Taylor & Francis
Journal of Media Ethics: Exploring Questions of Media Morality
This article critically analyzes the ethics of Coca-Cola’s public relations strategies through the lens of corporate social responsibility, issue management, and moral legitimacy. Corporate legitimacy is essential for corporate survival and, in today’s complex environment, expectations for legitimacy have shifted. Corporations are called on to consider their roles in the context of the greater good. These changes call for an examination of what constitutes ethical communication for public relations practitioners. While theoretical advancements in the area of ethics sketch the landscape for providing for greater transparency in what the aims of organizations should be in providing for ethical communication, more needs to be done to examine the specific content of this communication. Toward this end, the authors seek to extend conversations and draw from Habermas’s theories of communicative action and Principle U to propose a new direction for evaluating public relations ethics.