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UAL Research Online

The knowledge, skills and competencies for effective PR practice: Embedding ethics

Roberts-Bowman, Sarah (2014) The knowledge, skills and competencies for effective PR practice: Embedding ethics. In: Euprera 2014, 25-27 September, 2014, Brussels.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Roberts-Bowman, Sarah

This paper presents a UK pilot study connecting scholarship from the fields of competencies and knowledge with the theory and practice of public affairs (PA). It suggests an improved understanding of competencies could provide a practical mechanism to improve PA practice at the micro (individual self-aware), meso (organisational) and macro (societal) level.

The study provides a basis for in-depth research that explores the knowledge, skills and competencies for effective and transparent PA practice with the view to create a knowledge and competency framework. It addresses three key questions:

• What do PA practitioners need to know?
• What do PA practitioners need to do?
• How do PA practitioners need to behave?

Although the concept of ethics is not overtly mentioned in these questions, it is tied to the debate around behaviours. It is the mechanism of competencies that is appealing as a way of making explicit and tangible what constitutes ethical behaviour.

This research is relevant from four perspectives. Firstly, it is important to the reputation of the practice. The discipline engenders extreme of views as to whether it is moral, ethical and healthy for democracy, or whether it hinders and corrupts the democratic process. The research builds on the views of scholars such as Fitzpatrick and Bronstein (2006) and Berg (2012) that advocacy plays a valuable role.

Secondly, it addresses the need for a better understanding of practice and the environment in which it operates. In the UK a new style of coalition government and a significant number of new MPs in 2010 has impacted on the delivery of PA. Also the complexity and interconnectedness of the modern world, the economic crisis and the growing importance of societal issues has changed the nature of governance and business. As Schepers (2010) states there are now new ways of business-government cooperation and new skills are needed to operate in this new environment. McGrath et al (2010) argues PA practitioners need to be able to analyze, interpret and anticipate trends and developments and to provide strategic counsel. This study helps to identify what this new breed of practitioner looks like and contributes to professionalism.

Thirdly, there have been concerns amplified by the UK media surrounding financial misconduct of MPs and poor behaviour of PA practitioners. In order to address these the government tightened up the regulatory framework under which MPs operate and introduced new lobbying regulation. A practice that better understands itself and its responsibilities is more likely to evoke confidence and shape a regulatory environment that is workable rather than have further restrictions imposed on it.

Finally, the study addresses a gap in the PA body of knowledge by synthesizing scholarship from complementary fields of study to provide fresh conceptual and contemporary insights.

Official Website: http://www.euprera.org
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Ethics, Lobbying
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 27 September 2014
Event Location: Brussels
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2015 17:16
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2015 17:16
Item ID: 8418
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/8418

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