In this paper I will compare two different codes of ethics from two different organizations. This comparison will be between the AMA (American Marketing Association) and the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). Every organization is an individual entity and as an individual entity we will see individualized differences between the two. Overall, what we should see are a lot of similarities, as well as minor differences between the ethical codes of conduct. While each may be worded around the medium, they should still reflect similar ethical codes. The general idea in today’s business world is to generate an “SOP,” or Standard Operating Procedure. These professional practices are generally inspired by ISO (International Organization of Standards). See here: https://www.iso.org/home.html.
COM-Milestone One: Code of Ethics Comparison
“Ethics is related to duty—duty to self, duty to community, duty to profession, and duty to in this case to the First Amendment,” (Moore and Murray, 2012). The idea behind ethical practices are in short comparable to the Hippocratic Oath a physician takes to become a licensed doctor, “Do no harm,” (Lasagna, 1964). Standardized practices in the professional realm of business have been being promoted by organizations such as ISO and the AP (Associated Press) for many years. The AMA and the PRSA will be the ethics that I will be discussing in this paper, however. While ethics are not always enforced via law, we see them as the professional and right way to do things. Ethics are being used more and more by companies who are developing ethical committees who debate issues that are submitted to them. While ethics have been around for centuries. We see them in ancient doctrines such as the “Code of Hammurabi. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) account of God’s giving the Ten Commandments to Moses (flourished 14th–13th century BCE) on Mount Sinai might be considered another example. In the dialogue Protagoras by Plato (428/427–348/347 BCE), there is an avowedly mythical account of how Zeus took pity on the hapless humans, who were physically no match for the other beasts,”(Singer, 2018).
The AMA Ethical Code of Ethics
The American Marketing Association or AMA’s preamble begins by stating, “The American Marketing Association commits itself to promoting the highest standard of professional ethical norms and values for its members (practitioners, academics and students). Norms are established standards of conduct that are expected and maintained by society and/or professional organizations. Values represent the collective conception of what communities find desirable, important and morally proper,” (American Marketing Association, 2018).The AMA has three points to their Ethical Norms segment. “Do no harm. This means consciously avoiding harmful actions or omissions by embodying high ethical standards and adhering to all applicable laws and regulations in the choices we make.Foster trust in the marketing system. This means striving for good faith and fair dealing so as to contribute toward the efficacy of the exchange process as well as avoiding deception in product design, pricing, communication, and delivery of distribution. Embrace ethical values. This means building relationships and enhancing consumer confidence in the integrity of marketing by affirming these core values: honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, transparency and citizenship,” (American Marketing Association, 2018).These three points explain the roots and premise behind their code of ethics. Codes of ethics usually state the organizations values and explain them in a short summary. The AMA’s core values are “Honesty, Responsibility, Fairness, Respect, Transparency, and Citizenship,” (American Marketing Association, 2018). Their code of ethics also ends with a summary of their Implementation of their core values.
The PRSA Code of Ethics
The Public Relations Society of America or simply, the PRSA have their own Preamble that states, “This Code applies to PRSA members. The Code is designed to be a useful guide for PRSA members as they carry out their ethical responsibilities. This document is designed to anticipate and accommodate, by precedent, ethical challenges that may arise. The scenarios outlined in the Code provision are actual examples of misconduct. More will be added as experience with the Code occurs.The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is committed to ethical practices. The level of public trust PRSA members seek, as we serve the public good, means we have taken on a special obligation to operate ethically.The value of member reputation depends upon the ethical conduct of everyone affiliated with the Public Relations Society of America. Each of us sets an example for each other – as well as other professionals – by our pursuit of excellence with powerful standards of performance, professionalism, and ethical conduct.Emphasis on enforcement of the Code has been eliminated. But, the PRSA Board of Directors retains the right to bar from membership or expel from the Society any individual who has been or is sanctioned by a government agency or convicted in a court of law of an action that fails to comply with the Code.Ethical practice is the most important obligation of a PRSA member. We view the Member Code of Ethics as a model for other professions, organizations, and professionals,” (Public Relations Society of America, 2018). They state their core values as Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness,(Public Relations Society of America, 2018).
Something to note is that not all codes of ethics are written the same (e.g., while the AMA has an “Ethical Norms” segment, the PRSA does not). The AMA has a responsibility to perform ethically but their focus is to provide the best marketing plan possible for their customers which will return more revenue to both parties involved. While operating ethically, their motivation is financial gain. “The true business of every company is to make customers, keep customers, and maximize customer profitability,” (Curry and Curry, 2000).
The PRSA has a similar motivation. They are there to represent their clients and build, market, and maintain their professional/personal images to the public by way of communications through various media platforms. The end game is the same whereby financial gain motivates the project plans.
Manipulation of content can be seen in virtually every marketing or public relations campaign. So why do we see an ethical code of conduct? Well this is since there are multiple marketing agencies out there and not all are members of the AMA. The AMA functions like a Union. Membership dues are required in turn giving access to inside information not made available to non-members.
The PRSA is a network of professionals and membership is free. This is smart on their behalf since it opens their membership network up to everyone allowing it to grow substantially. This means that they can reach more people with press releases or other updates through their nearly limitless channels.
My Code of Ethics
My mission is to maintain credibility by not only being ethical, but also responsible with delicate information. Ethics is the “Gray Area” of business where personal opinions and perspectives guide choices rather than just what’s good for the company. Some people may see it ethical to choose a certain course of action while another group may not. Therein is the dialectic or conflict of ethics. Until everyone is on the same page of documented practiced ethics, we are going to have problems. “The too-frequent lapses of ethical practice by those who call themselves journalists undermine public confidence in the news media,” (Moore and Murray, 2012).
My code of conduct is not just a statement of virtues. It is an explanation and promise to live accordingly much like a Samurai who practices the Code of Bushido. Modern day codes of ethics try to implement or rather copy the Code of Bushido as their “code of ethics.” In business branding, this is not authentic. If a code of ethics needs to be applied with every company, should there not be a standard? This is business! “Be different. Copying is imitation. When you copy, you’re not authentic. You are a generic version of a name brand,” (Kaputa, 2012).
The authenticity of a code of ethics is adhering to the original code, the Code of Bushido. Dishonoring such a code publicly is committing professional suicide of sorts. Your business is liable and can be sued and may wind up going out of business. It is better to be true and follow the code than to be publicly humiliated and dishonored.
My code of ethics is the Code of Bushido. “Justice, Courage, Mercy, Politeness, Honesty, Honor, Loyalty, and Self-Control,” (Clark, 2008). I maintain justice by abiding by our laws. I apply courage to stand for what is “right.” I show mercy to those who would otherwise want to cause me harm by being professional and never doing anything harmful in retaliation. I show politeness to all that I come in contact with. I am honest in any information that I provide to an audience. I am honorable adhering to ethical and professional guidelines and best practices. I am loyal to my code for no man can serve two masters. Anyone without a master or a code is a “Ronin” or rogue. I practice self-control and restraint when in difficult situations and take time to respond or react professionally rather than irrationally.
Publishing, A. (n.d.). Statement of Ethics. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from https://archive.ama.org/archive/AboutAMA/Pages/Statement of Ethics.aspx
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Moore, R. L., & Murray, M. D. (2012). Media law and ethics. New York, NY: Routledge
Curry, J., & Curry, A. (2000). The customer marketing method: How to implement and profit from customer relationship management. New York: Free Press.
Kaputa, C. (2012). You Are a Brand! In Person and Online;How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success ; Second Edition. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Clark, T. (n.d.). The Bushido Code: The Eight Virtues of the Samurai[Scholarly project]. In China.usc.edu. Retrieved May 26, 2018, from https://china.usc.edu/sites/default/files/forums/Samurai and the Bushido Code.pdf
Singer, P. (2018, January 12). Ethics. Retrieved December 23, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/ethics-philosophy