Public Relations, Ethics and Social Media: A Cross-National Study of PR Professionals


Margalit Toledano, FPRINZ, and Ruth Avidar, completed a comparative study examining PR practitioners’ perceptions about ethical practice on social media in two different countries.

Published by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), this study compares PR practitioner attitudes to specific ethical issues in social media in two different socio-cultural environments – New Zealand and Israel. Its major goal is to identify current practitioner attitudes toward ethics in societies that rank differently on international lists comparing levels of democracy in different countries. As New Zealand consistently rated higher in holding respectful norms towards human freedoms and organizational transparency, the first part of the hypothesis was that New Zealand PR practitioners would express stronger reservations about deviations from what was considered to be – by the industry’s professional norms – ethical and fair. Given Israel’s frequently low ranking, the second part of the hypothesis was that Israeli practitioners would express more compromising attitudes, or be more cynical, on ethics.

The study identifies PR practitioners’ need for clear ethical boundaries, including consideration of what counts as transgressions, and for support in making ethical decision. It hopes to inspire professional PR associations to take action and provide information and education to clarify practitioner confusion around ethical conduct on social media.

You can read more on this study here.