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Communication Ethics in a Connected World

Research in Public Relations and Organisational Communication

Edited By Andrea Catellani, Ansgar Zerfass and Ralph Tench

What are the main ethical challenges for strategic communication and public relations professionals today? How can researchers help in understanding and dealing with these challenges in a complex and interconnected world? This book offers some answers to these questions, based on contributions by researchers from different European countries and other continents. The chapters of the first section focus on general concepts about communication and public relations ethics as well as corporate social responsibility. Three sections then deal with: the specific situation of communication and PR ethics in various European countries; the evolution of ethical skills of communication professionals; and the interaction between communication ethics and the public sphere. The final two sections offer insights on recent research in public relations, like employee communication and engagement, mentoring in public relations and the evolution of media relations and social media communication.
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Commodifying and Politicising Insight. A Case of Mediated Debate of Revolving Doors in Norway


Commodifying and Politicising Insight

A Case of Mediated Debate of Revolving Doors in Norway


BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway

This chapter explores ethical questions and implications when PR firms recruit former politicians as lobbyists and former lobbyists for special interest groups, or the general PR industry seeks political office on a high national level. Should political insight become a commodity that can be marketed and sold? The question, although not solely a Norwegian one, has been raised by journalists, members of the PR industry, politicians and the general public in Western democracies. This paper’s empirical foci are on two case studies from national print press following Norway’s 2013 parliamentary elections, which not only resulted in the appointment of the Solberg cabinet, but also in a mediated debate about the phenomenon of, the ethics of, and the indignation around questions of the revolving door between the PR industry, and members of the national political sphere.


For years, there has been a public debate over the roles and symmetric interchangeability between the sectors of public relations and politics in Western democracies. Public relations agencies, often personified by high profile practitioners, have come under public and media scrutiny for allegedly (too) close ties with political decision makers. Criticism seems to be channelled through print and broadcast media, themselves previously under comparable criticism for similar reasons.1

Public and media criticism seems to...

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