Ethics as Culture in Public Relations

Josephson Institute recently completed a multi-year assignment with FleishmanHillard, a global public relations and marketing firm. Seeking to make its ethics program the best in the industry, the firm commissioned Josephson Institute to review its policies, procedures and materials, and to make recommendations for improvement.

The Institute’s extensive review included feedback from FleishmanHillard offices across the U.S. and around the world.

When the Josephson Institute delivered its report, a team of FleishmanHillard senior managers got to work, customizing and implementing the Institute’s suggestions. With ongoing Institute consultation — including input from a four-member team of the Institute’s Board of Governors who have a wealth of public relations experience — FleishmanHillard went on to develop an ethics resource for the entire public relations industry.

Called Ethics as Culture, the materials include a guide and training modules to help PR firms and their clients develop and improve their own ethics initiatives. The goal, says FleishmanHillard President and CEO Dave Senay, is “to support and promote [ethical] business decision-making by providing the tools and resources our employees need to serve our clients in the most ethical manner possible…. Through this program, we can help them create a cultural environment in which integrity and ethical behavior are not achieved through a list of rules, but through an innate mindset that permeates all levels of the organization.”

Ethics as Culture materials are now available online from the Council of Public Relations Firms.

Representatives from Josephson Institute and FleishmanHillard will introduce the resources this fall to ethics officers at the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association annual meeting.

Both the Institute and FleishmanHillard look forward to working together to update and enhance this program.