presence of ethics codes in public relations firms represents one way of communicating ethical standards to public relations professionals in those firms.

As such, favorable organizational factors, such as top management support for ethical behavior, a favorable ethical climate, and a strong association between ethical practice and career success in the public relations firms, can boost the impact of ethics codes on public relations professionals' behavior.

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For ease of reference, these factors are termed organizational ethics variables. Since Victor and Cullen , introduced the concept of ethical climate to predict ethical conduct in organizations, and it has served as a key conceptual foundation in ethics studies Martin and Cullen An organization's ethical climate can result in four main outcomes for the employees—organizational commitment, job satisfaction, psychological well-being, and preventing unethical behavior. For example, several studies have confirmed that a favorable ethical climate positively influences employee job satisfaction, potential promotion, and supervisors e.

More importantly, findings from multiple studies emphasized the importance of a firm's ethical climate as a leading factor in influencing ethical behavior Deshpande ; Deshpande et al. It has been suggested that there are multiple dimensions of ethical climate, and these different dimensions tend to convey varied indications to employees regarding what is acceptable behavior Cullen et al.

While there is some variation among the underlying dimensions of ethical climate, the three dimensions— egoism , principle , and benevolence —as framed by Victor and Cullen , are most commonly accepted Fritzsche Egoism is the application of behavior for maximizing self-interest. Principle is the same concept of deontology , which is the application of universal standards, rules, codes, and procedures to behavior.

Benevolence is similar to the concept of utilitarianism in classical ethical theories. This construct entails behavior that maximizes the well-being of as many people as possible. The measure of three typologies of ethical climate has been applied to various disciplines, including education e. Studies assessing how ethical climate affects ethical decision making in firms have proliferated in business and organizational literature e.

However, to the researchers' knowledge, none of the studies in the public relations field have specifically examined whether the ethical climate within public relations firms affects public relations professionals' ethical decision making in their practices. Since the ethical climate in a firm tends to shape the firm's collective norms for ethical behavior Trevino , this research suggests in accordance with organizational ethics studies that ethical climate may also play an important role in influencing ethical behavior of practitioners in public relations firms e.

Top management support for ethical practice has been found to be another key ingredient in encouraging employees' ethical behavior. Hunt et al. Trevino et al. Consequently, a firm's ethics code can be more effective when firm management and the board of directors support it Raiborn and Payne Moreover, top management has been found to positively influence other important outcomes within organizations, such as organizational performance, productivity, success, and job satisfaction Boo and Koh ; Vitell and Davis In general, top management support is influential for the overall effectiveness of an organization.

In public relations, top management support has been discussed as a key factor in influencing public relations practices e. Top managers represent an essential link between ethics codes and practitioners' ethical practices. If managers fail to discuss the importance of ethical practices with their employees, these practitioners will likely believe that ethical behavior is not significant or necessary. Thus far, none of the studies in this area have empirically tested the effect of top management support on ethical practices in public relations firms.

Luthans and Stajkovic demonstrated that a person's behavior tends to be encouraged by three types of reinforcers—feedback, money, and social recognition. Several empirical studies tested this variable in terms of job satisfaction and confirmed that employees demonstrate higher levels of satisfaction when they can perceive a clear relationship between ethical behavior and career success Vitell and Davis Boo and Koh investigated if employees' perceptions of the positive association between ethical behavior and career success encourage more ethical practices.

They added empirical evidence confirming that employees tended to behave more ethically when they perceived a positive relationship between ethical behavior and career success. Based on the empirical evidence, it is assumed that in a public relations firm where ethical practice is closely tied with career success, ethical practice of public relations practitioners would be reinforced.

On the other hand, when public relations professionals believe unethical practices are necessary for success in their careers, such perceptions would motivate unethical practice. Tested model. Note: Dotted lines indicate non-significant paths. Solid lines indicate significant paths. The numbers outside parentheses indicate standardized coefficients, and those in parentheses indicate standardized errors. Research question: To what extent do the organizational ethics factors affect the ethical practices of public relations professionals in public relations firms? The present study focuses on the factors affecting ethical practices of public relations professionals in public relations firms.

In this study, practitioners working at public relations firms in Korea were selected for the survey. In-house practitioners were excluded because corporations are likely to possess ethical standards that generally apply to all employees rather than providing public relations specific guidelines. There was no complete directory of Korean public relations practitioners available at the time this study was conducted. Therefore, this study used the list of public relations firms cited by the Korea Public Relations Consultancy Association, which included 31 firms.

