One of the loves of my life is Bella Simmons. She’s my four-year-old granddaughter, and one of her favorite things is The Elf on the Shelf®. If you don’t know this delightful children’s book, it’s about how each child has an elf watching over his or her activities. The elf has a direct line to Santa Claus. Parents usually bring out the book, and even a little stuffed elf, about a month before Christmas, to remind little ones to be good.
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Have you ever encountered a colleague or acquaintance you never thought was particularly bright and suddenly they’re churning out thought leadership pieces that position them as industry gurus? Ever wonder who flipped the switch in their brain to inspire them to produce those pieces that just don’t sound like anything they could say in person?
Ethical practices are at the core of effective public relations. It is one of the reasons the PRSA has an entire month dedicated to the topic of PR Ethics.
PRSA members recognize the importance of ethics. The PRSA Code of Ethics is consistently ranked as one of the most important elements by our members. That is one of the reasons we created the free PRSA ethics app for iPhone and Android this year. It helps bring the Code of Ethics to life and contains regular updates and guidance.
A recent study from the Ethics Resource Center caught my attention. The report, “Generational Differences in Workplace Ethics,” noted that younger workers are more susceptible to experiencing ethical dilemmas on the job.
The report examines trends among four generational groups: Millennials (born 1981-2000), Gen X (born 1965-1980), Boomers (born 1946-1964), and Traditionalists (born 1925-1945). Significant world events and different cultural trends shaped each generation, so it is perhaps no surprise that each one shows distinct differences when it comes to ethics. The study found that certain age groups are more “at risk” on four measures of ethical performance: misconduct, pressure to compromise standards, reporting, and retaliation. According to the report, the younger the worker, the more likely he or she is to feel pressure, observe misconduct, and experience retaliation for reporting misconduct.
Editor’s Note: To commemorate PRSA Ethics Month, PRSAY is running a month-long series of posts on important issues facing the public relations profession. This is the first post in the series. An archive of ethics-related posts can be found here.
Can behavior in social media be policed? Who’s in charge if you can? Can there be an ethics code in such a wild and woolly atmosphere? Are there any ethical expectations in social media beyond those already described in the PRSA Code of Ethics, Professional Standards Advisory PS-8,”Deceptive Online Practices and Misrepresentation of Organizations and Visuals.”
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PRSAY is a forum for PRSA members and other public relations professionals to engage in a dialogue with PRSA leaders, exchange viewpoints, and share perspectives on issues of concern to the Society and the public relations industry as a whole. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of PRSA.