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Case Study: Salesforce Cut Hundreds Of Employees

Case Study: Salesforce Cut Hundreds Of Employees

Case Study: Salesforce Cut Hundreds Of Employees


Summarize the issue,

Analyze it,

How is Salesforce being social responsibility and ethics about the situation

and Propose a solution/additional ideas.

500 Words or more

Try to tie in the pdf file as references if possible

if you could divide into sub titles for each require section , that would be appreciate

The role of social media as a vital component in an effective public relations plan has expanded

strategic communication into digital space. Despite the rapid advancements of public relations

opportunities within social media such as the blogosphere, guidelines for a prudent entry into this

often personalized online territory are difficult to locate. This article extends beyond individual re-

lationships characteristic of public relations practitioner-blogger discourse and promotes a dialogic

approach to blogger outreach ethics. It ends with several recommendations for public relations

practitioners seeking to facilitate dialogic civility within their own blogger engagement efforts.

The role of social media as a vital component in an effective public relations plan has expanded

strategic communication into digital space. Contemporary research indicates a growing confi-

dence in consumer-generated media (CGM) as a viable means to complement traditional media

channels in public relations efforts (Smith, 2011; Wright & Hinson, 2008). Additionally, agency

and corporate professionals have espoused the benefits of online public relations strategies

(Barone, 2010; Balwani, 2011; Cotton, 2011). What was once constrained as a practice of

conforming news to media-gatekeeper agendas has transformed into a liberation of online

content capable of immediate publication, endorsement, and reposting.

By harnessing the power of social networking, public relations practitioners seek to join

communities of friends sharing information (Scott, 2010). Of these networks, the “blogosphere,”

an environment of “easily publishable, personal web sites that serve as sources of commentary,

opinion and uncensored, unfiltered sources of information on a variety of topics” (Edelman &

Intellissek, 2005, p. 4; Rubel, 2008), is of greatest interest to the public relations practitioner

due to its semblance of journalistic qualities offering detailed reporting and an inherent third-

party credibility (Ries & Ries, 2002). Estimated to be growing at more than 100,000 blogs

per day, the blogosphere provides innumerable opportunities for public relations practitioners

seeking independent communication channels.

Correspondence should be sent to Jeremy Langett, PhD, Communication Studies, Lynchburg College, 1501 Lakeside

Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24501. E-mail:





Despite the rapid advancements of public relations opportunities within social networks,

guidelines for a prudent entry into this often personalized online territory are difficult to locate.

While an abundance of anecdotal experiences of public relations social networking are offered

within popular literature, a source of ethics to guide this procedure is missing. Rather than

establishing and universalizing a standard code of ethics implemented for public relations

practitioners, the call for blogger engagement guidelines may be answered through a reflection

of the practice and its implications for a dialogic encounter. Paralleling the relationship-building

engagement program between public relations practitioner and blogger, this encounter is “fluc-

tuating, unpredictable, multi-vocal process in which uncertainty infuses encounters between

people and what they mean and become” (Wood, 2004, p. xvi). Extending beyond a simple

relational exchange of information characteristic of a modern understanding of practitioner-

blogger discourse, a dialogic approach to blogger outreach ethics may provide a rich template

for anticipating the challenges in cultivating engagement programs seeking to protect and

enhance the blogosphere.


Communication ethics has informed a variety of contemporary communication professions

with theoretical applications ranging from Aristotle to John Rawls. Sandra Dickson (1988)

contends the “fast-paced technologically driven bottom-line industry” of journalism requires

“moral philosophy” guidelines discovered in neither excess nor defect (p. 35); a proposition later

refined by Cunningham (1999). According to Cunningham, the virtuous act is not something

“middling” but rather developed from “reason-based behavior that is right in itself” (p. 5).

Journalists are revered as “epistemically responsible” by envisioning what ought to be done

from a position of sound character (p. 10).

Kantian influences over communication practices facilitate the development of professional

codes such as the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Public Relations Society of

America (PRSA), institutions attending to universal laws that are valid for every rational practi-

tioner of the discipline. Practices such as the journalist’s declaration to “minimize harm” reflect

a categorical imperative—an intrinsic end that is good in itself; a good apart from its relation

to a further end (Yang, 2006, p. 112). A public relations practitioner abiding by the PRSA

code of ethics accepts the duties of advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and

fairness, all of which introduce a moral requirement to the practitioner (

Utilitarian approaches to communication ethics are understood through J. S. Mills’ evaluation

of moral systems in light of their ability to increase net pleasure in the human race (Bartley,

2006). Framed as a form of consequentialism, Mill’s system of evaluation consists of identifying

and pursuing the higher quality of pleasure for the greatest number of people (Saunders, 2010).

