It is hard to disagree that people are unpredictable, and it often happens that a person behaves in a completely unexpected way. When many individuals are gathered in one organization, its management faces the difficult task of controlling the actions and attitudes of workers with different characters and moral values. Despite all leadership efforts, a conflict can arise in any company, and it can be either purely internal or become known to the public. For example, at the end of 2017, America learned that Garrison Keillor, who hosted the MPR radio program, was accused of sexual harassment. The purpose of this paper is to explore the details of the scandal and offer a certain plan of action that Minnesota Public Radio can adopt to avoid such situations in the future.
MPR’s Background, Mission, and Purpose
It is essential to describe MPR as an independent organization. Minnesota Public Radio is an American non-profit media company that was founded in 1967. This rather reputable source of information provides various types of cultural programming and high-quality news to the citizens of the state of Minnesota. MPR views journalism as a unique and significant mission and does not have a certain specialization – it offers news related to culture, arts, music, business, science, health, and politics. According to the organization’s website, its mission is to “enrich the mind and nourish the spirit, thereby enhancing the lives and expanding the perspectives of our audiences, and assisting them in strengthening their communities” (Minnesota Public Radio, n.d., para. 2). Further, the purposes of MPR are to create and distribute high-quality programming, be the leaders in their field, and engage curious people.
The Scandal’s Details
Further, it is vital to summarize the scandal in order to then define the necessary steps and goals for the organization. As mentioned above, in 2017, it became known that Garrison Keillor, a member of MPR, was accused of inappropriate behavior with his colleague (Domonoske, 2017). According to the sources, it was not a single incident: “Keillor fostered a work environment that left some women feeling mistreated, sexualized or belittled” (Greene, 2018, para. 1). There were years of inappropriate behavior and many accusations. MPR started their investigation with the help of an outside law firm, found him guilty, and decided to end all relationships with Keillor despite his popularity and charisma (Domonoske, 2017). The reason why this scandal created negative publicity is that the recent years have been devoted to the fight against sexual harassment and shaming women who speak about being assaulted.
Formulation of Specific Goals for the Organization
In order not to allow a similar incident to happen in the future, it is vital for MPR to set certain goals. Considering the unpleasantness of the situation, it is possible to suggest that the company’s public image is weakened – some people may doubt the power of MPR’s leadership since they allowed such incidents to happen over the course of several years. Consequently, the first goal of Minnesota Public Radio is to strengthen its authority and image and persuade its audience and staff that their motives are ethical. The second goal is to eliminate the possibility of a recurrence of such a situation in the future. Third, it is recommended to ensure that the profit of the company will not become lower after ending their relationships with the highly respected and talented radio host. These goals are selected due to their ability to maintain the success of MPR and protect its staff.
Steps to Achieve the Goals
To begin with, it is essential to make an announcement for both the audience and the staff that no similar behavior will be tolerated in the company. Notwithstanding the authority, charisma, and talent of a worker, she or he will be fired if seen in unethical behavior. What is more, it is necessary to mention that an independent law firm will take part in every investigation to make sure that the accusations are justified. The second goal is to provide the employees with training programs – the staff needs to learn about types of harassment, ways to deal with it, and how to help those who became victims of violence. Finally, the third goal is to find another host who would be as talented and interesting in order for MRP not to reduce performance.
The Ethical Core Values
There are six ethical core values that a PR professional should employ in responding to a crisis. These values are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness (PRSA, n.d.). First of all, when addressing a conflict, it is essential to be honest with the stakeholders and demonstrate loyalty to the moral principles, not other factors. Second, it is necessary for PR professionals to be fair when spreading information and advocate for the truth (PRSA, n.d.). Further, when checking the relevance and credibility of data, PR professionals need to show expertise and be independent. Only in this case will it be possible to investigate the case correctly and solve the crisis in the right way without worsening the situation.
Internal and External Stakeholders
There are several groups of people interested in the soonest and most positive end of the scandal. First of all, the internal stakeholders are the owners and leadership of MPR, the staff, and the management. It is hard to disagree that their reputation, image, and earnings depend on whether Minnesota Public Radio manages to act correctly in such a challenging situation. The second group involves the audience and the community, business partners, and investors. These external stakeholders will not be directly impacted by the actions of MPR but are also interested in its success.
Finally, it is important to mention that evaluating the effectiveness of all the efforts and steps described above is vital. This evaluation will be focused on several equally significant aspects. First of all, several months after the end of the scandal, it will be needed to assess how MPR is perceived by the community and audience. One way to do that is to search social media posts and stories and get acquainted with what networks users say about the incident and whether MPR managed to strengthen its image. Further, after the training is finished, managers need to assess if the staff’s awareness of the aspects of harassment has been advanced. This may be done with the help of questionnaires or interviews. Finally, after a year, the company will need to compare its past and current performance, considering that its relationships with Garrison Keillor no longer exist.
To draw a conclusion, one may say that the scandal between MPR and Garrison Keillor was a rather tricky and challenging situation. On the one hand, the company lost a very talented and famous host, which directly affected its performance. On the other hand, it was impossible for Minnesota Public Radio to ignore the pattern of Keillor’s inappropriate behavior and put the safety of its female employees at risk. Overall, if MPR follows the outlined recommendations and addresses its weakened image, it will be able to maintain its success and prove its adherence to ethics.
Domonoske, C. (2017). Garrison Keillor accused of ‘inappropriate behavior,’ Minnesota public radio says. Web.
Greene, D. (2018). Investigation finds troubling behavior By Garrison Keillor. Web.
Minnesota Public Radio. (n.d.). About MPR. Web.
PRSA. (n.d.). PRSA code of ethics. Web.