Ethical issues usually consist of decisions that may be acceptable in one culture but not in another. Good intent of one pr practitioner may not be enough to ensure ethical behaviours, and may affect reputation of the organization or company. If pr practitioners do not take a proactive role in upholding ethics, the organization may be seen as incompetent.
As already mentioned, ethical behaviour means different things for each individual. Hence, a grading system of some sort is needed for everyone to follow. Examples are deontology, consequentialism, inclusion and proactive ethics. These are ideas or school of thoughts that help pr pratitioners carry out their duties ethically.
I personally relate most to is consequentialism. This enables one to see the big picture and to do what is best in the interest of the masses. This is similar to utilitarianism. However, a major disadvantage is that the ethics of the means of achieving goals is not considered. This can result in disastrous outcomes. Take for example, Ford Motor Company, which ignored a design flaw of the Ford Pinto due to economical reasons. Analysts calculated that the amount to correct this design flaw would cost more than the insurance pay-out derived from the probability of accidents and deaths occurring. Although it is economically beneficial, Ford's decision to ignore flaws was undoubtedly unethical.
Another infamous case study> Enron