Ethics tests and public relations professionals

Stumbled across this little gem today, and the cynic in me got a good chuckle or three out of it, so I had to share.

Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog reports that according to a study conducted by Penn State led by Renita Coleman, professionals in public relations (PR) do not deserve their often questionable reputation and actually score higher on ethics test than those in certain other professions.

As much as I’d like to believe this, the research is based on performance on a test which poses a set of situations that require the use of ethical judgment. The test shows that PR people did comparatively well on a test. But we all know the final exam is not given in a sterile classroom and proctored by a teaching assistant. No, the final exam is given in real life. Not only in the PR professional’s interactions with clients, but also in interactions with others outside of working hours.

Sometimes the most accurate exams, especially regarding ethics, are pop quizzes. I’ve learned that one from personal experience. The story itself could even be considered a good “garden variety” example of PR spin, for PR people, by PR people. But I think it’s ultimately up to my readers to answer that for themselves.