Editor’s Note: To commemorate PRSA Ethics Month, PRSAY is running a month-long series of posts on important ethics issues facing the public relations profession. This is the second post in the series. An archive of ethics-related posts can be found here.
The PR profession suffers from schizophrenia. On the one hand, PR people want to be at the table making decisions and guiding strategy with the boss in good times and bad. On the other hand, many want to serve as the guiding conscience of their organizations.
So far, the record for the profession in either arena is mixed. There have been some successes, some strikeouts, some absolute no-hitters and some MIAs. That’s because business and other leaders have lost or ignored their responsibility to build and rebuild integrity as a workplace principle — a workplace guiding force.
Legislators continue to pass laws imposing extensive compliance requirements and an ever-increasing stack of regulations, restrictions and oversight requirements, in addition to internal and self-imposed monitoring. Virtually none of these can restore public, investor, employee, customer or individual trust. Restoration of trust begins by focusing and rebuilding the most essential element of an ethical reputation: integrity.
The foundation for integrity is organizational trust.