EQ -- PRSA Ethics Quotient Quiz

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Quizzes Created: 2 | Total Attempts: 55,433
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EQ -- PRSA Ethics Quotient Quiz - Quiz

Welcome to the PRSA Ethics Quotient (EQ) Quiz.
This is a new 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of the ethical practice of public relations. If you have already taken an earlier PR ethics quiz, please try this one. It is significantly different than any previous quizzes.
The quiz has been developed to help public relations practitioners assess their sensitivity and knowledge of professional standards, according to the Member Code of Ethics of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). If you get any questions incorrect, please read the explanation of the correct answer. Read more

To learn more about the PRSA's Code of Ethics, go to: https://www. Prsa. Org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/CodeEnglish/
We hope you find this exercise challenging, perhaps even surprising. Most of all, we hope it helps your thinking as you establish personal guidelines for your practice, and face the ethical questions and dilemmas the practice of public relations generates.

As a part of its ongoing responsibility to teach, educate, and advance the ethical practice of public relations, the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) will periodically issue revised Ethics Quotient Exams. While this exercise is voluntary, PRSA members are obligated to abide by the PRSA Code of Ethics. Should you have any questions as a practitioner, please feel free to contact BEPS. We would be happy to respond to any questions you might have.
Have a great time, bend your brain, and


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    You are having a briefing meeting with a new client and want to be sure to capture all of their comments, so you bring a tape recorder to the meeting. You don’t want it to be a distraction, so you place it inside your folder on the table and record the meeting without mentioning it to the client. Are you breaching PR ethics?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      No

    Correct Answer
    A. Yes
    Explanation
    Answer: Yes, you are breaching PR ethics. While it is legal to record conversations in some states as long as one of the parties is aware of the recording, it is still unethical to record conversations without all parties being aware of it. Four different PRSA Code of Ethics provisions: Free Flow of Information, Disclosure of Information, Safeguarding Confidences, and Conflicts of Interest dictate that one should always inform all parties participating in the dialogue that a recording of the conversation is intended, allowing anyone who disapproves to refrain from participating.

    For more information about issues of illegal and unethical recording, see PRSA Professional Standards Advisory #18: http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/ProfessionalStandardsAdvisories/

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  • 2. 

    You are a sole practitioner and have five clients. You contacted a local university’s public relations department and agreed to hire two interns over the summer. While the internships are unpaid, the students will get credit.  Is this practice unethical? 

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      No

    Correct Answer
    B. No
    Explanation
    Answer: No, the practice is not unethical, so long as the student interns work under the close supervision of existing staff, are getting an educational opportunity beyond the drudge work that includes menial tasks such as making copies and filing, and are not displacing a regular employee. However, if you plan to charge the client for the work done by the interns, then they should be paid. Note that when a student is getting course credit for an internship, they must pay tuition. Therefore, it is even more onerous to the student when an employer insists that the internship be for course credit but then does not compensate the intern. For more information about the ethical use of interns, see PRSA Professional Standards Advisory #17: http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/ProfessionalStandardsAdvisories/

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  • 3. 

    You are working on a Power Point presentation to report program results to your client. To liven it up, you capture a funny photo you found on the Web for your first slide.  Is it plagiarism?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      No

    Correct Answer
    A. Yes
    Explanation
    Answer: Yes, it is plagiarism, unless you provide an acknowledgment somewhere in your presentation of the source of the photo.

    Note that this question is about plagiarism and not copyright infringement. While it is not a violation of copyright to use such a captured image for educational purposes for one class, it may be a violation to use the image in a setting with a larger audience or with the potential to make money. You definitely would be violating the copyright if you published the presentation with the image.

    How do you fix the plagiarism problem?
    Get in the habit of adding a list of acknowledgments to every presentation. You can include sources for images and video as well as thanks for the people who helped you. See PRSA Professional Standards Advisory #16 for more information about plagiarism and copyright. Also see Professional Standards Advisory #14 on the Expropriation of the Intellectual Property of Others: http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/ProfessionalStandardsAdvisories/

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  • 4. 

    You recently took a graduate class on leadership, and the professor said some interesting things in her lecture that really got you thinking.  You were so intrigued by the lecture that you decide to write a white paper about these issues and post it on your website.  Is it plagiarism if you do not cite the professor? 

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      No

    Correct Answer
    A. Yes
    Explanation
    Answer: Yes, it is plagiarism to represent someone else's ideas as your own. You must acknowledge the source of these ideas in your white paper. Note that while ideas cannot be copyrighted, it is still unethical to use someone else’s ideas without giving them credit.

    How do you fix the plagiarism problem?
    Take good notes, record the date, and cite the lecture in your paper. Talk with your professor to find other sources you can read and cite.

    See PRSA Professional Standards Advisory #16 for more information about plagiarism and copyright. Also see Professional Standards Advisory #14 on the Expropriation of the Intellectual Property of Others: http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/ProfessionalStandardsAdvisories/

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  • 5. 

     You have been asked to guest-lecture in a PR class.  In your research, you come across a great lesson plan in a library book. It includes a sample worksheet page, and you photocopy it to hand out to the students.  Is it copyright infringement? 

