Eric Bergman of Bergman & Associates delivered a thought-provoking, interactive workshop on ethics and values to Loyalist PR students this afternoon.
"We have two roles in public relations," explains Eric, who has been a part of the international accreditation council for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for more than a decade. "We are both values managers and conscience counsellors."
Referring to the field of ethics as "drawing a black line through a gray area," he explored a number of relevant case studies to the public relations field, including opportunities for students to test their own ethical boundary lines.
The litmus test for ethical decision making, says Eric, should return to the five basic questions asked by Patricia Parsons in her book, Ethics in Public Relations: A Guide to Best Practice:
- Does it do harm?
- Does it do good?
- Is it the truth?
- Does it respect privacy?
- Is it fair and socially responsible?
Thanks for a great seminar, Eric! You've given us a lot to think about.