September is Ethics Month.
Each year, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) focuses its programs and publications on the six core values highlighted in its Code of Ethics while in public relations classrooms, professors and instructors reinforce the importance of truth, trust and transparency in the PR profession.
In September’s Public Relations Tactics, PRSA’s informative monthly newsletter, PR veteran James Lukaszewski writes about how public relations practitioners must become their colleagues’ advisers and provide a strong moral voice when questionable decisions are being made. Lukaszewski suggests that first we have to define our own values: “Overlay the concept of ideal behavior and you can begin every day and every decision by asking yourself: 1) Is this ideal behavior? 2) Is this what I truly believe in? 3) Is it the truth? 4) How do we get to ideal behavior? 5) What if we can’t?” He talks about the importance of having a “personal core value approach” that’s impactful and serves to model ethical judgement for others.
Here are the code’s six core values:
Advocacy — We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.
Honesty — We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.
Expertise — We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience. We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education. We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.
Independence — We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.
Loyalty — We are faithful to those we represent, while honoring our obligation to serve the public interest.
Fairness — We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media, and the general public. We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression.
Take the time to learn PRSA’s Code of Ethics because to truly be successful in PR, we all need to be strategic, effective and above all, ethical. Your thoughts?