Matilda Kolić Stanić

University of Zagreb - University Department of Croatian Studies
Zagreb, Croatia

INDECS 17(2-B), 417-429, 2019
DOI 10.7906/indecs.17.2.15
Full text available here.

Received: 10th September 2018.
Accepted: 21st June 2019.
Regular article


The issue of transparency in public relations, or as it is more often referred, the conflict of interest, belongs to the group of the crucial ethical issues. Nevertheless, among scholars, there exist the question of how strict the imperative of transparency should be, not just concerning the cultural differences or the areas in the world where public relations professionals come from. Given the reputation of the public relations profession, which is still partially marked with negative labels, the issue of transparency in self-regulation of professionals in PR is of utmost importance. Aiming to explore the importance of transparency for PR professionals, and how this issue is regulated, the research was conducted through a method of qualitative content analysis based on 13 ethical codes, delivered by 18 major associations of public relations professionals at national and international levels, which belong to the Western Circle: United States, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Croatia. Although the value of transparency is articulated in all ethical codes, there exist some differences, especially if a distinction is made between conflicts of interest and financial interests. In this respect, few differences emerged with regard to the character of membership in associations (individual/corporative/mixed membership), or their type (national or international) and much less within the geographical milieu of the association. The core finding is actually "the struggle" between the principle level and the operational level of transparency in PR-field: is it possible to be "ethically correct" just if PR-professionals announce that they are in conflict of interests and the client has nothing against?

transparency, conflict of interests, public relations, ethics

JEL:D83, M3

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