This Week in PR Ethics (2/17/22): Virtue, China, Fairness and Ice Skating

From businesses thriving due to good works, to fairness in competition and the role of reputation – Virtue played a big role on ethics articles this week. Not to be outdone, there was a great Teleological article on navigating the ethical risks of doing business in China.

  • Virtue matters – I love this story. It is about how a spontaneous act of generosity and kindness by a bread company (H&S Bakery) with a driver stuck in traffic during the recent snowstorm, resulted in a 15% sales increase.
  • Banks Cutting Customers with Bad Reputations – Business Insider reports that Minnestoa Bank & Trust is ending their relationship with Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, not because of criminal activity, or legal risk, but reputational risk? Should brands stop service to those that may impact their reputation negatively? Is this any different than PR firms choosing with which industries they want to work?
  • Navigating the Ethical Risks of Doing business in China – As always, Harvard Business Review has a powerful article on the ethics of international business. I love how the authors present five options for navigating the ethical risks of doing business in China. This provides a solid framework for debate.
  • Fairness in Competition – One of the biggest stories of the past week dealt with the doping allegations at the Olympics. Should minors be treated differently? Did the Olympics take the right approach? Is this remaining true to their purpose and virtues?
  • Disclosure? Honesty?  – There are just so many things wrong with what the firm did based on what I am reading.  Read the article. Thanks to @gerardcorbett for first bringing it to my attention.  Hint: If you are tempted to secretly buy an industry news site to write nice things about you and trash your competitors. Don’t.
Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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