Meriam-Webster defines ethics as, “an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good behavior and bad behavior: a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong.” In the professional realm, ethical actions are taken seriously. How can one instill trust in a company or a brand without ethical actions?
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) as we know, aids public relations professionals in their professional careers. It is also the standard for which every PR professional is expected to uphold.
PRSA is adamant that every professional display ethics in their work. They are so adamant in fact that they have built an ethics code specifically outfitted for the public realations profession! If anyone still thinks that people in PR are nothing but manipulators and scallywags, then they should just take one look at this.
One should display good ethics in everything they do. Does that happen? Not necessarily. Should everyone at least try? Absolutely.
Socrates was highly intestested in ethics. He said, “If knowledge can be learned, so can virtue. Thus, virtue can be taught.” I believe this to be true. This is part of the job of the PRSA.
Every PRSA member makes an oath. “I pledge: To conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness, and responsibility to the public; To improve my individual competence and advance the knowledge and proficiency of the profession through continuing research and education; And to adhere to the articles of the Member Code of Ethics 2000 for the practice of public relations as adopted by the governing Assembly of the Public Relations Society of America. I understand and accept that there is a consequence for misconduct, up to and including membership revocation. And, I understand that those who have been or are sanctioned by a government agency or convicted in a court of law of an action that is not in compliance with the Code may be barred from membership or expelled from the Society.” (PRSA Code of Ethics Pledge)
As anyone can see, the PRSA does not take misconduct of the code lightly.
How does ethics tie into big data? Large amounts of information must be used ethically. It is not right to exploit people based on the information one can gain from Big Data. However, it is possible to use Big Data responsibly and ethically.
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