Ethical Communication Term Paper

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Ethical Communication

The Definition of Ethics

In practically all areas of society ethical subjects are rapidly increasing. Professionals in the health field struggle with ethical questions in relation to abortion, transplants, birth control, informed consent, life-support systems, malpractice suits, patient privacy, human genetics, and high costs of insurance, as well as care on the whole. Ethical matters in relation to nuclear power accidents, oil spills, disposal of industrial waste, defense weaponry, lead and asbestos poisoning, acid rain, as well as ecological balance challenge those in technology, science, and industry. People in the political ground deal with ethical queries in relation to unemployment, homelessness, foreign policy decisions, Social Security, welfare reform, electioneering costs, law enforcement practices, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) activities, racial and gender discrimination, immigration control, drugs, crime, and lobbying actions. The legal profession is blamed of unethical customs like engaging in doubtful plea-bargaining practices, motivating a harmful litigious spirit, charging excessive fees, and advertising inappropriately. The business and corporate world is confronted on need of reality in selling unsafe products, being involved in savings, as well as loan scandals, advertising, involved in insider trading, committing white collar crimes, in addition to giving unrestrained allegiance to the profit motive.

Likewise, in mass communications an overpowering anxiety with profit creates humiliating sensationalism, entertainment, exploitation of photography, suspect distribution of resources, dramatic investigative reporting, little concentration in truth telling, incursion of privacy, as well as questionable editorial judgments. "Never in the history of our profession have editors and reporters been more aware of the need for ethical behavior and the ethical treatment of stories," wrote McMasters (1996, p. 17).

Academia is overwhelmed by charges of dubious research measures, an interest in advancing individual research rather than pandering to contemporary trends, engaging in excessive outside consulting, honoring good teaching, and bowing to business anxieties. Reckless individualism and unrestrained greed give the impression to be on the raise, not only in the United States but also in previous Communist countries like Russia. These extensive circumstances have enthused a strong interest in ethics, and a resentful electorate is demanding a more ethical standard of behavior.

The Definition of Communication

Conceivably the expression human communication is all too often employed to explain all communication. This is not practicable when it is essential to differentiate mass mediated communication from nonmediated communication. The research procedure starts when the researcher appraises the literature appropriate to the inquiry or theory of interest, yielding the literature evaluation. Preceding theory and research structure the foundation for a novel approach, model, or theory that understands communication in a different way. Consequently, information is essential to both the communication and the theory-research procedure; it starts the procedure by directing to something novel, either in the surroundings (such as Newton's apple leading us to gravity) or in a specific literature (for example theories of how the brain functions coming from neuropsychological researches).

We all are familiar with the formula that "knowledge is power." But what does this actually signify? Knowledge in relation to the communication procedures has exceedingly realistic uses for a diversity of reasons -- convincing other people to do what you desire, for good or evil reasons; educating elementary students; introducing an information operation to decrease AIDS risk behaviors; selling soap; informing and educating the public in relation to some significant subject; indoctrination the people, aggrandizing all power and turning out to be a complete dictator; and so onwards.

One should thank the researchers; these researchers have advanced a lot of ideas in relation to human and mass communication procedures. With some historical viewpoints, one can see that the communication procedure was once directed by naive theories, a number of them as simple as those utilized to appreciate language achievement. Language was once considered as arising from physical effort (yo-he-ho), from simulation of nature sounds (onomatopoeic, e.g., bow-wow), or when the mouth and vocal organs attempted to pantomime body signs (Gray, 1992). The mass communication procedures were once directed by an unsophisticated concept of a direct and worldwide "hypodermic-needle" which affects an impressionable and inactive audience (Tankard, 1990, pp. 90-108).

