Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities
Publication Year: 2015
Subject: Public Administration Ethics
Ethics provides the preconditions for the making of good public policy as all policies depend on it. This book builds upon the authors’ teaching and research in government ethics. As a core text for upper-level undergraduate and beginning graduate students, it will examine conceptual tools to clarify moral experiences, analyze individual decision making strategies, and assess organizational ethics programs. The emphasis is not only on “how to,” but also “why.” The manuscript will be written in a manner accessible to academicians, students, and managers; it will to offer them practical knowledge and insight into ethics in government. To that end, the book is not about right and wrong answers. Rather it aims to understand ethics and human behavior in an analytical, yet provocative manner by ...
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: : Foundations of Public Service Ethics
- Chapter 1: Pertinence, Practicality, and Poppycock
- Chapter 2: Perspectives on Ethics: Macro, Meso, Micro
- Chapter 3: Values, Ethics, and Dilemmas
Part II: : Individual-Centered Approaches to Ethics
- Chapter 4: Moral Development Theory
- Chapter 5: Cognitive Ethics Methods: Result and Rule Problem-Solving Approaches
- Chapter 6: Virtue Theory
- Chapter 7: Conscious Deliberation and Subconscious Action: The Dishonesty of Honest People
Part III: : Institutional Approaches to Ethics
- Chapter 8: Organizational Ethics
- Chapter 9: Corruption Control
- Chapter 10: Whistleblowing in Organizations
Part IV: : Issues in Public Service Ethics
- Chapter 11: Ethics and Elected Officials
- Chapter 12: Organizational Gaming and Performance Measurement
- Chapter 13: At-Will Employment
- Chapter 14: Open Government Case Study: Pay Disclosure
Part V: : Future History
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Lists of Tables, Figures, and Exhibits[Page xi]
- Table 1.1Social Control of Ethical Behavior in Organizations: Type, Source, and Focus of Power 8
- Table 2.1Levels of Ethical Issues 23
- Table 2.2Classical and Modern Worldviews 24
- Table 3.1Distinctions Among Law, Ethics, and Values 48
- Table 4.1Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development With Behavioral Orientation 59
- Table 5.1Ethical Dilemmas and Possible Solutions 89
- Table 5.2The Ethical Principles Approach 92
- Table 8.1Approaches to Management Ethics 144
- Table 8.2Comparing Low- and High-Road Compliance Strategies 145
- Table 9.1Visions of Corruption Control: Strategies, Causes, Prescriptions, and Implications 171
- Table 9.2Rationalization Techniques: Description and Summary 175
- Table 12.1Types of Gaming 263
- Table 15.1State Public Corruption Convictions, 2000–2010 317
- Table 15.2Reacting to Ethical Issues in Organizational Management: Advantages and Disadvantages 321
- Figure 1.1Price of Ethical Failure 9
- Figure 2.1Interactions Among Macro, Meso, and Micro Levels 22
- Figure 2.2Integration of the Three Levels 26
- Figure 2.3Meso Forces Shaping Ethical Behavior 32
- Figure 3.1Ethical Principles vs. Economic Imperatives 50
- Figure 5.1Application of Flowcharting 80
- [Page xii]Figure 5.2Sensitivity-Intensity Matrix 88
- Figure 5.3Sensitivity-Intensity Matrix (blank) 88
- Figure 8.1Classification by Integrity-Compliance Dimension and Public Administration–Managerialism Dimension 146
- Figure 9.1State Vulnerability to Corruption 168
- Figure 11.1Polarization of Politics 236
- Figure 12.1Levels of Deceit in Data and Information Manipulation 261
- Exhibit 1.1A Week in the Life of Ethics Officer Marisol Lopez 6
- Exhibit 1.2Ethics Journal 17
- Exhibit 2.1Ethical Dilemma: Macro, Meso, Micro Ethics in Action 31
- Exhibit 2.2Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust 34
- Exhibit 4.1Getting in Touch With Your Inner Psychopath 63
- Exhibit 4.2The Trolley and Footbridge Dilemmas 69
- Exhibit 5.1Five-Stage Problem-Solving Method for Confronting Ethical Situations 77
- Exhibit 5.2Flowcharting and Line Drawing 79
- Exhibit 5.3Selected Decision-Making Tools 82
- Exhibit 6.1Managerial Work Habits 106
- Exhibit 7.1Avoiding Poor Judgments With Confidence 132
- Exhibit 8.1Code of Conduct Sample 153
- Exhibit 8.2Code of Ethics Sample 154
- Exhibit 8.3Honoring Those Who Said No to Torture 157
- Exhibit 8.4Ethics Training 160
- Exhibit 9.1The 2009 Federal Stimulus Bailout Program 173
- Exhibit 9.2Robin Hood Tax 183
- Exhibit 9.3Corporate Charters 184
- Exhibit 10.1Is Edward Snowden a Whistleblower? 205
- Exhibit 10.2Sounding the Alarm, No One Is Listening 217
- Exhibit 12.1The Fudge Factor: The Dishonesty of Honest People 266
It takes some game and gumption, guts and grit, to craft a public service ethics book. After all, colleagues in the field have already authored fine works on the subject in the past. And yet, we felt compelled to pen this piece because there is a pressing need to readdress this vital area of study, to do something different. Why? The foremost reason, and irrespective of the merits of earlier texts, is the subject itself. Ethics—in all its exemplary and execrable, exhilarating and exhausting forms—matters. It deals with the most gripping question in life: “What is the right thing to do?” As important as it may be to “do things right,” it is essential to “do right things.” Indeed, regardless of how many things a person does in life, what will be remembered is how he or she responded to ethical challenges. The imperative nature of the topic, then, invites investigation.
