Public administration and ethics

Michael DeRosia March 9, Core values is a broad phrase to describe the standards by which we characterize a person, profession, or organization. Throughout the course of brainstorming and analyzing my professional experience, I have settled on a set of five values that are most important in public administration. In order to achieve success at a personal and organizational level in the public sector, these values must be practiced on a daily basis. To practice transparency in public administration is to ensure citizens the availability of information which is deemed public.

Public administration and ethics

Smart Management The Culture of Ethics That the Public Sector Needs Formal codes of ethics are worthwhile, but there is a lot more that can be done, both in government and in schools of public administration.

Svara recounts the history of codes of ethics and reviews the debates about their usefulness. This could not be more timely. Given the seemingly incessant drumbeat of scandals at all levels of government these days, the need has never been greater for a strong culture of ethical behavior in the public sector.

Codes of ethics for public administrators recognize, first and foremost, that administrators are not just neutral implementers of policy. In fact, "filling in the details" of often vague legislation is often left to professional--but unelected--civil servants.

Public administration and ethics

As a result, the view held a century ago that bureaucrats simply carry out the details of policy in some kind of a value-free manner has been almost completely discredited. Almost everyone now recognizes that the cop on the beat, the teacher in the classroom and the doctor in a VA hospital have real power to make policy and therefore affect lives.


Moreover, there is a recognition that high-profile cases of corruption and mismanagement can color public perceptions of the legitimacy and quality of government action. To that end, improving the ethical behavior of government employees is fundamental to the legitimacy of democratic governance.

So it is better to be ethical than unethical. But what is the role of a code of ethics, and what should such a code include? Space does not permit the recounting of the entire ASPA codebut a few excerpts can communicate the flavor: Almost no one would argue against personal integrity, but some people would resist the notion that promoting social equity should be an affirmative goal for an unelected public servant.

While everyone would agree, moreover, that the public interest should be put above private interests, definitions of the "public interest" are notoriously elastic. It is not only disagreements about content that lead some to dismiss such ethical exhortations as folly. Some have argued simply that the best way to ensure ethics among civil servants is to hire ethical people into the civil service.

Certainly there is some truth to that. For this reason, those of us who teach in professional schools of public administration and public policy struggle with the question of how much we should put ethics into the curriculum. That is, how much difference will it make?

Can we really "create" ethical people? In the end, isn't ethics like so many other things--something that people bring with them upon entry to our programs and workplaces? But given how much the effectiveness of government is compromised when any one civil servant violates the public's trust, it does seem to be worth the effort to attempt to sensitize both current and potential public servants to the differences between ethical and unethical behavior.

To that end, I think that both leaders of public organizations and teachers in professional programs have an obligation to spend time and resources on efforts to promote ethical understanding and behavior. Codes of ethics can help, but I would not stop there.

If I were a school principal or a police chief, I would try to anticipate the kinds of specific ethical dilemmas my employees might face and sensitize them to these potential conflicts.

Those of us who are attempting to train those in the profession who will confront these challenges should view it as our responsibility to ensure that students understand not just the laws of economics and statistics but what acting in the public interest means.

I have found that a few well-chosen case studies can illuminate ethical choices.

Advancing excellence in public service

Among other things, they can communicate that the most efficient solution is not always the best one. These efforts will not prevent all ethical breaches--they might not even stop most of them. Given the stakes, however, anything that produces even a marginal improvement in ethical behavior seems clearly worth the effort.of results for "ethics in public administration" Practical Ethics In Public Administration Oct 1, by Dean Gueras and Charles Garofalo.

Paperback. $ $ 20 44 to rent Prime. $ $ 34 06 to buy Prime. FREE Shipping on eligible orders. More Buying . Ethics plays different rolls in public administration based upon the type of administration. After all, an administration is a business and it has to make money to survive.

If businesses in public administration based the ethics of each individual employee, then the administration would fail.

ABSTRACT PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND ETHICS: PERENNIAL QUESTIONS Okçu, Murat Ph. D., Department of Public Administration Supervisor: Prof.

Dr. Şinasi Aksoy October , Pages Ethical approaches trying to define what is to be ethical for public. Upon completing my analysis I have determined that the five most important core values of public administration are transparency, accountability, ethics, professionalism, and leadership.

Tags: Accountability, ethics, jobs, management, new hire handbook, professionalism, public administration, transparency.

In the News

Public administration ethics today is dominated by two distinct ethical frameworks: the bureaucratic ethos, which stresses efficiency and strict obedience to elected officials, and the democratic ethos, which stresses adherence to certain higher order moral principles embedded in the notion of democratic government.

Both the bureaucratic and democratic ethos are foundational in that each is. Public administration ethics are based on the central idea that government officials and employees are stewards of the public. The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), a national association of government managers and scholars of public administration, outlines a .

The Culture of Ethics That the Public Sector Needs