While she makes some great arguments about the debacle involving Facebook and Burston-Marsteller, one section of her article really bothered me. She wrote:
One of the six core tenets of our code—only 14 of B-M’s 2,200 global employees are PRSA members and, as such, have agreed to abide by the code—is honesty. Specifically, PRSA members must “reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented—for instance, a client whom the firm is operating on behalf for a specific campaign—and should “avoid deceptive practices.” Under the PRSA Code, B-M would be obligated to reveal its client and to disclose the client’s intentions, which appear to amount to an attack upon Google’s practices.
Interesting causal logic at play here.
Fiske not-so-tacitly suggests that PRSA membership is a predictor of better ethical behaviour. Even if it is, absent hard evidence to back up this dubious assertion, the article comes off as at least slightly self-serving and perhaps rather sanctimonious. It’s unfortunate because she makes a number of great points throughout the rest of the piece.
What do you think? Am I off base here? Do you believe that membership in organizations like the PRSA is a predictor of ethical behaviour?