Real World Example

An excellent deal of mass communication research comprises of bodies of research for instance media ethics, violence and so
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forth. Westley (1958b) distinguished the tendency in the direction of "conceptual models" in mass communication as an attempt to "stake out significant concepts in the field, to codify scattered findings of the past and weave them into a single conceptual framework which will help give direction and focus on future work" (p. 313). Models are shorthand efforts to confine the spirit of a conceptual subject or query of interest. A model "seeks to show the main elements of any structure or process and the relationships between [and among] these elements" (Campbell & Jamieson, 1990, p. 2). For case in point, Lasswell (1948) enigmatic model: "Who Says What in Which Channel to Whom with What Effect?" This uncomplicated model aims research consideration to the message, the source, the receiver, the channel, and the result or costs. Even though Lasswell's model sketches consideration to quite a few major fundamentals in the mass communication procedure, it does no more than explain universal areas of research. It does not connect fundamentals jointly with any specificity, and there is no concept of a lively "procedure." Still, it created great interest. A dozen years subsequent to Lasswell, Berlo (1960) elaborated his personal source--message--channel -- receiver example that turned out to be a custom for the investigation of human communication procedures for a decade. Models are practical to the degree they:

1. Identify relationships amid concepts/variables. A practical model will produce theoretical theories, demonstrating the nature and course of linkages amid the apparatus;

2. Are comparatively easy to articulate vocally or visually;

3. Distinguish an active procedure;

4. Arouse research; as well as 5. Are receptive to transformation and modification from research results.

The hypodermic-needle model subjugated until the 1940s. As talked about earlier, even though there is some difficulty whether such a model subjected scholarly research, anyone evaluating pre-World War II popular literature will see that it motivated a great deal of popular thinking in relation to the mass media and their outcomes. As one medical writer noted: "The story of mass media in America reads much like the case history of a public health menace" (Starker, 1989, p. 5).

In the war, as well as postwar era, the beginning of quantitative, empirically founded research findings confronted the previously overstated assertions of unmitigated media influences. Only after Klapper reviewed the newly collected research into a substitute model in 1960, out coming in the supposed "limited-effects" (or "minimal-effects") model was the hypodermic-needle model discarded.

Klapper transferred consideration from media messages to the role of addressees in the mass communication procedure. This was a significant progress, however, one reduced by researchers who turned out to be excessively stimulated about the power of an "active" and even "obstinate" addressees capable to overcome media messages (Bauer, 1964). A deteriorating of limited-effects research is established in a dependence on short-term researches and reviews; it mainly abandoned how complicated it is to compute the effects of increasing messages. One more restraint was an anxiety with affective and behavioral effects, rather than cognitive effects.

From the start, researchers were uncomfortable with the limited-effects idea that the mass media were comparatively minor donors to media effects. The limited effects model argues that a diversity of sociological, as well as emotional factors intervene and decrease the influences of any mass communication message. Klapper argued that the chief impact of the mass media was to strengthen accessible views, instead of transforming old ones -- a pose as severe as the hypodermic needle's had been in the opposite direction. Its authority was obvious in research all through this period. For case in point, a review on The American Voter (Campbell, Converse, Miller, & Stokes, 1960) noted:

It is seldom wise to rely on even the most rigorous study of mass media for indications of the public's familiarity with any specific issue. In general, public officials and people involved in public relations tend to overestimate the impact that contemporary issues have on the public. They find it difficult to believe that the reams of newspaper copy and hours of television and radio time could be ignored by any normal person within the reach of these media. The fact seems to be, however, that human perceptions are highly selective, and unless it happens to be tuned to a particular wavelength, the message transmitted will be received only as noise." (p. 99)

The restricted media effects model, like the bullet theory, is no longer accepted. At present, the leading general outlook is reasonable media effects. Nonetheless, features of the limited-effects model continue. McGuire (1986) rebuked popular commentators and experimental scholars for sticking to the "myth of massive media impact" in spite of what he competes is considerable empirical confirmation to the contrary:

First, we are not arguing that no media effects have been found, but only that the demonstrated effects are…

Sources Used in Documents:


Arnett R.C. (1992). Dialogic education: Conversation about ideas and between persons. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Berlo D.K. (1960). Dimensions for evaluating the acceptability of message sources. Public Opinion Quarterly, 33, 563-576.

Bauer R.A. (1964). The obstinate audience: The influence process from the point-of-view of social communication. American Psychologist, 19, 319-328.

Converse E.J., Campbell D.T., Miller R.D. And Stokes L. (1960). Nonreactive measures in the social sciences. (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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