The second reason for our effort is that we believe existing books are either too short or too long, too broad or too narrow, too management centered or not management focused enough, or too abstract or not abstract enough (!). Surprisingly, their initial (or later) editions do not report recent research or bring other material up to date. But critically, most authors do not consistently engage readers—they focus on “building in” (Latin: instruere) at the expense of “drawing out” (educare). Yet learning is not simply instruction; it is also an unpredictable process of exploring and questioning, a process that draws out the best in the human mind.
Accordingly, this work aims to capitalize on the strengths of past books while avoiding their weaknesses. It does this by reaching not simply for an ordinary compromise, but rather, following Aristotle, for a useful mean between deficiency and excess between “too much” or “too little.” In so doing, the aim is to capture reader interest by featuring in each chapter learning objectives, essential knowledge, skill-building material, telling endnotes, discussion questions, and exercises. The intent is to make the narrative user-friendly and accessible by highlighting dilemmas, challenging readers to resolve them, and enticing them to go beyond the text to discover and confront new issues. The idea is not to stuff but rather to stretch minds. In so doing, we trust that readers will contact us with their suggestions for improvement (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org). The ultimate goal is to contribute to student confidence as he or she confronts ethical issues in the future.
To what extent have these ambitious objectives been achieved by the book in our hands? While only you, dear reader, can answer that question, preliminary responses to our labors are encouraging, as shown by the endorsements prior to the title page and on the back cover. We can only hope to live up to these high expectations, and invite your thoughtful comments. Indeed, truly “own” this publication by annotating these pages with your ideas, disputes, satisfactions, discomforts, experiences, comparisons, applications, and insights. Then interact with others in a live or virtual classroom to stretch your thinking about the management of [Page xiv]ethics and ethics of management. Ask more of yourself than anyone can ever ask of you; you then will be ready for anything. The way to get the most out of this book is to get into it!
Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities introduces readers to this personally relevant and professionally challenging field of study. No matter the topic— the necessity of ethics, intriguing human behavior experiments, provocative approaches to decision making, new theories to understand ethical actions, the role of ethics codes, whis-tleblowing incidents, corruption exposés, and the grandeur and decay of morality—there is no shortage of controversy. This book discusses these issues, explains how they arise, and suggests what can be done about them. Be advised, however, that it will not, and cannot, provide answers for every case; the study of ethics is not like a cookbook full of recipes. To paraphrase Aristotle, avoid looking for more precision in a subject matter than it will allow.
Our two-man team—combining some 80 years of professional and academic experience (we are much too young to be that old!)—has crafted a volume that
- assumes that readers are or will be line managers or technical experts;
- presents a comprehensive range of topics and issues;
- illustrates these discussions with a blend of current events from business, government, and the not-for-profit sectors; and
- encourages students not merely to peruse the material, but also to apply it.
As members of the American Society of Public Administration, who have widely published in the field (see About the Authors), we believe that while no one is perfect, most people care deeply about ethics, and are willing to think about basic issues when given the opportunity. To that extent, all of us are ethicists. Professionals, it follows, need not only technical and leadership competencies, but also well-honed ethical skills to effectively conduct the public's business. That belief also motivated us to write the type of text described below.
