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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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Ethical Implications of Gamification as a Public Relations Strategy


Donna Z. DAVIS

University of Oregon, Portland, OR, USA

Enterprise gamification has garnered tremendous interest in recent years as more organisations have adopted these platforms as a communication strategy to, among other things, build brand loyalty, engage and motivate employees and for crowd sourcing ideas and opinions. As organisations embraced gamification with often highly successful results, little conversation has addressed the ethical responsibility of organisations to protect the player.

The study reported in this chapter explored the frames found in Terms of Service (TOS), privacy policies and related text on websites of 18 successful enterprise game platforms to search for frames consistent with the Codes of Ethics of public relations, advertising and computer / game design professions. The analysis found a gap between the representation of ethics in the professions’ codes of ethics and the presence of those frames found within the gaming platforms. Future research should continue to explore this gap and identify solutions to ensure a safe and successful future of gamification.


Humans have used games to pass time, to entertain, to teach and to train since ancient history. Consider Senet, a board game found from ancient Egypt, dating back to approximately 3,100 BC (Piccione, 1980), or the game of chess that represents an early example of using a game to teach strategies of war. It has been played since the Middles Ages and Renaissance and remains popular today. Games have also been the...

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