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      No

    Correct Answer
    B. No
    Explanation
    Answer: It is probably not a copyright infringement. You should be able to use the first set of photocopies for educational purposes without fear of reprisal, under the “fair use” clause for copyrighted material for educational purposes, especially if the resource was published very recently. However, if you begin to teach this class regularly, you cannot keep using photocopied pages year after year, since it deprives the copyright holder from benefiting from the regular use of his or her intellectual property. You should always check the copyright information at the front of the book to see if there are any specific permissions required.

    How do you avoid copyright infringement?

    If the pages are not protected by copyright, use them. If they are, and you want to use them more than once, even for educational purposes, buy the workbooks for your students (or have them buy them). Publishers also can grant access to portions of copyrighted materials for a smaller fee than making the students purchase the entire book.

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  • 6. 

    You had lunch with a business colleague one afternoon and detailed a dream you had of someday starting a consulting business to train managers in a particular manner that you know will be well received.  In your discussion you outline your plans in great detail.  A year later, you hear that your colleague has published a book.  When you read it, you find that it is your training concept spelled out almost verbatim as you explained it.  Is it copyright infringement? 

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      No

    Correct Answer
    B. No
    Explanation
    No. According to the University of Maine at Farmington’s website on copyright infringement, “Copyright applies only to work fixed in a tangible medium of expression. In other words, ideas are not copyrighted. Unless you wrote down your dream, you have no recourse.” See: http://plagiarism.umf.maine.edu/copyright/avoid.html

    However, the colleague did plagiarize you if she did not acknowledge the source of her ideas, which is a breach of ethics, and you could certainly let her know what you think of her actions.

    To avoid future problems of unscrupulous people stealing your ideas, write them down and date them. If you had done this and sent them to your colleague after your lunch, you might then have some legal recourse for copyright infringement when the article was published.

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  • 7. 

    During a media interview, your CEO misstates a key fact about your firm’s product capability, making it sound far more advanced than it really is.  It was purely an accident and was not intended to mislead, but the fact is now part of the published story.  What should you do?    

    • A.

      A. Nothing. It is too late to fix.

    • B.

      B. Send a letter to the editor asking for a printed correction.

    • C.

      C. Send a notice to your customers making them aware of the mistake.

    • D.

      D. Both B & C above.

    Correct Answer
    D. D. Both B & C above.
    Explanation
    Answer: D. (both B&C). Even though the mistake was unintentional and correcting this information may prove embarrassing to the executive, failure to promptly correct erroneous information delivered to news media would not be in keeping with the PRSA Code of Ethics professional values of Advocacy, Honesty, Independence, and Fairness.

    For more information on this topic see PRSA Professional Standards Advisory #15, “LOOKING THE OTHER WAY.” http://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/Ethics/professionalstandardsadvisories/

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  • 8. 

    A “code of ethics”—strictly defined—can be written by any group wishing to distinguish its members in some way from the rest of society, and should be concerned about how the behavior of its members impacts upon society.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    True. A code of ethics specifically codifies a group’s relationship to society. Ethics codes must be within a society’s legal parameters and moral norms; however, within those boundaries, society allows professional groups the freedom to determine their roles in society by publicly defining their relationship to society.

    Organizations also sometimes create “codes of conduct” or “codes of behavior” that specify how members should behave under certain circumstances regardless of whether this behavior impact upon society.

    Acknowledgement: This question was provided by Dean A. Kruckeberg, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, taken from his article "Testing Your Public Relations E.Q.," published in the spring 1997 issue of The Strategist (pages 31, 33-35).

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  • 9. 

    Who are the primary beneficiaries of professional ethics in public relations?(pick just one)   A.   Clients  B.  Society       C.  Public Relations Professionals   

    • A.

      A. Clients

    • B.

      B. Society

    • C.

      C. Public Relations Professionals

    Correct Answer
    C. C. Public Relations Professionals
    Explanation
    Answer: C. Public Relations Professionals. We as a professional community are the primary beneficiaries of our ethics, which permit us to self-identify our role in society by publicly defining our voluntary relationship with society. Our ethics clarify what our professional community has agreed to be the parameters of our professional conduct, even though a society’s legal code and moral norms may allow behavior that extends beyond our professional community’s self-declared ethical boundaries.

    Because of this, society and our clients do also benefit from the ethical practice of public relations. But the primary beneficiaries are the members of the professional public relations community.

    Acknowledgement: This question was provided by Dean A. Kruckeberg, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, taken from his article "Testing Your Public Relations E.Q.," published in the spring 1997 issue of The Strategist (pages 31, 33-35).

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  • 10. 

    The focus of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards is to enforce the Member Code of Ethics for PRSA members.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    Answer: False. Public relations practitioners who voluntarily join a professional community through a formal structured association such as PRSA, agree to bind themselves to a Code of Professional Conduct. The Code establishes guidelines for ethical behavior as defined by the professional group.

    BEPS is not a police force. Its role is to educate members about the Code of Ethics and to help members understand how to conduct themselves ethically, especially in these evolving times of media upheaval and technology changes.

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