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  Refereed Paper Abstracts

Conflicts of duty and the virtues of Aristotle in public relations ethics: Continuing the conversation commenced by Monica Walle.


Monica Walles commentary on codes of ethics from five national public relations associations What happened to public responsibility? The lack of society in public relations codes of ethics, in the last issue of PRism (2003), made several useful points about potential conflicts of duty, and the manner in which the various codes are silent on the duty of the professional to the public interest. Indeed, it is this very notion of service to the community, and the upholding of the public interest against private interests--or the singular interest of publics--which is at the core of any definition of what it means to be a profession (Sallot, Cameron, & Lariscy, 1997). Issues arising from Walles discussion of conflicts of duty, as well as several broader questions about the nature and functions of ethics codes, are discussed further here and illustrated by the recent and controversial ?Timberlands case from New Zealand.

Changing the public relations curriculum: A new challenge for educators.


Public relations education is facing a fundamental challenge to its theoretical and pedagogical directions.  Unless educators respond to the changes that technology is bringing to the communities they serve, the academy faces the prospect of becoming irrelevant by not providing students with the skills and knowledge required by the marketplace. A strategic view, therefore, needs to be taken of future practitioner, client and student needs. This article discusses the impact of technology on the practice of public relations, reviews the literature of curriculum development in the Asia Pacific region, and offers some perspectives on future directions for strategic public relations curriculum planning.

Constructivist learning perspectives in the online public relations classroom.


Many researchers and educators use constructivist theory to analyse what works well in online classrooms. Past research suggests successful online teaching strategies involve community learning, shared interactions, and meaningful learning experiences. In this study, educators who taught public relations online, in either graduate or undergraduate settings, were interviewed using in-depth key informant surveys. Most interviewees reported successful integration of community learning, shared interactions, peer activities, real-world problem analysis, and other activities that reflect constructivist learning theory. The majority of online PR educators described themselves as ?guides on the side or people who facilitate learning, such as coaches. None fell into the ?sage on the stage category.  The findings of this study suggest that constructivist learning theory is a successful framework for online public relations curriculum design.

Finding Voices: Authentic learning online in the field of public communication and citizenship.


The virtual classroom, an online ?open space with innumerable possibilities, offers an opportunity to integrate conventional educational resources and pedagogy with technology in a reacculturation of both teachers and students. This paper reports on a case of authentic, experiential and constructivist learning developed for tertiary students of public communication and citizenship. The course of study asks students to examine the problematic and contentious areas of self-interest, persuasion, power and ethics in contemporary contexts of mass media and globalisation. Using this example, this paper shows how online teaching strategies have integrated with the total learning environment to achieve higher order learning in this field beyond just ?skilling for jobs. The paper looks particularly at divergent ways the online environment makes students think analytically and critically in experiential and group learning situations, and examines how some unique attributes of the online environment can help different student groups, like international and off -campus students, to achieve a more effective and democratic learning experience.

Leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand: A cross-cultural study.


This study investigates the leadership characteristics of New Zealands two largest cultural groups, Māori and Pakeha. It examines the extent to which these leadership characteristics are rooted in the unique contexts of each culture. Followers perceptions of leadership behaviour were examined using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). The hypothesis that leadership is deeply rooted in the broader cultural contexts was supported. This provides tentative evidence that leadership concepts are culturally endorsed in New Zealand, and raises important questions for all communicators operating in multi-cultural environments.


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