Ethics in Public Sector

This debate has given a better understanding of the responsibilities of the public sector, and how it should interact and interface with (elected) governments, with citizens, civil society and foreign as well as domestic corporations and private business Institutions. Besides, ethics and ethical principles can help people make better decisions, and help people evaluate the decisions of others (Like public officials). Much of this debate has focused on “good governance”, broadly speaking.

Ethics has also been a part of this debate, in particular the discussion on professional ethics of civil servants, and too lesser extent the professional and arsenal ethics of politicians and elected office holders. Although the ethics of the civil service will be the main focus of this compendium, we are also looking into the ethics of the political sphere. Ethics has long been a controversial area of study in the professions of law, politics, philosophy, theology and public administration, and other study areas.

Some practitioners, however, will dismiss any study or theory of ethics as not pertinent to their work, preferring instead to rely on laws, personnel manuals and job descriptions to define the limits of public sector responsibilities. That view now seems to be losing ground to the viewpoint that public administrators are no longer, if they ever were, expert technicians simply Implementing the policy decisions of the policy makers. Rather, public administrators exercise substantial discretion (decision-making power) on their own, discretion that affects peoples’ lives in direct, lasting, and sometimes profound ways.

In addition, there can be reasons to question the legitimacy of the rules and the policy decisions that public administrators are Implementing. Administrators and bureaucrats cannot avoid asking decisions, and in doing so they should attempt to make ethical decisions. Administrators have discretionary powers that go beyond the manuals, orders, Job descriptions and legal framework of their position and duties, and professional ethics will have to come In as guldens, In Dalton to the formal regulations.

Administrators should therefore seek a broad and solid understanding of ethical theories and traditions, and look for methods for thinking about the ethical dimensions of their decision-making Thus, for a period of time there was a “realist” school within political science that eschewed any moral component of decision-making as naive, as a religious imposition or as plain hypocritical. Likewise in economics, the standard view has been on humans as a “homo economics”, a rational man attempting to pursue his selfish Interests, with little regard for ethics.

Many people still believe that ethics Is too weak and too ;nice’ to be of real importance in what is regarded as the tough, dirty and unprincipled world of politics. 1 OFF togged a proper understanding of what is going on. Ethics is also sometimes seen as active (telling other people what they should not do), impractical (because it is backed only by conscience), and more likely to catch the believing innocent rather than the deliberate offenders.

Ethical issues in political science tend to be complex, ranging from micro-level personal issues to national, comparative and international relations. In politics, issues such as public vs.. Private interests, conflicts of interest, power abuse, and corruption have special salience. However, to prevent misconduct is as complex as the phenomenon of misconduct itself. This introduction will present three main topics.

First, it will outline the basis and basics of ethics, secondly it will outline the “infrastructure” of ethics (what shapes the ethics of individuals) and thirdly it will outline two particular themes; the discussion on conflict of interests and corruption What is Ethics? Ethics refers to principles by which to evaluate behavior as right or wrong, good or bad. Ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong, and prescribe what humans ought to do. Ethics are continuous efforts of striving to ensure that people, ND the institutions they shape, live up to the standards that are reasonable and solidly based.

It is useful to distinguish between normative and descriptive ethics; normative ethics describes the standards for the rightness and wrongness of acts, whereas It is useful to distinguish between normative and descriptive ethics; normative ethics describes the standards for the rightness and wrongness of acts, whereas descriptive ethics is an empirical investigation of people’s moral beliefs. L This introduction is for the most part concerned with normative ethics. The law is one Asia promoter of ethic behavior.

The law, however, only seta minimum standard for ethical conduct. Just because an act is legal, does not automatically mean it is ethical (think of the apartheid laws, for instance). Nor is an illegal act necessarily immoral (sometimes it can be Justified to break the law). Moral Philosophy Traditionally, moral philosophy (also known as normative ethics and moral theory) is the study of what makes actions right and wrong. These theories offer an overarching moral principle to which one could appeal in resolving difficult moral sections.

There are several strands of ethics, which differs on the basis (or rationale) for their various ethical considerations. The three best known normative theories are virtue ethics, consequentiality (in particular utilitarianism) and deontological ethics (and in particular Kantian). Virtue Ethics Virtue ethics focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the formal rules for or the consequences of actions. The key elements of virtue ethical thinking are The roots of the Western tradition lie in the work of Plato and Aristotle, but virtues re important also in traditions of Chinese moral philosophy.

Virtue theory returned to prominence in Western philosophical thought in the twentieth century, and is today one of the three dominant approaches to normative theories. Virtue ethics includes an account of the purpose of human life, or the meaning of life. To Plato and Aristotle, the purpose was to live in harmony with others, and the four Cardinal Virtues were defined as prudence, Justice, fortitude and temperance. The Greek idea of the virtues was later incorporated into Christian moral theology. Proponents of virtue theory sometimes argue that a central feature of a virtue is that it is universally applicable.

Consequentiality Consequentiality refers to those moral theories, which hold that the consequences off particular action form the basis for any valid moral Judgment about that action. Thus, from a consequentiality standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence. Utilitarianism is a specific strand of consequentiality ethics. Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility, that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed up among all persons.

The more happiness or pleasure for the more people, the better. It is consequentiality because the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome, and that the ends Justify the means. Utilitarianism can also be characterized as a quantitative and reductionism approach to ethics. 2 Utility – the good to be maximized – has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus sadness or pain). It has also been defined as the satisfaction of preferences. It may be described as a life stance with happiness or pleasure as ultimate importance.

In general use of the term utilitarian often refers to a somewhat narrow economic or pragmatic viewpoint. However, philosophical utilitarianism is much broader than this; for example, some approaches to utilitarianism also consider non-humans (animals and plants) in addition to people. Deontological Ethics Deontological ethics has also been called “duty’ or “obligation” based ethics. Deontological believe that ethical rules “bind you to your duty’, and they look at the eighties or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions.

Deontological ethics looks at our fidelity to principle and disregards the consequences of a particular act, when determining its moral worth. Kantian (or Kantian ethical theory) is deontological, revolving entirely around duty rather than emotional feelings or end goals. The core concept is “duty’, or what one ought to do in certain situations. Kantian states that truly moral or ethical acts are not based on self-interest or the greatest utility, but on a sense of “duty’ and or the individual and their usefulness for others).

Kantian theories are based on the work of the German philosopher Emmanuel Kant (1724 – 1804), to whom the “categorical imperative” is a core element. Kant thought that human beings occupy a special place in the world, and that morality can be summed up in one, ultimate commandment of reason, or imperative, from which all duties and obligations derive. A categorical imperative denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that exerts its authority in all circumstances, both required and Justified as an end in itself.

Kant argued against utilitarianism and other moral philosophy of his day, because for example an utilitarian would say that murder is K if it does maximize good for the greatest number of people; and he who is preoccupied with maximizing the positive outcome for himself would see murder as K, or irrelevant. Therefore, Kant argued, these moral systems cannot persuade moral action or be regarded as basis for moral Judgments because they are based on subjective considerations. A deontological moral system was his alternative, a system based on the demands of the categorical imperative.

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