Ethics in Public Administration
Ethics in public administration may seem like basic sense. It’s a given that the purpose of public service is to further the common good, assist individuals and groups, and contribute to a more just and equitable society. Ethics can be seen in various ways, even though they are fundamental to public service. As a result, these different perceptions influence the activities chosen to achieve public service objectives. Legislators cannot agree on what policies are best for the country’s wellbeing. Others in the field think that progressive, diversified education best serves diverse student populations. There are still many teachers who believe in the use of classic education and universal methods. The public sector is littered with examples of conflicting conceptions of ethics.
Public servants strive hard to better the lives of the people they serve, but their actions are guided more by their ideals and beliefs than by any universally accepted ethics in public administration that fill the chasm between these divergent moral systems. Trust in public services is constantly being destroyed due to unethical behaviour by public officials and organizations. Organizations serving different groups inequitably or elected officials squandering public funds are examples of this type of betrayal. Public officials must answer to the people they serve, even if they are not elected. When public workers betray the public’s faith in them, they undermine the basic foundations of our democracy by eroding the public’s feeling of representation. As a result, public service and democratic values are jeopardized when unethical behaviour is displayed.
How to Maintain Ethics in Public Administration
- Follow the Law.
For the government to carry out its duties, it must follow a set of rules to follow ethics in public administration. These rules are important for public officials and staff alike. It is imperative that they “act to modify unproductive laws and policies.” As a result, “public finances, financial audits of agencies, confidential information protection and constitutional norms of due process, equality, and justice” should be a top priority.
- Act with Personal Integrity.
People can have faith in government because of ethical employees, and the legitimacy of government can be upheld because of ethical employees. Integrity can be demonstrated by being truthful to those working for the agency. They should treat others respectfully, act impartially, and avoid putting themselves in a position of bias to maintain ethics in public administration.
- Ensure Ethical Operations.
Public administrators may ensure that their agencies operate ethically by fostering open communication, putting the public’s interest first, creating ethical standards for behaviour for agency personnel, and implementing rules that encourage accountability.
- Uphold the Public Interest.
Managers of public resources must operate in the best interest of the public. Involving citizens in decision-making, weeding out prejudice, and disclosing corruption are all ways to maintain ethics in public administration.
Determinants of Ethics in Administration
- The historical factors
The ethical nature of a country’s governing system is strongly influenced by its history. Administrative immorality is likely to be tolerated more readily because of a lengthy history of unethical actions in government. Probity and immorality have always coexisted in the history of mankind. It includes precedents and traditions that the most powerful officials set in the government.
- Socio-Cultural Factors.
Societies’ ruling elite is a by-product of that same society. Because of this, administrators’ behaviour is likely to mirror the widespread beliefs and societal norms among the general populace. It is doubtful that administrators will be isolated from society’s attitudes and conventions. Socialization is a process influenced by the family and the school system. It is likely to profoundly affect citizens’ attitudes if these organizations stress honesty and ethics in public administration.
- Legal- Judicial Factors.
In the ethical cosmos, well-crafted legislation that strongly emphasizes moral principles like fairness and honesty is more likely to separate the wheat from the chaff to maintain ethics in public administration. Fast-track justice and an effective judiciary will deter immorality in public affairs. Contrarily, a judiciary concerned only with the letter of the law and not its intent would dither and delay and even aid criminals by allowing them to profit from extended trials and the benefit of the doubt. Because of this, the government’s intricate anti-corruption machinery unintentionally offers relief to the accused, who are supported by dilatory and knotty procedures that take too long.
- Political Factors.
Political leadership is arguably the single most effective impact on the mores and values of citizens. The rulers dominate the minds, but in a democracy, all political parties, pressure organizations and the media also impact the orientations and attitudes on moral matters. Political morality has no place in the administrative system. The deterioration of administrative ethics may be traced back to the criminalization of politics and the politicization of bureaucracy. Political factors affect ethics in public administration.
Elements of Ethics in Public Administration.
Honesty and integrity are the foundations of an administrator’s actions, and he would not use his position and power for his benefit and those of others. Financial honesty is only one aspect of one’s integrity and is important in ethics in public administration.
- Responsibility and accountability.
Administrators take full responsibility for their actions and choices thus maintaining ethics in public administration. When making judgments, he would hold himself ethically accountable for his behaviour and decisions.
The people who are the ultimate beneficiaries of his decisions and deeds, as well as the higher authorities of government, would be prepared to hold him accountable.
- Loyalty to the nation
A civil servant, while performing his duties, would keep in view the impact of his action on his nation “s strength and prestige. They should have concern and respect for their nation, which automatically raises the level of service rendered and the products delivered.
An administrator would never compromise on quality for ease or complacency when it comes to administrative choices and actions. To compete internationally, administrative systems must conform to the philosophy of efficiency and quality management to ensure ethics in public administration.
Impartial implies operating only on the case’s merits and serving governments of various political parties and the general public in the same spirit, regardless of their political affiliation. Impartial public officials are typically expected to refrain from advocating for or opposing certain causes and policies, including the defence of government policy. The public service is apolitical and supports the Administration of any political party that the people decide to elect.
Civil service must be politically neutral for the integrity and efficiency of Administration in a democratic society. It entails that the government should get objective and unbiased recommendations from the civil service. It also refers to the faithfulness with which the civil service implements government decisions, regardless of whether those decisions align with their recommendations.
- Dedication to Public Service.
Public servants must have a sense of purpose and a willingness to make sacrifices as part of their job description. A great deal is to be said for the noble mission of serving the people. Leadership should be characterized by an unwavering commitment to the organization’s goals to maintain ethics in public administration. Not only does it conduct development-related administrative chores; rather, it takes and encourages activity necessary to bring about fundamental changes and growth in the economy. In addition, they must have faith in the organization’s objectives.
Without breaching the required laws and rules, an administrator should display compassion for the impoverished, the disabled and the weak while utilizing discretion in making choices. At least, he would not offer any benefits to the stronger sector of society merely because they are powerful and would not refuse the necessary respect to the weak, despite their weakness.
Equality, fairness, impartiality, and objectivity would be respected by individuals in charge of making and implementing governance rules and decisions. They are all important aspects of ethics in public administration.
Importance of ethics in Public Administration
- To check the arbitrary actions of Civil Servants.
- To promote a sense of administrative responsibility
- To establish and promote good relations between the citizen and civil service
- To preserve and promote social wellbeing, public interest, and common good
- To control that part of administrative power and discretion which cannot be
controlled by formal laws, methods and procedures
- To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative process
- To strengthen the legitimacy and credibility of public Administration
- To foster and maintain high morals among all categories of civil servants