Posted by: Emily Priebe | December 2, 2013

Ethics in Professional Communication

Tomorrow, Lori and I will be presenting on the ethics of communication, primarily focusing on the realm of professional communications i.e. PR, advertising, and marketing. In addition to looking at looking at a few theoretical ethical frameworks and existing codes of ethics, we will examine recent situations that violated ethical communication standards and practices.

As we move through our presentation, please keep in mind the following discussion questions, which we will dive into following the conclusion of our content.

1. Many of the examples of ethical communication breaches that we’ve shown today have to do with lapses in social media judgment. How many of the ethical breaches that you learn about have to do with social media?

2. Many codes of ethics were drafted in the first half of the twentieth century, how can we amend our codes of ethics to keep up with technology?

3. While many professional organizations provide codes of ethics, according to Stacks & Bowen, only one-fifth report enforcement, typically resulting in banishment from the organization. How would codes of ethics function differently if there was more enforcement?

4. Should that be a standard part of any codes of ethics?


  1. Thanks for the great conversation tonight.

    Here’s a follow up to the American Apparel/Hurricane Sandy example:

    UPDATE: American Apparel tells Fashionista: “Of course we’d never mean to offend anyone and when we put the email out yesterday it came from a good place. … Retail stores are the lifeline of a brand like ours, so when they are closed, we need to come up with ways to make up for that lost revenue. People forget how expensive it is to run a Made in USA brand like American Apparel, and if we made a mistake here, it came from the good place of trying to keep the machine going—for the sake of our employees and stakeholders.”

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