If you look around at your colleagues and peers you might
In a dramatic change from its early
You may have made some observations yourself over the
In Chapter 7 we discussed the issue of moral development: that we are not born moral or immoral, rather that as we grow and develop our abilities to think, our
There was a lot to think about in this theory. It explains why some people make ethical decisions based only on what's in it for them, whereas others seem to be able to take
Then along came a graduate student named Carol Gilligan who became Kohlberg's research assistant in 1970. She would go on to develop her own theory of moral development, spurred largely by her criticism of his. She was
It appears that males approach morality with the belief that individuals have certain basic rights, and that you have to respect the rights of others. Thus, morality imposes restrictions on what you can do and this provides the parameters for ethical decision-making. By contrast, the
So, what does this mean to us in the business world of the 21st century? In these days of what appears to be institutionalized immorality in decisions
A study of the ethical decision-making patterns of public relations
The ethics research finds that men are factual and logical, where women tend towards more emotional decisions. Is this good or bad? Where men are rule-based, women are more compassionate. Where men are focused on what's going on in the here and now, women tend to be more focused on the future. Where men see things in black and white, women see them in shades of grey. Where men take a
So, who is ˜better at ethics? It should be clear that there are advantages and disadvantages to each orientation. And we need to note as well that there are other factors that are involved in making ethical decisions; gender just happens to be one of them.
We make decisions every day in public relations practice and in our personal lives; some are conscious while others are automatic. Ethical decision-making is a skill that can be learnt, but it needs to be a conscious process at all times. The more conscious moral decisions you make, the better your judgement becomes.
In summary, we might consider Willem Landman's (the Director of the Ethics Institute of South Africa) suggestions about making ethical decisions:
Choose values-driven actions.
Choose right over wrong.
Choose good over bad.
Choose fair over unfair. [ 8]
[ 7] Lieber, P (2003) Ethics in public relations: gauging ethical decision-making patterns of public relations practitioners, Louisiana State University, Unpublished Master's thesis. Accessed 1 March 2004. http://etd02.lnx390.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-0707103-111615/unrestricted/Paul_Lieber_Thesis.pdf
[ 8] Johnston, A (2003) Integrity: What this means for your organisation , speech delivered at PRISA Reputation Management Conference, 2003. Archived on Web site of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management [accessed 2 March 2004]. http://www.globalpr.org/news/features/johnston-21-oct-03.asp