Archive for March, 2010

ethical conflicts in practice

Posted on March 31, 2010. Filed under: Ethics, professions | Tags: , |

Reflecting on the  questions raised by the impact of a Jungian ethic on professional practice. The purpose  is not to create a blueprint, checklist or new set of codes. It is to begin a discussion about building a bridge between the theory explored in the thesis and the lived world of professional ethics. This is not about an artificial divide between theory and practice; indeed it argues that practice is currently impoverished by the absence of workable theory. Illustrative comments from practitioners testify to the gap between the ideals or theoretical ethics promoted by professional bodies and leaders in the discipline and the conflicted experience of ethics among ordinary practitioners. For example Peter O’Malley writes:

the Code of Professional Conduct of the Canadian Public Relations Society… preaches that ethical professional conduct for public relations practitioners has something to do with promoting “honesty, accuracy, integrity and truth” in public communications. While this notion might be truly inspiring, it nonetheless ignores what public relations actually is all about — namely, the advocacy and dissemination of the partisan viewpoints of those who engage our services, for the benefit of those who engage our services.

Accessed 30/03/10 from http://www.aboutpublicrelations.net/ucomalleyb.htm

I disagree with this characterisation of  PR but it is a dominant one and describes a great deal of practice, whereas the idealised ethics describe… something else. This thesis hopes to start a new debate about the relationship between stated and lived ethics; it also renews a debate found elsewhere about the relationship of the individual to the profession in regard to ethics. Is the practitioner to consider their morals a private affair to be left outside the office door, or located in their whole being and therefore indivisible? Which parts of a practitioner does an employer or client own and control? Which aspects does an employee/contractor – and particularly a professional, with claims to independence – surrender to the client?

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Ethics are not about employers

Posted on March 26, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Uncategorized | Tags: |

Noticed that several gatherings of PR people at conferences, talks and in a Feb edition of PR week tend to lurch straight from questions about ethics to working for tobacco, arms, alcohol industries as if that is the answer. Having ploughed through reams of lit on ethics in past year I have never seen issues posed in these terms. For a start it places all moral responsibility on the employer, as if working for an eco-friendly community network would automatically guarantee ethical communication. Remember the old SWP line that workers can’t be held accountable for actions of employers. On the other hand, PR people are centrally involved in comms strategies and influencing audiences. I still hold that a tobacco company COULD conduct ethical communication, it’s just they choose not to. I’ve worked for ‘noble’ causes and know full well the sleight of hand that goes into structuring ‘news’ releases.

Rather shocking, if not surprising, that PR discourse on ethics is so stunted. Suspect there will be zero interest in my work, but not too worried about that.

Saw Yes Men Fix the World on More4 a couple of nights ago – shows how unethical communication (lying about who you are to get to deliver keynote speech to oil tycoons etc) can reveal absence of ethics in audience. A presentation about cost/benefit analysis of deaths in relation to profit was greeted as ‘refreshing’. Recommended.

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The Self and other quandaries

Posted on March 13, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Processing a detailed feedback session from supervisor –  line by line stuff. Can’t complain, as I was moaning about general encouragement being all very well but critical scrutiny essential for progress. Careful what you ask for eh? I’d have caught the style issues – not at that level of copy editing yet, but might well have missed the loose way I’ve been throwing the word ‘self ‘about. Have got sections in both Jungian chapters on different approaches to Self, including Jungian, Gergen, Goffman and others, but the word creeps into linking sentences and will have to be altered or qualified. Other terms from social psychology also set off alarm bells — health, consciousness, well-being etc (oh yeah, and etc). Whole chapter needs checking, but that’s cool – it’s my job. Got about 6 chapters in rough shape now, four to go – plus rewrites, proofs, references etc. (oops delete) June? July??

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