CEOs of the firms on the list were contacted to request their cooperation for this research. The researchers contacted the CEOs via emails or phone calls to provide them with information regarding the purposes of the study and a brief description of the procedure that would be employed. Among the 31 CEOs contacted, 19 indicated their intention to encourage their employees to participate in the survey.

Public relations professionals from the firms where the CEOs encouraged participation were chosen for the survey. While all public relations professionals at these firms received the questionnaire, participation was completely voluntary. The only necessary qualification for participation in this study was employment in the selected public relations firms at the time the survey was conducted.

Public relations professionals holding various positions and demonstrating different levels of professional experience provided meaningful perspectives for the current research. To answer the research question, this study conducted a survey with public relations professionals in public relations firms in Korea. The survey including two preliminary tests, were performed in Korea between September and October Two pilot tests were conducted to improve the quality of the questionnaire for the main survey.

The questionnaire was then revised based on their feedback. Another 30 public relations professionals participated in the second pretest to assess the clarity and face validity of the revised questionnaire. The method of personal delivery and collection of a self-administered questionnaire was used to increase the survey response rate.

Lovelock et al. The researchers visited CEOs and asked them to distribute questionnaires to their employees. Three days after their initial visits, the researchers followed up to collect the questionnaires from the CEOs. Of the questionnaires distributed, were completed.

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Thirty questionnaires that showed response set were excluded. For data analysis, this study used listwise deletion yielding a final sample of A higher score corresponds with a higher level of ethical practice. This study is comprised of four independent variables, which are referred to as organizational ethics factors—the presence of an ethics code, top management support for ethical practice, ethical climate, and the association between career success and ethical practices.

The existence of a public relations firm's code of ethics was measured directly as a dichotomous-response i.


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The three items developed by Hunt et al. An additional item was added to provide a four-item measure. A high mean score represents strong top management support for ethical behavior. To measure ethical climate in public relations firms, the ethical climate questionnaire developed by Cullen et al. The following three dimensions of ethical climate were assessed: 1 egoistic, which highlights firms' profits; 2 benevolent, which emphasizes team interest; and 3 principled, which focuses on roles and standard operating procedures. Additional items were added so that each of the three categories was measured by four items on a 9-point scale.

To measure the perception of the association between ethical behavior and career success in public relations firms, the 7-item scale developed by Hunt et al. A high mean score indicates a strong association between ethical behavior and career success in public relations firms. Measurement items for each variable were deleted if they 1 were extracted as the second factor of the intended factor, 2 included opposite signs of factor loading coefficients among the other items in the intended factors, and 3 had factor loading values of less than. Nevertheless, the reliability of the measurement items for egoism is very close to the acceptable limit and is kept for subsequent analysis.

The questionnaire concluded with several demographic questions. Items solicited information regarding respondents' gender, age, years of public relations experience, and rank of current position. These statistics suggest that the gender of the sample was reasonably reflective of the overall public relations professional population in Korea. To answer the research question, multiple regression analysis was used. Multiple regression analysis is useful for identifying which of the organizational ethics factors—the presence of an ethics code, top management support, egoism, benevolence, principle, the association between career success and ethical practice—are significantly associated with ethical public relations practices.

Due to the correlation among variables, stepwise regression analysis was conducted. The research question asked to what extent the organizational ethics factors affect the ethical practices of public relations professionals in public relations firms. With reference to the relative influence of the organizational ethics factors on ethical practices of public relations professionals, ethical practices were regressed on the organizational ethics factors using stepwise regression analysis.

The organizational ethics factors are independent variables, while ethical practice is the dependent variable for the regression analysis. Stepwise regression analysis of organizational ethics factor on ethical practices. Numbers in parentheses refer to the order of inclusion in the stepwise regression equation.

This study was designed to investigate what organizational ethics factors in public relations firms can more effectively influence practitioners' ethical practice in the firms. Among the tested organizational ethics variables, the presence of an ethics code, top management support for ethical practices, and a non-egoistic ethical climate significantly influenced the ethical practices of public relations professionals in the firms see Fig.

Of these significant variables, the presence of an ethics code in a public relations firm had the strongest impact on the ethical practices of the public relations professionals in that firm. In particular, the findings indicate that practitioners working in public relations firms with ethics codes are more likely to demonstrate higher ethical standards than their counterparts who practice at firms without codes. Regression analysis indicated that the ethical practice of public relations professionals is influenced by firms' ethics variables, particularly top management support for ethical practice, which has a positive influence, as well as egoism in the ethical climate, which negative influences practitioners' ethical behavior, though the effect size is moderate.

