As reasons for this, interviewees cite the reporting of facts which are either not true, or confusive, and in any case only opportunistic. Communicators also specifically cite the ‘lack of internal culture in organizations, which produces incoherence between stated values/principles and effective behaviours’.
The most interesting part of the research is when interviewees are asked to define responsible communication.
This is what stakeholders and communicators reply (in order of priority):
°communicating clearly and completely (84 sh, 77 pr)
°respecting corporate as well as professional codes of ethics (78 sh, 76 pr)
°respecting consumers and end users (76 sh, 71 pr)
°always saying the truth (73 sh, 72 pr)
°promoting sustainable lifestyles (69 sh, 58 pr)
°being aware of the consequences of released information (68 sh, 69 pr).
While, for the general public, the indicators of responsible communication are (in order of priority):
°always say the complete truth (70)
°respecting ethic codes (68)
°promoting social behaviours (59)
°not offending sensitivities (48)
°raising funds for non profits (45)
°communicating community activities (40).
One may notice that while the first two groups prefer self referring items, the general public specifies that always saying the truth is not enough, responsible communication must always say the whole truth and must be much more outward oriented towards the improvement of society.
When interviewed public relators where asked how they solve ethical dilemmas rising from trying to perform responsible communication, the response was:
°I follow my own professional ethics (51)
°I follow ethical codes of my company (29)
°I follow the code of ethics of my profession (13)
°I do what my boss tells me (5)
When asked if they were aware of the following codes, interviewed public relators and stakeholders replied:
°the ferpi ethics code (41 sh, 29 pr)
°the treviso charter (39 sh, 27 pr) this is about communicating with minors
°the information and advertising chartes (37 sh, 28 pr)
°the opinion polls and information charter (19 sh, 10 pr)
°the global alliance protocol (19 sh, 12 pr).
Also, only 6% of public relators say they follow the professional ethics code.
This implies that 71% of public relators are not aware of the professional code, that only 6% profess to adapt their communicative behaviours to such code. No wonder that 91% of the general public believe that Italian companies are poor (61) and so-so (30) in communicating responsibly.
This is it friends.
Are there similar studies that you know of conducted in other countries which imply different things? Certainly a lor fo work needs to be done to improve our performance before we can even attempt to improve our reputation? Your immediate reactions?