Vol. 4, No. 1 – 2002
Organ Retention Following Paediatric and ... – P. Monagle, B. Robb, S. Driscoll and G. Bowes
Public Scepticism and the ‘Social Conscience’: New Implications for Public Relations – Rachel Yeates
Issue Management: Why does it have to be an ethical challenge? - Tony Jaques
Best Practice Communications: The PR Practitioner’s Prerogative? - Alistair King
Deliver Speeches that Inspire Action – Geoff Kelly
Case Study: Getting New Zealanders “sorted” – Tracey Bridges
Book Review: Improperganda: The Art of the Publicity Stunt
P. Monagle, B. Robb, S. Driscoll and G. Bowes
Organ retention following autopsy has received considerable media attention over the past 18 months, and has also sparked considerable debate in medical literature. Despite this, many paediatricians remain unaware of the implications of this issue. The aim of this article is to begin to discuss the key lessons to be learnt from these events. To put this context, we will summarise the incidents that have initiated the debate, and we will briefly describe the response made by Women’s and Children’s Health, Victoria, Australia, as an example of one approach to the issue.
In the wake of the recent Enron Corporation collapse, and the demise of local insurance company HIH, consumers are becoming increasingly sceptical of business morality. The relatively robust trust investors held in company directors is under threat as they question the integrity and priorities of large corporation. Consequently, the cultivation of ethics in organisational behaviour has become imperative to corporate credibility. Corporate public relations must now focus on nurturing strong, honest relations with its publics, communities and the environment to challenge negative public perception. Public relations practitioners ‘should be shaping the action and deeds of our companies, not just the words’ (Paine, 2001, p47).
This article will illustrate how increased public scepticism has influenced the role of the public relations practitioner. The notion of the ‘social conscience’ will be defined, and discussed with reference to the theory of ‘excellence’ in communication. The role of the social conscience in developing public trust and organisational credibility is also examined.
Issue Management attracts much criticism from many quarters for its perceived lack of focus on ethical practice. This paper argues that much of the criticism is unwarranted. However, a balanced view of Issue Management, a core element in the discipline of Public Relations, will only emerge when Public Relations practitioners act and are seen to act from clear ethical standards grounded in a concern for adding value to public debate.
The achievement of ‘best practice’ communications is of concern to all organisations, whether public or private sector, that are interested in efficiency, effectiveness and accountability. It is often assumed that the degree to which ‘best practice’ is adopted by communications practitioners is determined by practitioner motivation, knowledge and skills. However, the Victorian Government’s Communication Best Practice Project has received considerable anecdotal evidence from practitioners suggesting that corporate structure, functioning and culture are equally important factors. The paper discusses the Project’s findings and their impact on its objectives and activities.