Communication Ethics in Action

British Petroleum and Conflict Thoughtlessness

Conflict escalation occurs when organizations thoughtlessly disregard and ignore stakeholder issues and arguments that surface in the public sphere. Communication ethics in action requires a reflective communicative stance, ever attentive to multiple perspectives and viewpoints—particularly those that diverge from one’s own perspective. Conflict leads organizations to a fork in the road, with one possible response leading to productivity and creativity; the other leading to polarization and destruction. Heath (2000, p. 76) argues that “to be an effective communicator, each organization needs first to be good.” Such action does not assure a healthy engagement ...

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