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It’s not ethical. Fact.


What’s the difference between ethics and morals?

In my opinion, that’s not ethical.

You’ve probably heard someone say something along these lines before, but the reality is that ethics aren’t based on opinions, they’re based on guidelines and facts.

What people think are “ethics” are really their own morals; opinions based on what they believe to be right and wrong.

Ethics are actually based on a strict code of conduct and are factual, to a degree.

A code of conduct will provide guidelines that are aimed to prevent hatred and abuse, embellishment, deception and bribery, to name a few.

They can be produced by organisations for their own businesses, or by governing bodies or associations of industries.

You can read Meantime’s Code of Conduct by clicking here.

 

Although factual, that’s not to say lines still can’t get blurry sometimes when it comes to ethics:

What do you do if your boss asks you to lie?

Well of course I wouldn’t.

But what if that lie meant that you were protecting the company from a PR disaster?

Ah, I’m not sure now.

Do you discuss a tender with your flatmate that’s under NDA?

No. NDA means NDA.

But what if your flatmate was telling others about the tender? Would you let them know it’s under NDA and shouldn’t be discussed?

Hmmm…

Do you tell your employer if your colleague tells you, they’re moving jobs to a competitor?

Well, I have an obligation to tell my employer as it might be damaging for the business, but my colleague has told me in confidence… what is the right thing to do?

Exactly.

Ethical dilemmas happen all the time and it’s our job as professionals to decipher what the best course of action is, using your chosen code of conduct as a guide.

 

So why should you bother making sure your ethics are in check?

As your reputation and the responsibility you carry begins to grow, you need to ensure you have an ethical foundation. Or it will probably bite you in the bottom.

With social media making the world we live in ever smaller; the littlest thing can become a massive deal.

There’s nowhere to hide when something goes wrong and rightly so, brushing something under the carpet doesn’t make the cut anymore, our standards and expectations of organisations have elevated.

Having your ethics aligned will make sure that you negate issues before they happen as much as possible.

Things will of course still come up, as is the way of the world, and when that does happen make sure you have your crisis communications in order.

Read our blog about crisis communications here to learn more about planning them.

 

The next time you’re in a situation where you’re unsure of how to proceed, wouldn’t it be helpful to have a guide? That’s what your code of conduct is for.

If you think it’d be nice to have a guide to refer to, I’m sure at least 50% of the people around you feel the same way.

If this blog has made you think about how to include ethics within your organisation, send us a note at hello@meantime.global, we’d love to help.

Thanks so much to our fantastic teacher Claire Walker and the PRCA for the Ethics in PR and Communications training we recently did as part of the Meantime Training Academy.


About the author

Gemma Price

Gemma was born in the year the internet got real, with both Yahoo and Amazon being founded. She studied Forensic Science before starting a career in communication which has spanned nearly a decade. She has an insatiable wanderlust, having visited nearly a quarter of the world’s countries. A lover of good food, wine, and all things equine.