ERIC Number: ED270777
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug-5
Reference Count: 0
A Study of Reactions to Ethical Dilemmas in Public Relations.
Stacks, Don W.; Wright, Donald K.
In order to justify ethical instruction for media students, 109 university students in basic communication courses were asked to confront a moral-ethical problem, specifically, the request for information that a sponsoring company or organization wished suppressed. Respondents were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: working for a public organization or working for a private organization and deciding about the firing of a coach, and working in either situation and deciding about about nuclear waste disposal. Based on these situations and similar earlier research by Ryan and Martinson (1984), the two hypotheses proposed that (1) responses to the situations will differ significantly depending on whether or not the situation is public or private, with those responding to the commercial interests less willing to give information to the public; and (2) responses to the coach firing will differ significantly from responses to the nuclear waste situation because the "need to know" about nuclear waste will compel subjects to release information. Responses did not support the first hypothesis, though the second was supported. However, the students indicated more uncertainty than the public relations practitioners in Ryan and Martinson's study, which suggests a need for teaching ethics in university-based communication programs. (SRT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (69th, Norman, OK, August 3-6, 1986).