Who and/or what determines ethical standards? How are ethics put into place? A more important question, should we be ethical?
When you look at it, ethics vary from place-to-place, just like laws. Agree? Disagree? If you do disagree, one of my options is to tell you that you are absolutely wrong and I am right and know what I’m talking about. But… That wouldn’t be very right for me to behave like that. By some form of ethical standard, that would be wrong. However, what standard of ethics are we following? What says I can’t voice my opinion if I’m rude? I’m sure there are some places where it is ethically right to voice your opinion in whatever fashion you want, and it would be wrong to not voice your true opinion. You may be thinking, “okay, well, how could you justify that to be ethically right?” With this example, you can say that by not voicing your true opinion — how you really feel — you’d be lying, and isn’t lying ethically wrong?
Ethics is not as black and white as it may seem. In class we talked about how cultures can determine ethics. That being said, different cultures mean different ethics. One of the biggest foundations of ethics would be religion. Different religions believe different things, causing ethics to constantly clash. Therefore, you should always consider your target audience and their code of ethics. This is especially important when working internationally. You think our country has many points of views? Wait until you step abroad.
Bottom line: it’s really hard to say there’s a standard code of ethics that travels everywhere. Ethics vary everywhere you go. As PR professionals, it is important to adjust to the ethics of your surrounding.