ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Would you go against the company line?

The Medical Research Council fired its PR head for speaking out against a BAT donation

The Medical Research Council fired its PR head for speaking out against

a BAT donation

Clive Turner

Tobacco Manufacturers Assoc.

‘If I faced an ethical problem which badly disturbed me I would discuss

it with my organisation’s CEO. If it was seriously different from the

declared corporate policy I would have to consider resigning. What I

would not do is take it upon myself to publicise the dilemma with no

reference to my employer.’

Eric Flounders

Cunard Lines

‘Only those completely without integrity or a sense of morality could

say they would never speak out against their employer. What may prompt

individuals to do that depends on their own principles and the size of

their mortgage. Honouring your principles has a price and the price in

this case is the job.’

David Bryant


‘I see the role of a PR person as representing his or her organisation’s

view and that means collective responsibility. Before the organisation

has reached a conclusion on any matter the PR person can have an input

but once the company has made a clear decision he or she must except it.

Companies have a right to expect loyalty in these circumstances.’

Carole Graham

Schering Health Care

‘If I wasn’t happy with a company line and I really felt strongly about

it I wouldn’t work for that organisation. But I am a public relations

professional and am paid to represent the views of my company so I think

you have to divorce your own personal opinion from your work.’

Jane Howard

Leedex Public Relations

‘If, for whatever reason, your conscience is telling you that your

organisation is doing something inappropriate it is your duty to tell

them that. It is up to the individual to decide if they want to follow

the dictates of their conscience. The central question is whom you

express the feelings to.’

Jackie Elliot

Manning, Selvage and Lee

‘‘The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation...Mine

honour is my life; both grow in one; take honour from me, and my life is

done,’ as Shakespeare said. Or, in other words, yes. If it is something

I believe in strongly I would have to go against the company line.

Fortunately, I work in a company that would never put me in that



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