Ethics for Public Managers

Ethics for Public Managers

Ethics for Public Managers

Ethics for Public Managers

Synopsis

Gortner focuses on public administration ethics theory and how it applies to the lives of managers operating in the middle ranges of public bureaucracy. Through a general review of the literature on public administration ethics and a comparison of that literature to the real-life experiences of civil service managers, he categorizes the literature and measures its "relevance" to the thought processes, decisions, and actions of individuals within a bureaucracy. Gortner's effort to balance theory and practice will interest scholars and practitioners of public administration alike.

Excerpt

There has been a revival of interest in the subject of ethics in public administration over the last decade. While there was a burst of interest after Watergate, that event was seen, rightly, as a unique phenomenon unlikely to repeat itself in anything like that form in the future. The spate of writing about that event and its ethical dimensions died away relatively quickly; however, the nagging problem of ethics in public service did not go away. Instead it has continued to grow in importance as we have gone through a series of events such as the Iran/Contra scam, the General Services Administration procurement and contracting scandal, a similar event within the Department of Defense, the Robin Hud scandal within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)--the list could go on for quite a while without even beginning to include the situations uncovered at the state and local levels.

Quite appropriately there has been a continuing, growing interest in ethics within the field of public administration. There is a recognition that: (1) if public administration is to be a profession, it must address the issues of service in the public interest and the kind of decisions and actions therein prescribed; (2) if the schools of public affairs and administration are to play their proper role in developing a professional attitude among public managers, there must be an emphasis on the subject of ethics in public administration; and, most importantly, (3) if the democratic process is to function properly, the government is to remain strong and able to address societal problems, and the citizenry at large is to have faith in their government, the public bureaucracy must play a central role in creating the atmosphere or environment that encourages that trust and faith. With these factors in mind, several individuals in the field of public administration have addressed the problem of administrative ethics over the last several years.

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