According to Shannon Bowen, “Critics often argue that there can be no ethical public relations because the practice itself is akin to manipulation and propaganda. An unfortunate belief among many journalists, policy makers, and laymen is the belief that the term ‘public relations ethics’ is an oxymoron: either an unreal possibility, or smoke and mirrors to hide deception” (Bowen, 2007. Ethics and Public Relations; http://www.instituteforpr.org/ethics-and-public-relations/). For this reason, I feel it is only proper to recognize ethics as a key trait PR professionals must have in order to have a place at the managerial table.
Bowen goes on to highlight the mistrust involved with the PR field in past years. However, there has been some progress involving ethics within public relations. We learn from the article that ethical value is highly dependent on organizational managerial choices. There are codes of ethics that can be put in place for an organization, but memberships to these groups are voluntary. Therefore, the aspects of power and ethical reliability come full circle from the PR professional to the dominant coalition of an organization. Still, ethical values should be a key aspect of any successful PR professional in order to be trusted by upper management.
One Harvard article stipulates another integral skill that PR practitioners should exhibit. “With the shifting media landscape, the plethora of channels and digital tools, and the influence of audience preferences and expectations, public relations practitioners in the field must continuously evolve or face antiquation” (Top Skills Every PR Professional Should Have, 2014-2015; http://www.dce.harvard.edu/professional/blog/top-skills-every-pr-professional-should-have). What can we gather from this information? The ability to evolve could possibly be the difference between being respected by managerial peers or never being able overcome the strategic management barrier.
With a broad term like “evolution” there are many facets to discuss. How can PR practitioners evolve in this day and age? One crucial new resource available to PR professionals is social media. By the usage of one hashtag, you can reach a variance of demographics, cultures, and places around the world. This can be an excellent way to maintain relationships with your public, while forging new connections locally and abroad. The options are endless. PR professionals should be steadily evolving with this new digital age in order to truly gain the recognition they desire from senior leadership.