Ethics in Public Relations / Edition 2

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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.  This updated edition of 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.

Written in a practical and approachable style, this book provides clear insights into the personal and professional issues that affect public relations practitioners, such as truth and trust, relationships with journalists and outside conflicts.  It examines how an individual's sense of morality has an impact on decision-making and ethical business behavior.  This new edition includes new material on virtue ethics, personal ethics, ethics in social media, ghost writing and deception in PR, and moral responsibilities of organizations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[S]hould be a required textbook for any student or practitioner of public relations.... Highly recommended." — Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749453329
  • Publisher: Kogan Page, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2008
  • Series: PR in Practice Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia J. Parsons is Associate Professor and past chair of the Department of Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She also provides consulting services in healthcare communication and PR though her consulting firm Biomedical Communications Inc.

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Table of Contents


1. Before we begin: new profession… or one of the oldest?  

Public relations ethics: oxymoron?  

A tarnished history  

Defining our terms  

A profession or professionalism?  

Aspiring to professionalism  

Measuring your professionalism quotient  

2. Untangling the web: the ‘truth’ and other strangers  

An epidemic of lying  

The ‘truth’ in public relations  

Can you predict honesty?  

One principle among several  


Truth, trust and the virtue of being ‘good’  

Truth and trust  

The limits of organizational responsibility  

To whom are you loyal?  

The virtue of being ‘good’  


Whose rights are right?  

Rights and responsibilities  

When my right conflicts with yours  

Conflicting rights in public relations  


The trouble with rules  

Rules rule our lives  

Those darn deontologists  

The real trouble with rules  

’Situations alter cases’  

Moral relativism and situations  

The problem with situations  


Robin Hood ethics  

What the heck is ‘utilitarianism’?  

Motives be damned  

Problems with Robin Hood  



Your staircase to respect  


Still the moral child  

The moral child grows up  

An ethical litmus test?  

More than good manners: ethics and etiquette  

Morality and your level of competence  

The virtue of humility  


The good, the bad and the (almost) ugly: ethics codes  

Codes as contracts  

Minimum standards or ideals?  

Who needs codes, anyway?  

A global code?  

Relying on a personal code  

Using personal values  

Developing your own code  

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    A great educational read

    I needed this for an ethics class. Parsons has an interesting viewpoint on ethics for PR people. Her style of writing makes ethics easier to understand.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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