The initial chapter—the first of three in Part I that explores the foundations of public service ethics—discusses the multiple rationales for examining ethics. Knowing why one is undertaking an activity is the first step to understanding. The second chapter probes various levels of analysis in the examination of ethics. Gaining an appreciation of multiple frames of reference is helpful in comprehending how to study the subject area. The third exploratory chapter defines values and ethics. Understanding these terms is a prerequisite to the rest of the book.
With foundations in mind, Part II investigates approaches to ethics. These strategies emphasize individual-centered (cognitive and virtue) approaches. To gain a perspective on this material, Chapter 4 focuses on an inclusive and hierarchical theory of moral development that can be applied to individuals and organizations. It also introduces a recent contrasting theory from behavioral ethics that relies on psychological tendencies to explain human conduct. Since people do not necessarily make ethically sound choices, Chapter 5 presents a problem-solving strategy that showcases two cognitive decision-making methods: results and rule. Chapter 6, the third and final individual-premised approach to ethics, turns the discussion from results and rule cognitive philosophies to virtue theory, from “head” to “heart.”
[Page xv]Chapter 7 then consolidates the three individual-centered methods to ethics into a tripartite framework—the ethics triad—that provides a comprehensive tool to analyze difficult work issues. This framework is used to examine selected cases throughout the balance of the book. The chapter also introduces the emerging field of behavioral ethics, which directly challenges the usefulness of traditional views of ethical decision making such as those found in the triad. This school of thought argues that the prescriptive character of cognitive and virtue ethics does not adequately explain how people really act in ethical situations. Based on experimental and experiential evidence, the claim is that emotion is at least as important as logic—indeed, may be the basis of rationality—in decision making.
Part III, beginning with Chapter 8, shifts from individual cognitive (“head”) and virtue (“heart”) ethics to organization-centered (“body”) approaches. That is, while the mastery of personally focused ethics explored in Part II is necessary, it is not sufficient for understanding the full scope of ethics, as individual conduct is affected by the environment within which it occurs. The chapter scrutinizes the ethical infrastructure in organizations, and is followed by subsequent chapters dealing with corruption control and whistleblowing in institutions.
Selected issues in public service ethics constitute Part IV of the book, with separate chapters on ethics of elected officials, organizational gaming and performance measurement, at-will employment doctrine, and a case study in open government. These discussions represent a diverse set of topics that illustrate the all-encompassing character of topic area. Chapters 11 and 12, respectively, examine behaviors of political figures and an important dimension of improper institutional conduct. Chapters 13 and 14 explore, in depth, two different issues using the ethic traid. Part V consists of the closing chapter that serves as a capstone for the text. It emphasizes that all people are ethical agents who have the choice between moral grandeur or decay, and provides guidelines for honorable action in the years ahead.
Each chapter includes case studies drawing on actual and hypothetical events that give students the opportunity to apply the analytical frameworks they have learned. Some case studies present scenarios that are then followed by questions to consider; others are applied case studies in which we guide the reader through the application of a decision-making framework to show the thought process behind how a decision might be made. Chapters 13 and 14 are the exception, in that the entirety of the chapter is essentially a case analysis. In addition, end-of-chapter discussion questions and exercises give students further opportunity to think more deeply about ethical issues, as well as apply what they have learned.
Welcome to public service ethics in a book whose subject will affect the future of all readers in their careers. And now for the adventure!
James S. Bowman and Jonathan P. West[Page xvi]
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
—Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
We take pleasure in acknowledging the contributions and assistance of the anonymous referees, Desiree Davis, Shannon Frede, Bart Bastian, Paola Conte, and Kelly Stevens, and special thanks for the research assistance of Alexander Ades, Brendan Corrigan, Sophia Suarez, Marianne Arbulu, and Meredith Wright. In addition, our past students, both on campus and online, have helped us clarify thinking about ethics.
SAGE, as well as the authors, would also like to thank the following reviewers for their time and insights:
Daniel Feldman, John Jay College; Kate Forhan, University of Southern Maine; Richard Green, University of Utah; Mark Jendrysik, University of North Dakota; Ramona Ortega-Liston, University of Akron; Albert Price, University of Michigan-Flint; and Theodore Wachhaus, Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg Capital.
Finally, appreciation is due to M. E. Sharpe Publishers, SAGE Publications, Taylor and Francis, and Elsevier for granting permission to adapt some of our previous work to this book.[Page xviii]
About the Authors
[Page xx]For Loretta