Public Relations Review 36 (2010) 152–156
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Public Relations Review
Ethical conﬂict and job satisfaction of public relations practitioners
Department of Communication, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Central Missouri, Box 800, Warrensburg, MO 64093, United States
Received 3 July 2009
Received in revised form
10 November 2009
Accepted 17 November 2009
This study attempted to explore the linkage between ethical conﬂict and job satisfaction,
causes of ethical conﬂicts, and consequences of job dissatisfaction of public relations prac-
titioners. The ﬁndings show that many practitioners conﬁrmed the existence of ethical
conﬂict in their workplace and suggest that ethical challenges are largely triggered by top
management’s ethical standard. Although practitioners resolved conﬂicts by leaving their
companies, they also recognized the hope in resolving the ethical challenges that they had
faced. Participants emphasized the importance of an open communication environment,
the support of internal stakeholders, and a high professional standard.
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Scholars have explored job satisfaction as an index to measure the desirability of certain work conditions, because it
reﬂects the quality of work life and psychological well-being of workers (Pincus, Knipp, & Rayﬁeld, 1990; Pugliesi, 1999).
Consequently it is closely related to the steady prosperity of a profession and employers.
Public relations scholarship has given intermittent attention to job satisfaction. However, the ethics issue has not been a
focus of any previous studies on public relations practitioners’ job satisfaction. Thus, this study is one of the ﬁrst to examine
voices from real workplaces. This research depicts the types of ethics concerns or distresses that public relations practitioners
experience and how the experience affects the quality of work life in the public relations profession.
1. Literature review
1.1. Public relations and job satisfaction
Job satisfaction study of public relations was initially conducted to defend public relations’ occupational progress as a
unique profession (McKee, Nayman, & Lattimore, 1975; Pratt, 1986; Shin, 1989). Scholarship found various job satisfaction
levels in terms of practitioners’ managerial roles and participation in the decision-making process (Broom & Dozier, 1986),
organizational communication structure (Grunig, 1992; Pincus, 1986), public relations models (Grunig & Grunig, 1992;
Karadjov, Kim, & Karavasilev, 2000; Kim & Hon, 1998) and the gender gap (Rentner & Bissland, 1990). Meanwhile, the
linkage between ethics issues and job satisfaction in public relations has not yet been explored, although ethics is regarded
as an essence of professionalization (Day, Dong, & Robins, 2001; Pratt & Renter, 1989).
RQ1: To what extent are practitioners’ perceived ethical conﬂict and their job satisfaction linked?
Earlier version of this manuscript was presented at the 12th International Public Relations Conference at Miami, FL.
Tel.: +1 205 331 3518.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
0363-8111/$ – see front matter © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.