In this regard, the greater pleasure is that which appeals to the higher faculties, a postulate

identifiable in mass media activities such as agenda-setting and framing theories.

The expansive nature of communication channels moves beyond traditional media and into

social media as a viable avenue of information dissemination. Along with this expansion is

an ethical call for appropriate communicative action responsive to the rhetorical situation—

communicator, receiver, and message—in a digital environment. While classic ethical paradigms

may also be applied to new media, these unique tools maintain a capacity for additional ethical

questions investigating philosophical, generational, and computer-mediated considerations.





Research into social and digital media ethics is rapidly growing to accommodate for the

popularity of online public relations practices. Recent scholarship addressing social media

ethics has grounded blogging within Habermas’s concept of the public sphere (Smith, 2011).

Habermas contends that the public sphere involves “every conversation in which private persons

come together to form a public” (Habermas, 1990, p. 92). According to Burkhart (2007),

public relations practitioners may leverage Habermas’s theory of the communicative act by

cultivating relationships with bloggers and serving organizational interests through four founda-

tional principles: intelligibility, truth, trustworthiness, and legitimacy (Burkhart, 2007, p. 249).

Smith (2011) elucidates the four principles by suggesting if communication between public

relations practitioner and blogger filters through each principle and achieves understanding, the

practitioner may then become part of the social community through dialogue.

The four principles may represent an additional code or guideline followed by public

relations practitioners as they embark on blogger outreach campaigns. Such a code would

be consistent with the Institute of Public Relations 2007 study indicating a preference of

public relations practitioners to rely on codes developed either in-house or from professional

organizations for decision making (Bowen, 2005, p. 2). However, Peck and Matchett (2010)

observe that not all public relations practitioners belong to institutions adhering to codes of

ethics and questioned the source of ethics training for non-members. In fact, ethics training

is identified as a major shortcoming for nearly 70% of those practitioners questioned in the

2007 study (Peck & Matchett). The deficit in public relations ethics training portends major

challenges for practitioners facing multiple strategic decisions for their organization or client.

According to Martinson (2004), the challenges are compounded when the public relations

profession is perceived as inherently unethical due to its advocacy of client interests, regardless

of truth. The Commission on Public Relations Education (2006) recommends that a “considera-

tion of ethics should pervade all content of public relations education” to combat this perception

(as cited in Peck & Matchett, 2010, p. 2). The 2006 report suggests the development of short

courses or mini-seminars to complement public relations curricula that may fail to provide

adequate ethics training. Peck and Matchett further the conversation to address public relations

practitioners’ ethical training deficits by developing and testing an online training module

drawing upon resources offered by the Center for Ethical Deliberation (p. 2). Results of initial

surveys of module users indicated difficulty in navigation, but overall improved ethical decision

making in the areas of disclosure of information, conflicts of interest, lying, and spinning

information for a client or organization (Peck & Matchett).

Additional ethics research of the digital era centers around the millennial generation or

Generation Y—individuals born after 1982 who have grown up with the Internet and first to

pioneer social media technology (Curtin, Gallicano, & Matthews, 2011). Curtin et al. investigate

the relationship between ethics and the organization-employee relationship to explore the

perpetuation of stereotypes existing among millennials. Findings include that millennials “value

transparency and clear ethical rules and expectations” and fare best with “those agencies that

both walk the walk and talk the talk in terms of social responsibility” (p. 2).

The ongoing research into social media ethics continues to build a sturdy reference point

for the codification of practices aligned to protect the value of a liberated public sphere and

its digitally accessible nature. Insights gathered from professional, education, and academic

studies are invaluable to raise awareness of the level and quality of ethics training and the




development of programs testing the decision making of contemporary and future public rela-

tions practitioners. Stemming from traditional communication ethics foundations, new media

public relations initiatives are supported from ethics perspectives ranging from deontological,

utilitarian, and virtue perspectives.

