Ethics are the rules that define moral conduct according to the ideology of a specific group. Moreover, ethics in public administration are important for good business conduct based on the needs of a specific town, state or country. Adhering to a code of ethics can be challenging. Ethics provide accountability between the public and the administration. Adhering to a code of ethics ensures that the public receives what it needs in a fair manner. It also gives the administration guidelines for integrity in their operations. That integrity, in turn, helps foster the trust of the community. By creating this atmosphere of trust, the administration helps the public understand that they are working with their best interests in mind.
Additionally, a code of ethics creates standards of professionalism that co-workers in the public sector can expect from each other — the public can also expect the same from their leaders. With a strong code of ethics in public administration, leaders have the guidelines they need to carry out their tasks and inspire their employees and committees to enforce laws in a professional and equitable manner. Another positive outcome of good ethics in public administration is timely and informative communication with the community. This kind of transparency builds trust and prevents or minimizes the potential issues that can arise when information is divulged from outside sources. If there is something of consequence that the public needs to know about, it’s better for it to come directly from the leaders and administration. Communication and negotiations with stakeholders also keeps all parties involved so that they can all work toward a common goal. Good communication and negotiation skills ensures that the community can engage their leaders on important issues.
When it comes to communication and negotiations, strong ethics are paramount. Unshakable ethical standards and an ethical code of conduct might in some case lead to conflict. In the public sector, ethics addresses the fundamental premise of a public administrator’s duty as a “steward” to the public. In other words, it is the moral justification and consideration for ethical decisions and actions made during the completion of daily duties when working to provide the general services of government and non-profit organisations. Ethics are an accountability standard by which the public will scrutinise the work being conducted by the members of these organisations. Decisions are based upon ethical principles, which are the perception of what the general public would view as correct. Having such a distinction ensures that public administrators are not acting on an internal set of ethical principles without first questioning whether those principles would hold to public scrutiny. It also has placed an additional burden upon public administrators regarding the conduct of their personal lives. Public sector ethics is an attempt to create a more open atmosphere within governmental operations.
Question 1 (25 Marks)
Cooper devised a method of moving from an ethical problem to appropriate alternatives and consequences. This model follows a sequential, rational approach to ethical decision -making. Elaborate on the levels of ethical decision-making and critically describe steps in Cooper’s decision-making model.
Question 2 (25 Marks)
In the narrative it is argued that communication and negotiations with stakeholders keeps all parties involved so that they can all work toward a common goal. Good communication and negotiation skills ensures that the community can engage their leaders on important issues. Critically discuss the important role public managers play in communication and by making use of practical examples, discuss the key factors needed for the promotion of effective communication.
Question 3 (25 Marks)
Ethical decision making skills in the environment of the public sector are vital for public managers and differ in the management process from one division to another. On the other hand, the skills of top management to perform the role of general management, also differs from those of the line manager or supervisor. Public managers must acquire skills through tertiary qualifications and practical experience. Motivation and a natural aptitude for management is also an important characteristic. In view of this statement, critically deliberate the following management skills:
Decision making; and Communication and negotiation skills.
Question 4 (25 Marks)
As seen in the narrative, unshakable ethical standards and an ethical code of conduct might in some case lead to conflict. Conflict can however be used constructively in favour of the achievement of objectives. It can serve as a driving force to increase productivity and render change. From an ethical perspective elaborate on the sources of conflict and how public managers should deal with conflict.
Answers to Above Questions on Ethics
Answer 1: Coopers decision making model provides information about the different levels of ethical decision making, and they are crucial for the effective public administration and management. An analysis of different levels of decision making indicates that the important levels include personal level, organisational level and societal level. These three important decision making levels are crucial from the point of view of allowing for effective administration of premises.
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