Public Relations

The Ethics Process For PR Professionals

1 Minute Read

Public relations professionals are expected to conduct themselves and do their work ethically. Ethical conduct and work ensure the integrity of our industry. Every now and then, we encounter an ethical dilemma, as do our clients. When those instances occur, we walk through these six steps from PRSA’S Board of Ethics and Professional Standards:

1. Identify the ethical issue or conflict.

You can’t solve something you haven’t identified. Get to the core of the issue or conflict before attempting to come to a resolution.

 2. Indicate all the factors, internal and external, that can influence the decision.

Finding a solution to an ethical dilemma is not easy. However, knowing the full picture is key to making an informed decision.

3. Find key values.

 Values are the beliefs that guide our work and actions. At The Communications Group (ComGroup), our values guide the work we produce and how we interact with each other, clients and potential clients. Once you’ve identified your values, use them as a guide to finding the best solution.

4. Note which groups will be affected and any obligations to each.

One decision can impact many groups, including employees, customers and stakeholders. It’s important to consider how the decision would impact these and other groups, and decide if the solution to the ethical dilemma is worth the impact it will have on one or more of these groups.

5. Use an ethical principle to lead the decision-making process.

 Ethical principles aren’t dependent on our viewpoints. In fact, they are independent of us and our own judgments. When used in the decision-making process, they provide the final decision with additional credibility and ensure those impacted by the decision that it was well thought out.

6. Make and justify the decision.

 By stalling or not deciding, the ethical dilemma will get worse. Quick, thorough action is needed to resolve the situation in a way that minimizes its impact.


Ethical dilemmas are inevitable. How you handle that dilemma says a lot about you and your reputation. ComGroup’s public relations team can help you manage your reputation and more. Contact us today.

Lora Mosley, MS, Public Relations Specialist

Lora Mosley, MS, Public Relations Specialist

Lora works closely with our agriculture and public sector clients. Lora's an expert in drafting messages that drive action.