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Public Administration Ethics Essay

4521 words - 19 pages

Professional Ethics

Importance of Ethics in Public Administration
The study of the foundations of ethical administration is an important topic to explore when working in a public organization, especially when pursuing a future role as a public administrator. Ethics in public administration is not a transient concept but has proven to be an approach which has shown a great deal of sustainability which is fundamental to the area of public administration. Ethics is gaining prominence in the discourse about governance today. Public organizations and public administrators should strive for high ethical standards and an ethical workplace. “The general goal of identifying ...view middle of the document...

Overtime, relativity and world views have influenced these principles and shifts to include credibility, justifiable consequence, and multiple cultural traditions have shaded the conversation.  Ethical reasoning needs to be nurtured, developed, and expanded over time. In public service there needs to be an on-going commitment to ethical practice.  The scope of ethics is broad, indeed ethical judgments can concern potentially anything: Not every question is an ethical one, but any question can become an ethical one.  “Ethical inquiries often are vague, amorphous, and open to multiple interpretations (Martinez, 2009, pg. 21).” The major determinants of administrative conduct in the public sector include: political construct of which public administrators are a part; legal framework; administrators and public employees who are responsible for the provision of public services; and the citizens and users of public services that are a part of the civil society (Cooper, 2012).
Public administrative ethics has five major theoretical approaches: “ethics as a virtue; ethics as regime values; constitutional theory and founding thought; ethics in citizenship; ethics in social equality; and ethics as the public interest (Martinez, 2009, p.7).”  There are some common ethical principles we consider in determining the public interest: avoiding direct harm to the extent possible; accounting for the likely implications of government actions on others including the most vulnerable in society; acting within the spirit of major laws; and considering the impact of decisions today on future generations. Originally, the ethics framework identifies general core values. These values are: the rule of law, impartiality/ objectivity, transparency, accountability, professionalism, duty of care, reliability, and courtesy (Martinez, 2009).
First, the determinants of ethics in public administration with regard to the individual attributes of public/civil servants include: ethical decision-making skills, mental attitude, virtues, and professional values. Second, the organizational structure dimension is explained by: clear accountability, collaborative arrangements, dissent channels, and participation procedures. Third, the political organizational culture includes: artefacts, beliefs and values, and assumptions. Leadership is important in the development, maintenance, and adaptation of organizational culture. Ethical behavior is encouraged when organizations have a climate where personal standards and employee education are emphasized, where supervisors stress the truth, and where employees regularly come together to discuss ethical problems. Finally, societal expectation includes public participation, laws, and policies (Martinez, 2009).
Public Administrative Responsibility
The role and responsibilities of a public administrator in democracy can be defined as a guide that is responsible for taking the efficient bureaucratic organization through the moral aspects of...

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