Research in Public Relations and Organisational Communication
Edited By Andrea Catellani, Ansgar Zerfass and Ralph Tench
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
Anne LINKE & Juliane KIESENBAUER
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.
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