Dr. Melanie McNaughton, who teaches public relations at Bridgewater State University, explores ethics and public relations in this video:
One interview subject distinguishes between morals, ethics and corporate social responsibility: morals and morality are our personal beliefs; ethics are shared community standards that we agree to; and corporate responsibility is a way of behaving. The ideal outcome, he says, is to generate trust and reputation. But companies that take positions on controversial issues run the risk of alienating some customers. How is this serving the interests of stockholders? In other words, can responsible corporate behavior come at a cost?
Questions for you: Before you answer, consider the case of Dicks Sporting Goods, whose CEO, Edward W. Stack, said in February 2018 that his company would stop selling assault-type rifles. This decision was announced two weeks after a gunman in Parkland, Fla., had killed 17 people, most of them teenagers, with an AR-15 that was legally purchased (although not from Dicks). In April of that year, he announced that they would destroy their inventory of those weapons, and in October 2019 he told the New York Times that $5 million worth of them had been destroyed. Research this case and discuss whether these ethics-based decisions were made simply to generate good publicity, were sound business actions, or both.
Video link listed below: