We are now 9 weeks into the academic year, the third year of my PR degree. That also means that I am now 9 weeks into my Ethics, Issues and Crisis Management unit. With deadlines looming and Christmas soon approaching, the end of this unit draws nearer. So as I reflect over this academic year so far, I have been thinking about how important ethics is within the industry and how PR professionals should have a full understanding, particularly when dealing with issues and crises.
So the question that has come to mind over recent weeks is; how important is it to teach ethics at degree level?
Over the last 9 weeks, I have learnt so much about ethics, issues and crises across various organisations and within individuals. Throughout insightful discussions I have been able to form and argue my own opinions whilst beginning to understand how important it is to understand ethics in order to then be able to act ethically.
I believe that all PR students should have access to this type of learning as understanding these issues are imperative within the industry where acting ethically is incredibly important. Knowing your clients viewpoints on key ethical issues will help you to understand them and therefore, create better outputs. PR professionals can be faced with some serious issues and crises when working with a client. If a client has acted unethically, it is our job as a PR professional to resolve this and ensure the reputation of our client is not tarnished. Therefore, by understanding ethical issues such as corporate social responsibility, corporate manslaughter, bribery and corruption (just to name a few) a PR professional is able to manage the issues and crises to the best of their ability and successfully save a reputation.
Having this knowledge as a PR student, means that I feel fully equipped to enter the industry with the ability to understand and react to ethical issues and any crises that occur. Being fully prepared to enter the industry is a key part of getting a PR degree. That is why I believe all students studying PR should have the opportunity to understand ethics in the context of the industry in order to succeed.