Ethics of advertising

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    This thread is inspired by comments started elsewhere regarding student recruitment. What are examples of ethical student recruitment and advertising? What are unethical examples? It is especially important
    to demonstrate through reason what types of harm are caused by a
    particular action if it is defined as unethical. This way readers will gain an understanding of the principle
    behind it and be more likely to


    Here are ten steps used for exploring ethical dilemmas in the helping professions. This could apply to teaching as well because it is at its heart a helping profession. The purpose of these steps is to expand one’s sense of ethics beyond instinct and intuition. This process is intended to remove personal bias and increase objectivity in determining the best course of action for all involved.

    Step 1: Develop ethical
    This is our natural instincts and intuition based on values we were raised with. It is that sense that something is not right and needs to be explored.

    Step 2: Clarify facts and
    sociocultural context of the case
    . It is important to respect the different boundaries inherent to each cultlure and context in which an ethical dilemma is presented.

    Step 3: Define the central issues
    and the available options
    . This includes identifying the ethical principle in question: autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence. Also, exploring every course of action available to the individual.

    Step 4: Refer to professional
    standards and relevant laws/regulations
    . Such literature is not as readily available for artists, but there is information for educators and guidelines in the musicians union.

    Step 5: Search ethics scholarship. This could easily go outside the field of music specifically and into the ethics scholarship itself.

    Step 6: Apply ethical principles to
    the situation
    . Once relevant principles are defined, then how do these apply in the specific context at hand?

    Step 7: Consult with supervisor and
    respected colleagues
    . This step is in part being covered by exploring hypothetical, but representative, issues here on this forum. In some cases this is best done with confidentiality. This is why a network of trusted professionals is so valuable to making good choices.

    Step 8: Deliberate and decide.

    Step 9: Inform supervisor and
    implement and document actions
    . This will be relevent in certain contexts only. There are more contexts in which documenting actions is of value.

    Step 10: Reflect on the experience. This step is especially important because hindsight tends to be 20/20. We can also learn from mistakes as well as from successes. Keeping a journal that recounts how dilemmas are resolved is of great benefit to look back on and analyze in the future. It is also a resource for what decisions proved to be the best course in past situations.


    The simple ethics of advertising are these: honor what you say you offer, for the amount you offer. Honesty is expected and more-or-less required by consumer protection laws. Some tactics businesses commonly use are bait-and-switch, where one product is advertised at a low price to get you into their store, then they only have a more expensive one to offer. Another is to simply not have the product at all, say it’s on order, or take an order and never get it. I will think of more examples later.


    Julie- The guidelines you list in your two posts are something only an objective professional could hold to. The person in the middle of an ethical dilema simply doesn’t see the same situation objectively. And 10 other people standing on the sidelines observing what has happened between two people are likely to take sides, which colors their final judgement as to what happened. Just look at what happens to family and friends when a couple divorce. If you then add to that common personality disorders such as narcissism(as I outlined in another thread) then things get warped even further.

    I don’t want to flog a dead horse here, but as an example, a narcissist looks at his own behavior as being very caring, and he/she will tell anyone who will listen that he/she loves to ‘help’ people. To anybody watching what the narcissist is doing, or who is the unfortunate target of the narcissists ‘help,’ the narcissist is simply a meddlesome busybody who can never mind his/her own business. The point that I’m getting at is that ethical behavior exists largly in the eye of the beholder.

    One point of view already expressed on this site is that there is nothing wrong with someone ‘fishing’ for students here. Is it therefore ethical for someone who knows that that teacher is not a good teacher, is difficult to deal with, who has created problems for past students on a number of levels, to warn prospective students?

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