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PR Women with Influence

Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges

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Juan Meng and Marlene S. Neill

PR Women with Influence: Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges makes a unique and timely contribution by exploring how women in public relations navigate through attitudinal, structural and social barriers in advancing their leadership roles. The book is thoroughly grounded in rich empirical evidence gained through two phases of a funded research project conducted in the field. Phase I involves 51 in-depth interviews with current female leaders in public relations and Phase II captures women’s perceptions on gender-related barriers in leadership advancement by recruiting a national panel of female public relations professionals. 

Results presented in this book provide a compelling, current picture of women and leadership in public relations. By emphasizing our discussion on key issues and barriers as related to women in PR and their leadership advancement, the authors call for real actions and change to develop a constructive ecosystem within the organization to embrace leadership for women in PR. 

Given its sharp topic focus, wealth of empirical data, and the relevance of the topic to today’s public relations profession, this book is suitable for different audiences both nationally and globally. Such audiences include but are not limited to public relations scholars, educators and professionals, both leaders and emerging leaders, men and women, young professionals, women of color, and public relations majors. This book is appropriate for senior-level undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations and communication management to facilitate critical thinking, leadership development, and gender-related topic discussion. 

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Chapter Eight How Women in PR Approach Ethics Counsel

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CHAPTER EIGHT

How Women in PR Approach Ethics Counsel

 

Being an ethical person does not equate to being an ethical leader. As Trevino, Hartman and Brown (2000) wrote, “To develop a reputation for ethical leadership with employees, leaders must make ethics and values a salient aspect of their leadership agenda so that the message reaches more distant employees. To do this, they must be moral managers as well as moral persons” (p. 133). Trevino et al. (2000) suggested that being a moral manager involves role modeling through ethical actions, using rewards and discipline effectively to reinforce core values, and communicating to employees about the importance of ethics and values. Consistent with this expectation for leaders, we asked the female leaders how they would define ethical leadership in public relations and what responsibilities this should involve.

First of all, several of interviewed female leaders listed ethics and integrity as core competencies needed for leaders in general and they also listed it as a key characteristic they seek in mentors and role models. As a chief communications officer for a corporation explained:

They need to be strong but compassionate leaders. They need to be people who are grounded in some or seem to be grounded in some sort of core values so that there’s a reason to ask - to understand why they take certain approaches. I like to know why did you do it that way? What got you there? What...

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