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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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Putting the “R” back in CSR Communication. Towards an Ethical Framework of Responsibility

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Putting the “R” back in CSR Communication

Towards an Ethical Framework of Responsibility

Stefan JAROLIMEK

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

Anne LINKE

University of Leipzig, Germany

In post-modern societies with globalised mass competition, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a competitive advantage for enterprises. The acknowledged importance of these activities has steadily risen. But, stakeholders have become quite emancipated as well as sceptical and often question the motives behind CSR programmes. A critical discussion of ethical dimensions of this buzzword and the meaning of the “R” in CSR are mostly missing. This chapter offers a new perspective by analysing the term responsibility as the key concept of CSR. By comparing and combining philosophical and ethical literature the conceptual study wants to answer the following research question: What are the ethical dimensions of responsibility in CSR communication? As a result, a theoretical framework is created that distinguishes between relevant actors, dimensions and the context of CSR communication. It can be used to evaluate communication activities and question public relations claims, as the detailed discussion and excursus with the example of Deutsche Bahn demonstrates in the chapter.

Introduction

In the information and communication society of the 21st century, where products become more and more alike and stakeholders increasingly critical, enterprises search for new ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. Helping others, improving the environment, or just generally doing a good deed can become a strategic instrument,...

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