April Showers Bring May Flowers

Tradition Four: Each local chapter should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or communications as a whole.

What are you doing to nourish your industry affiliations? Just as the earth needs water and sun to grow in abundance, your community needs nourishment to grow strong communicators. Identify your community. Do not limit your community to friends and
immediate coworkers only. Build relationships and seek out kindred spirits in your village. Branch out with virtual and face-to-face

Instead of complaining or bashing affiliations, get involved and spur a difference. Carry the torch. If you are familiar with this blog, you know I have done my fair share of criticizing PRSA.  I have done a bit of growing up and realize this attitude gets you nowhere. Yes, it’s frustrating not all of my peers "get it" – this is why I adore the Social Media Club logo/slogan, "If you get it, share it." There is so much room to grow while teaching. There is so much more I have yet to learn…

Moral Obligations

Tradition 3: The only requirement for membership is a moral obligation to uphold the principles of the communications industry.

Legalities are not necessary if we as an industry are founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct. If you consider yourself part of the public relations industry, you are bound to the duty of upholding the principles of the communications industry. It doesn’t matter if you have APR after your name or a college degree.

"There are several ways to look at autonomy as it relates to responsibility and accountability. Philosopher and ethicist Mitchell Haney suggests that the moral community is composed of two kinds of actors: responsible actors and accountable actor. Responsibility is viewed within this model as having a higher level of autonomy by nature in that it implies the actor is able to "self-oversee, self-regulate, and self-motivate responsive adjustments to maintain adherence with appropriate moral standards of action."

Responsible actors need not depend on external or mediated motivational pressure for responsive adjustment. They are expected to be motivated to correct harms and reduce future risk of harms without external or mediated pressure to do so…Freedom means lacking barriers to our action that are in any way external to our will, though it also requires that we use a law to guide our decisions, a law that can come to us only by an act of our own will."Ethics in Public Relations: Responsible Advocacy by Kathy R. Fitzpatrick and Carolyn Bronstein.

Autonomy, anyone?

Group Conscience

Tradition 2: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a representative group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

conscience: the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience.

While the public relations industry does not have one central authority, our principles are the same. Those of us with a Web presence are those trusted servants.


Group conscience does not equate to clique. See Geoff Livingston’s take.

How do you rate your civic virtue?

As I get older, my quest for individualism wanes and I become more deeply involved with community issues. Learning to think for self is necessary, but self does not have all the answers. Respectful interaction is learned, not inherent, especially with younger Gen X, Y and V. Living in a society requires social connectedness acceptance of boundaries against infringement. How the self is conducted in a community is a direct reflection of personal morals. This is civic virtue.

"Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects and human capital refers to the properties of individuals, social capital refers to connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. In that sense social capital is closely related to what some have called “civic virtue.” The difference is that “social capital” calls attention to the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a sense network of reciprocal social relations. A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social capital." -Robert Putnam

A flourishing community is the result of individuals righteously practicing basic principles for the betterment of the whole.

Robert Putnam defines three civic virtues:

  1. Active participation in public life
  2. Trustworthiness
  3. Reciprocity acquired through social connectedness

Become part of the "WE."

How do you rate your civic virtue?

"We believe our profession is in a strong position to succeed in the 21st century. None of the new roles we have described is currently the responsibility of an existing department, and our evolution as a function has prepared us well to take them on. Although success will require new approaches, deeper business knowledge and new skills and measurements, we are ready for this moment." — Arthur W. Page Society, The Authentic Enterprise