Each perspective maintains salient considerations for the multistream public relations prac-

titioner and equips the practice with guidelines and codes sought after by the new generation

of professionals who greatly value clarity of ethical expectations. However, clarity of ethical

expectations is a troubling demand for individuals working within the business of cultivat-

ing relationships. As the primary feature of public relations, specifically blogger relations,

relationship-building warrants a richer investigation from a dialogic perspective of communi-

cation ethics. Starting from a position of embedded agency within a particular organizational

narrative, the public relations practitioner becomes aware of the blogosphere as a landscape

of multiple voices sharing unique and biased stories, an environment unaccommodating to

clear-cut ethical codes and guidelines.


Relationship-building within the field of public relations is a central theme pervasive throughout

the field’s scholarly and professional literature (Wright & Hinson, 2008; Waters, Tindall, &

Morton, 2010). From introductory public relations textbooks to international communication

discourse, relationship-building may be argued as the primary activity of all public relations

practitioners serving the interests of a client, organization, or other entity. Specifically in the

subset discipline of blogger relations, relationship-building is framed as the core function of a

public relations practitioner.

Public relations professionals highlight blogger engagement strategies from e-mail outreach

to active participation on the blog itself (Barone, 2010). Additional recommendations include

personalizing relationships with bloggers and cultivating trust (Balwani, 2011). In fact, Yoon

(2005) cites interpersonal relationships as responsible for the direction of organizational media

relations efforts. Despite the prevalence of a relationship focus within media and blogger rela-

tions literature, few public relations sources centralize interpersonal communication dynamics

as a necessary consideration when developing blogger engagement and outreach.

Prescriptive blogger engagement guidelines follow similar methods for a public relations

practitioner to develop a relationship with the blogger and the social network community.

First, practitioners are recommended to research and target blogs relevant to the news or

content seeking to be shared (Barone, 2010; Payton, 2010). Second, practitioners are directed

to familiarize themselves with the blog and its author, discovering themes, learning the style

and language of the blog, and understanding the mind of the blogger (Barone, 2010; Balwani,

2011; Cotton, 2011). Finally, practitioners are instructed to contact the blogger and present the

news or content seeking to be discussed on the blog (Balwani; Payton; Cotton).

In addition to the general guidelines, some sources of blogger outreach guidelines offer

supplemental instructions to ensure a “win/win” experience (Barone, 2010, p. 1). Barone

(2011) suggests utilizing social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter to strike

up a conversation with a blogger about his or her content. Balwani (2011) recommends guest

posting on a blog as well as gifting products, offering exclusive information, or incentivizing in




some way to convince bloggers that your information is relevant for coverage. Cotton (2011)

echoes the idea of providing product samples to bloggers but reminds practitioners of the

importance of honesty and full disclosure at all times. Should samples be offered to bloggers,

Cotton requests that they acknowledge the gift on their blog for transparency. Weingart (2011)

reminds practitioners to adhere to any outreach guidelines established by the author on the

blog itself.

Recommendations to supplement the consensus-shaped blogger outreach strategy of target,

research, and contact, provide multiple points of ethics investigation ancillary to a proposed

dialogic theme. Given the increasingly social component of online public relations, a further

merging of professional and personal (public and private) space concerns philosophers such

as Hannah Arendt, who cautions against an unreflective consensus resulting from an undif-

ferentiated public and private life (1959). A prominent voice against undue confidence in

notions of progress, Arendt asks “is a given action the best decision in a particular historical

moment?” (Arendt, as cited in Arnett, 1980, p. 67). Yet as the social media space is necessary

for blogger engagement and outreach, Arendt’s question is contemplated within the context of

contemporarily established public relations practices. Interpretations of this question may shift

the orientation of blogger outreach ethics:

From: How might a public relations professional best enter into the private sphere of an

independent blogger and his or her network for coverage of organizational interests?

To: What reflections are necessary to achieve a dialogic civility between professional

practitioner and independent blogger to better the digital media environment?

This shift recasts public relations professionals as self/organizational-interested practitioners

into media environment practitioners focused on the protection of the independent blogosphere.

In doing so, the premise of the self as primary among public relations practitioners is supplanted

with a narrative structure that may enhance blog content and ultimately formulate a richer

media landscape. A closer inspection of the self as primary assumption may facilitate a greater

understanding of this move.

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