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Potter Box Model

This ethical decision-making model was derived by Ralph Potter of the Harvard Divinity School. It includes four steps:

  1. Define the situation
  2. Identify values
  3. Select principles
  4. Choose loyalties

The benefit of this model is that it forces the practitioner to prioritize the values and publics that are most important to the organization in a given situation. In most cases, the public relations professional is juggling relationships with many constituents, none of which can be overlooked.

Try this example:

Assume you work on account team at one of the top five public relations agencies in Washington, D.C. The account executive informs you that you have been assigned to the following new accounts which should bring in major revenue: Ku Klux Klan wants to recruit new members and the Rights to Life Society wants to promote a federal ban on abortions. What do you do?

Potter Box Model
Navran Model
Codes of Ethics
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