A study at Baylor University found that a good majority of PR Professionals aren't swayed by their managers or those higher up in their companies to make unethical decisions. They viewed themselves as being able to make their own decisions, while not being tied down to what others want. By not conforming and having open communication with their managers, they don't find themselves being what some could consider "yes men" to their bosses. This open communication with their managers keeps their credibility when making ethical decisions and lets the managers know not to mess with them.
Setting an Example
It is the CEO of a company's job to enforce a work environment where those working below them know what is ethically right and wrong to do. The CEO has to set these rules and boundaries from the very beginning in order for their to be no question what the employees are allowed to do. Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation, got into a scandal when his employees made an unethical decision and tampered with evidence in a murder investigation. He tried to blame his employees by saying it wasn't his fault and they should have known that what they did wasn't okay. Saying this made Murdoch look bad. It was up to him as a leader of a company to make sure his employees knew not to do certain things and to also know what was going on at all times.
There are several reasons why employees in PR companies end up going against what they believe and making an unethical decision. A lot of the time it has to deal with being afraid of their managers or those higher up. They don't want to question them or tell them they think they're wrong. They feel uncomfortable standing up to their superiors and voicing their opinions. They don't want to get fired so they just get over it and do what they are told to do. Another reason for making these decisions is because they feel pressure to be the best and get the best content out there before anyone else. This competition, combined with being scared of their managers, can really drive anyone to make a bad choice.
What to do?
We can't just blame employees for creating problems or making unethical decisions. We have to go to those higher up and make sure that they are making it a priority for those under them to know what is allowed and what isn't allowed in their company. But even that isn't enough. Those higher up must also make it a point to hold the ones that do something wrong accountable for their actions. They have to be strict in what they will not accept from them. But, they should do it in a way that doesn't make their employees feel as if they are being talked down to. Finding the right balance will create open and honest communication between everyone so that no one is afraid. This will keep the peace and create a work environment where everyone does what they know they should do.