Many people are probably unaware of the fact that this month, September, is Ethics Awareness month in the Public Relations Society of America(PRSA). Therefore I feel it is the perfect time to discuss the confusing subject of ethics and how it relates not only to the Public Relations side but to all sides of business.
Many people wonder what the definition of ethics in the business world is. Unfortunately, there is no exact definition, which makes the answer not as straight forward as many would hope. The values, beliefs, behaviors, and practices that the company is run on loosely defines the ethics of that business. A myth about the business field is that matters are fairly black and white, wrong or right, in reality this is not the case. There are a lot of gray areas which can complicate things when making choices, whether it be on the Public Relations or Marketing side. To help make the line of ethical/unethical a little less blurry here is a list of “rules-of-thumb” or standards that every business or business professional could follow:
- Be transparent- in other words always be honest and truthful no matter what you’re doing. The foundation for any strong relationship, business or not, is trust. If you’re clients and the public can trust you and your company then you are on the path to success.
- Make informed and smart decisions- do not blindly agree or disagree to something without getting all the background information and do not be afraid to ask questions. Background and questions led to understanding the full picture, which is a key element to correctly solving any business problem.
- Always put the interest of your client and employers first
- Confidential information should stay confidential- when working with classified information about a client do not expose that to become public knowledge. It is also important that if something unjust is occurring that you report it rather than keeping that confidential.
- Avoid conflicts with fellow co-workers- do not get involved in office drama and only engage in healthy competition otherwise the office environment will become less about the greater good of the company and clients and more self-revolving.
- Do good in your community- use your company’s position in the greater community for good. Support a charity, do community service, and keep a friendly relationship with the citizens.
The key to remaining ethical in the business world is to always be honest and put the greater good of the company and it’s clients first and foremost. Do this and you are on the path for success!