These findings support previous studies assessing the impact of organizational ethics variables on the ethical behavior of employees see, for example, Bowman ; Ford and Richardson The favorable association between public relations firms' ethics and practitioners' ethical practice has important implications and suggests further questions for future scholarship within the field.

This study found that the presence of ethics codes within public relations firms tends to encourage practitioners to apply the codes to their own practices. Like other studies that have confirmed the effects of ethics code on ethical practices e. Given the obvious evidence indicating the benefits of establishing ethics codes, more public relations firms should develop codes of ethics to guide their practitioners' ethical practices.

This study found that when top management in public relations firms was perceived as strongly supporting ethical practices, public relations professionals were much more likely to practice ethically themselves, which is a trend supported by other ethics studies Hunt et al. This finding implies that top management support for ethical practices in public relations makes a difference. When top management expresses that unethical practice will not be tolerated, public relations professionals exhibit less ethically problematic behavior.

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If members of top management plan to reprimand practitioners for unethical behavior, they have an obligation to firm employees to clearly state the guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Therefore, though public relations firms' ethics codes are useful starting points for discouraging unethical practice among public relations professionals, top management in these firms can significantly boost the ethical practices of their employees by taking a positive stance against unethical behavior and rewarding ethical practices.

To emphasize the importance of ethical practice among professionals in public relations firms, top management must effectively communicate their firms' ethical values to their employees. Public relations firms should establish a workshop program for top managers that could offer advice regarding ethical dilemmas, convey expectations, and provide tips for solving ethical problems. As indicated by Stevens , training programs are the best method for conveying ethical expectations. In addition, top managers need to develop dialogs with their teams about ethics, so that they can explore situations unique to each work team.

Public relations firms could improve the efficacy of ethical standards by establishing communication programs such as web-based learning sessions, a web site, and easily employed meeting tools and techniques that allow top managers and their teams to communicate about ethical issues in public relations. This study found that an egoistic ethical climate within a public relations firm negatively affects employees' ethical practices within the firms.

This finding confirms Wimbush and Shepard's study, which found that high egoism within an organization's ethical climate tends to be associated with unethical behavior among its employees. The current study's findings imply that when professionals perceive that their firms emphasize self-interest and profits, they are then apt to lower their own ethical standards and practice unethically.

This finding may derive from the characteristics and role of public relations practices, which are far from egoistic. When practicing public relations, professionals need to consider not only their firms and clients but also other strategic publics. In addition, public relations professionals should not simply serve the client, but should also inform necessary diverse publics. A public relations firm demonstrating high egoism climate might be successful in the short term. However, such a firm would likely lose professionals with high ethical standards who were not satisfied with their jobs due to conflicts between the firm's code of ethics and their own.

Consequently, these kinds of firms would not likely be successful in the long term. Although the analysis identified several significant variables, some of the variables tested were found not to be significant factors of ethical practices. For example, benevolent and principled ethical climates as well as perceptions of the association between career success and ethical behavior had no significant effects on the ethical practices of public relations practitioners.

These results are somewhat surprising, especially for the benevolent and principled ethical climate variables, given the significance placed on these variables in ethics literature in terms of influence on ethical practices e. Since the findings related to benevolence and principled ethical climate seem counterintuitive, measurement problems may have been a factor.

Perhaps the items measuring benevolence and principled ethical climate do not accurately reflect the ethical climate of public relations firms because these measures were originally developed in the business field and had never previously been applied to a public relations context. Originally, four items were used to tap a principled ethical climate. However, during the factor analysis, only two items were successfully loaded into a factor. The other two items had a low factor score and the opposite sign of the coefficient.

Therefore, it would be necessary for future research to include additional measurement items to more appropriately evaluate ethical climate in a public relations environment. Another explanation for the insignificant effect of ethical climate could be due to the indirect relationship between the two ethical climates and ethical practices. Public relations professionals' perceptions of the ethical climate in their firms may not directly influence their ethical practices. That is, efforts to change public relations professionals' perceptions of the ethical climate may not result in dramatic shifts in their ethical decision making.

Perceptions of these ethical climates may instead have a more indirect effect on professionals' ethical practice. This study did not find that the perception of the association between career success and ethical practice in the firm had a significant influence on practitioners' ethical behavior.

This lack of relationship may be due to the nature of public relations practices and the size of public relations firms. Public relations firms are likely to be smaller and have fewer hierarchical levels than corporations. Thus, specific unethical practices are less likely to lead to success in less bureaucratically oriented agencies. Another possible explanation for this insignificant relationship may be that practitioners perceived the ethical dilemma scenarios presented in this study to be only moderately unethical.

