Task is to review the literature relevant to the Course case study:Genocide in Rwanda:Leadership, ethics and organisational ‘failure’ in a post-colonial context.
November 21, 2020
Business Challenges 3.1
November 21, 2020



I am so tired of snow and cold.  If any of you are in a warm place and want a visit from your professor, let me know.

You’re getting there.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve asked you to read and do assignments based on the notion that you are or will be in a public relations leadership position.  While we still need to think about tactics, our job as leaders is to influence organizational direction as well as do the things that make the organization successful to move to that direction.  Organizational and discipline mission statements provide the path. We don’t want to be from the “we’re right on schedule but we don’t know where we’re going” school.  You now know how to think about and do mission statements and in the next few days, we’ll see your ability to “scan the horizon.”

This week’s readings talk about organizational values and ethics.  My experience is that these things don’t come up as big deals that become case studies in someone’s ethics class.  They typically evolve around small things.  But, if you haven’t answered the big questions as a department or organization, then these little things will get large.  I’ve attached several documents that you should read and consider.  First is the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer.  This is the environment in which we are working.  Then, the PRSA Member Code of Ethics.  You also can go online and get the PRSA Values statement.  Last document is the 11 commandments of Emmis Communications.  Emmis is the holding company for a lot of radio stations around the country.  I hope you’ll take the time to read this material—pretty neat stuff.

Think about organizations you trust – and why.  What drives their brand/image?  Is it that their actions line up with your perceptions?  What would your opinion and willingness to advocate be if that were not the case?  Are you willing to buy a product from a company that clearly has the best product but acts unethically?  One of the most powerful phrases is “I see what you’re saying” or “I don’t see what you’re saying.”   Page 68 of your text says “… public relations leaders are not just fixers of situations but fixers of organizations.”  And page 69… “The days of Corporate Social Responsibility are past, we need to move to CSV: Creating Shared Values.”  “Where values and interest coincide there is convergence: mutual interests aligned with the value base offers opportunities for full collaboration.”

On page 77, “ A principled leader has to make their principles visible and gain a reputation for ethical leadership. … The leader as a moral person shows others how the leader is likely to behave.  The leader as a moral manager makes clear the expectations they have about the behavior of those they lead.”  On page 67,  “Values-based organizations have a character, an aura about them…  Does it look like, sound like, think like, perform like an organization that has values at the center?  If the answer to all these questions is yes, then the organization will have a ring of authenticity about it.  If the answer is no, the reality needs fixing.” (Page 67 Gregory/Willis text)

One of the discussions I frequently have with recent grads – even not-so-recent grads – deals with what should they do if their values are different than those of their leaders or clients.  Tough questions.  I usually answer that these things constantly come up in the practice of public relations and that you must think about whether it’s a showstopper for you.  What does it do to your internal and external credibility?  And, if you don’t have that credibility you have nothing as a PR professional.  For example:  you are asked to work on a political campaign that is not consistent with your political philosophy.  What do you do?

It’s important that your personal values line up with your employer’s values.  Your text (page 63) mentions that as employees are recruited, they are seldom asked if they can support organizational values.  Interesting observation.  In my 40-++ years in the business, I’ve never been asked that question.  Perhaps I can help prepare you for the question.

The Assignment:

Please review my rambling discussion above, the Edelman attachment and the Emmis attachment.  Oh, don’t forget to read the text also.  Think about yourself.  How would you answer what your public relations professional values and ethics are?  Do you know from a values/ethics perspective how you would fit into an organization?  Think about the four-point model.  Since we are a university based on ten, I ask that you develop ten or so statements of personal values and ethics.  Essentially, this is what you stand for – on a personal professional basis.

Why this assignment?  Because I believe this will cause you to think, from a values and ethics perspective, what kind of a leader you are or will be.  That’s important.  

I’m not expecting a dissertation.  Make it as long or short as you want but keep in mind, it’s about you and your values.  If you want to write an introduction, great!

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