Baylor Public Relations Expert: Millennials in PR Feel Unprepared to Offer Companies Advice on Moral Dilemmas at WorkAugust 15, 20172 min read
Millennials who are pursuing careers in public relations do not feel prepared to offer advice on ethics to their companies — and in fact, they do not expect to face ethical dilemmas at work, according to a Baylor University study.
Millennials or Generation Y — generally identified as people born between 1981 or 1982 through 2000 — are projected to make up one third to one half of the country’s workforce by 2025. They will shift from being “doers” to being “deciders” in businesses, and their ethical compass will set the course for subsequent generations of public relations professionals, said study author Marlene Neill, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.
“The study findings about lack of ethical readiness are a cause for concern,” Neill said. “If Millennials don’t feel equipped, they may be misled by their superiors or used as instruments of unethical behavior.” Without mentoring or training, they must learn by trial and error.
Researchers found that factors that have a positive impact on Millennials readiness to face ethics issues include ethics training in college, workplace training, training through professional associations and mentoring by someone inside or outside their organization.
But while the majority (74 percent) had received ethics training in college, most had not received training in the workplace through such methods as videos, handbooks and learning modules; or through a professional organization such as PRSA.
Besides lacking confidence, most appear to be overly optimistic that they will not have to confront such common dilemmas as truthfulness in communication, altering researching results, working with questionable clients or blurring of personal and professional speech online, Neill said.
Marlene Neill, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media
Professor Neill's research interests include internal communication, public relations management and ethics