That is, when professionals responded to the first and third scenarios, they may have perceived more serious breaches of ethics than the types of unethical practices specifically identified in the second and the last scenarios. Thus, if the unethical practices described in the scenarios had spanned a wider range of severity, the results might have been different. Finally, the insignificant findings could be a result of the way the questions were constructed and translated. Participants may have interpreted the items differently based on the existence of a qualifier. Like other studies, this study has several limitations that can be translated into fertile opportunities for future research.

First, this study excluded in-house public relations professionals because it specifically focused on the ethical practices of professionals working at public relations firms. In future research, it could be meaningful to compare the similarities or differences between professionals in public relations firms and those practicing at in-house public relations departments. Second, this study surveyed public relations professionals in Korea. One country's professionals do not necessarily represent the perspectives of public relations practitioners worldwide.

Therefore, the findings of this study should be interpreted with this limitation in mind.

by Patricia J. Parsons

Third, this study did not consider the demographic variables as an influential factor as this study is more interested in organizational factors as influential factor of ethical practices. Future studies may want to consider testing the predictive influences of demographic variables such as gender, age, level of education, level of employment, etc. These variables may provide more insights into the ethical practices between different public relations personnel in public relations firms. Additionally, future research should consider the application of this study's framework to other countries so that more generalizable findings can be obtained.

Documenting the linkages among organizational ethics factors and ethical practices of public relations professionals has important implications. The authors believe that this study offers important, though tentative, insight into understanding factors that influence ethical practices, and they hope that these findings will help the public relations field move another step forward in its promotion of ethical practice among its practitioners. As this study focuses on public relations firms' ethics, in-house public relations departments were excluded from the study.

Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Factors affecting ethical practice of public relations professionals within public relations firms. Original Paper First Online: 23 December Background and theoretical framework Efficacy of ethics codes Scholars have continually added to the empirical evidence supporting the efficacy of ethics codes in discouraging unethical practices Bennett ; Ferrell and Skinner ; Hegarty and Sims ; McCabe et al.

Organizational ethics factors In ethics studies, organizational 1 culture has gained attention as a primary influential factor of ethical behavior. Ethical climate Since Victor and Cullen , introduced the concept of ethical climate to predict ethical conduct in organizations, and it has served as a key conceptual foundation in ethics studies Martin and Cullen Top management support for ethical behavior Top management support for ethical practice has been found to be another key ingredient in encouraging employees' ethical behavior.

The association between ethical behavior and career success Luthans and Stajkovic demonstrated that a person's behavior tends to be encouraged by three types of reinforcers—feedback, money, and social recognition. This study aims to evaluate the following four variables that could contribute to more ethical public relations practices: whether public relations firms explicitly develop a code of ethics for guiding public relations professionals, whether public relations professionals perceive a favorable ethical climate within their firms, whether strong top management support for ethical practices exists within firms, and whether there is a clear association between ethical practices and career success in public relations firms.

Open image in new window. Based on the exploratory nature of this study, the following research question was proposed: Research question: To what extent do the organizational ethics factors affect the ethical practices of public relations professionals in public relations firms? Population and samples The present study focuses on the factors affecting ethical practices of public relations professionals in public relations firms.


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  7. Research procedure To answer the research question, this study conducted a survey with public relations professionals in public relations firms in Korea. Two pretests and questionnaire development Two pilot tests were conducted to improve the quality of the questionnaire for the main survey. Main survey and data collection The method of personal delivery and collection of a self-administered questionnaire was used to increase the survey response rate.


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    7. Existence of ethics code The existence of a public relations firm's code of ethics was measured directly as a dichotomous-response i. Top management support for ethical behavior The three items developed by Hunt et al. Ethical climate To measure ethical climate in public relations firms, the ethical climate questionnaire developed by Cullen et al.

      The association between ethical behavior and career success To measure the perception of the association between ethical behavior and career success in public relations firms, the 7-item scale developed by Hunt et al. Reliabilities of the measures Measurement items for each variable were deleted if they 1 were extracted as the second factor of the intended factor, 2 included opposite signs of factor loading coefficients among the other items in the intended factors, and 3 had factor loading values of less than.

      Correlation analysis This study used composite variables, which are useful for enhancing the parsimony and ease of convergence for the proposed model. The composite scores obtained from principal component analysis for each of the six variables were employed for correlation analysis. A correlation analysis was conducted to assess the relationship between independent and dependent variables. Overall, top management support for ethical practices, benevolence of the ethical climate, and code existence were positively associated with ethical practice while egoism was negatively associated with ethical practice.

      Table 1 Correlation matrix. Top management support 6. Egoism 6. Principle 4. Benevolence 6. Career success and ethical practice 4.