Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Teaching Ethical Principles for PR. An Empirical Study on University Curricula in Germany


Teaching Ethical Principles for PR

An Empirical Study on University Curricula in Germany


University of Leipzig, Germany

Most studies in the field of public relations (PR) and ethics theoretically focus on normative concepts or on professional action and the output of communication activities. The research project reported here explores one important structural prerequisite: ethical competences. Given the absence of research in the area of PR ethics and education, the study poses the question: To what extent are ethical aspects of public relations covered by university curricula for communication management? After clarifying the theoretical concept of PR ethics and giving an insight into the competence development literature, the paper presents an empirical study conducted in Germany. A content analysis of 46 study curricula reveals that less than half of the study programmes mention ethics in their curricula. The degree of consideration varies strongly from programme to programme depending on type of education provider (state-run, private), study degree (Bachelor, Master) and study set-up (full-time, part-time). The paper provides interpretations and generates impetus to academic leaders.


Communication scandals all over the world, e.g. the denial of a voting manipulation for an automotive award by Europe’s biggest automobile club ADAC or a lack of transparent communication during the global financial crisis, repeatedly show that public relations (PR) professionals need to be prepared for potential pitfalls. Ethical failure is easily exposed and exacerbated by an online environment...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.