and analysis of Ethics of Public services
Virtueethics in any organization describe a moral theory that applies theinspiration of Aristotle who argued that the greatest good people getemanates from happiness. However, the achievement of happinessrequires people to fulfill their natural function which entailsliving fully in agreement with reason. Additionally, advocates forvirtues believe that actions based on duty tend to distort truemorality and to curb such an encounter, people should employ moralitythat follows motives, moral wisdom, intentions and emotions (Menzel,24). These factors should guide them in acting in a moral way basedon the appropriate virtues that consider the elements of thesituation. Most importantly, virtue-based ethics bring about arealization of the minimum requirement of coherence in that it alignswith people’s commonsense moral judgment as well as experience.Nevertheless, the public-sector where leaders ought to be accountableto a broad range of citizens and stakeholders, leaders are expectedto meticulously conform to standards higher that those aligned withpersonality morality. These rules bring about the question of how theissue of ethics is addressed in public administration. This paperwill attempt to answer the question with emphasis on the factorshighlighted in the recognition that accountability is not simple(Menzel, 27).
Accordingto Denhardt (59), accountability and responsibility in the publicservice require more than focus on the market. These elements needemphasis on the main factors such as the interests and values of thecommunity, professional standards, political norms and constitutionaland statutory laws. The authors highlight the achievement of thesefactors entail compliance and response to standards and values aswell as preferences of the governance system. Besides, the authorssuggest that there exist significant challenges in the establishmentof expectations, verification of performance and determination of theleaders. The problems also emerge in the management of operationswhile working in conditions involving various accountability systems.They also bring out the fact that public service in the modern worldmay be attributed to liability that plays a significant role inensuring democratic governance and the administrativeresponsibilities applied in real life (Denhardt, 61). Mostimportantly, the authors suggest that elements such as efficiency andmark-based standards may be employed in measuring as well asencouraging responsible behavior. These factors drive the writerstowards purporting the fact that people should focus onaccountability in the public sector through viewing publicadministrators as people entitled to render services to the publicregardless of the situation.
Thesupport of such claims, as mentioned by the authors, may occurthrough hindering the public administrators from judging somesituations as complicated or overlapping to the norms of the public.These civil servants should instead focus on resolving the issuesthrough empowering the people and engaging them in civic forums.However, the responsibility for the actions of the staff may occurthrough ensuring that the solutions they provide comply with thelaws, democratic norms and other constraints. The authors indicatethat government officials lack the mandate to judge theappropriateness of ideas generated by the community (Denhardt, 62).They portray the role of civil servants regarding ensuring that thecommunity members become aware of the necessary parameters inimplementing the realities in their actions. Consequently, theauthors manage to discuss the ideas of accountability as well asresponsibility in public administrations through portraying theirevolution over time. For instance, they use ideologies from othervirtue theorists who defined professionalism as an appropriate methodof ensuring accountability (Denhardt, 63).
Seemingly,the authors utilize a variety of factors in their determination ofresponsibility and accountability in public administration. Some ofthese factors include questions aimed at helping them determine theapplication of ethics in the ps. The first question determines theresponsibilities of public administrators while the second onedetermines to whom they are accountable. Thirdly, the authorsidentify the means through which accountability and responsibilitymay be achieved. However, the determination of these elementsrequires comparison and indication of the implicit and explicit viewsbased on accountability where the authors focus on approachessuggested in the old public administration versus the new publicmanagement (Denhardt, 63). Their notion of the responsibility ofpublic administrators reveals that it requires external control aswell as professionalism. However, the research conducted by theauthors indicates such liability occurs from internal and outerfactors. Their definition of the internal factors entails thecontrols established and enforced within an organization when aleader or an administrator observes the personnel as they conducttheir tasks and duties (Denhardt, 64).
Onthe other hand, external factors include audit and budget activities,the use of an office which are overseen by interest groups and otherrelevant stakeholders. However, these factors fail to solve theissues of accountability and according to research, ethicalmanagement in the public sector requires the application of sevenprinciples of public life. Menzel (88), brings out these principlesthrough defining them based on their relevance in ethical managementin public service. These policies include selflessness, integrity,objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership. Thelack of inclusion in the ways proposed by the authors createsdisparity in the achievement of ethical management in the field ofpublic service based on accountability. These discrepancies involvethe element of ensuring responsibility to the people. In an attemptto solve the disparity, the authors suggest some propositions basedon the responsibilities people are entitled to and to whom theseresponsibilities should be rendered. The first responsibility ofadministrators as highlighted by the authors includes to thelegislature. It entails conforming to the general program of thechief executive as well as coordination of activities with otherexecutive branch agencies (Menzel, 94).
Additionally,the authors also propagate the necessity of using more practicalcriteria in ensuring responsibility of public administrators. Theseoccur through the definition of administrative responsibility as acollection of practices involving professionalism, judicial and legalamenities in that restrain and control civil service in the officialactions. However, the identification of such a criteria, as indicatedby the authors, seems quite challenging in determining administrativeresponsibility based on such general platforms. According to Menzel(32), ethical management in ensuring responsibility andaccountability in the public sector requires balance in handlingdifferent circumstances (Menzel, 38). The balance emanates fromholding administrators responsible for the things they possessauthority and responsibility. However, there also existsimpracticalities in ensuring such a balance and thus the authorsbring out the complexity in the accountability mechanisms as well assystems used in characterizing ethical management issues. Menzel(38), highlights the challenges existing in the current publicservice based on ethical administration through indicating that theethical management experience in America employs similar strategiesto those in other parts of the world. Besides, the authors seem toagree with Menzel on the fact that the achievement of integritywithin an organization may only occur through a continuous effort.
Collectively,these factors depict the authors’ sentiments on the fact that thereexists insufficiency in the attempts of achieving organizations ofintegrity based on compliance with rules. The depiction of thesefactors occurs through the authors’ statement that accountabilitybrought forward by advocates of the new public management reflectthose of the old government. The reflection of these elementsindicates a continuous dependence on the measurement of objectives aswell as external controls (Denhardt, 66). Nevertheless, the authorsalso suggest some differences between the two systems through portrayof ineffectiveness in the old public management based on themeasurement and control inputs as opposed to results. For instance,they indicate that control of inputs such as money and the employeesas opposed to obtaining results such as clean streets and knowledgeacquired by children portrays the failure of government. Similarly,they also bring out the fact that the new public management assumesthe superiority of the business and market model that should beemulated in the public sector. The focus on these elements helps theauthors indicate that both systems ensure accountability through anemphasis on the realization of performance standards in producingresults. They highlight the fact that performance measurement toolsapplied by governments in both systems focus on profit as the overallmeasure of accountability as opposed to providing choices andresponding to preferences (Denhardt, 66).
Additionally,the authors employ strategies highlighted by Menzel in portraying thefact that there exists no proper approach that may be used inachieving an ethical organization or rather ethical management inpublic administration. The authors attest to the fact that theachievement of ethical management entails an inevitably continuousprocess that requires constant nurturing from relevant, motivated andqualified public servants. Their indication of such notions involvesthe challenges facing the old general management and the new publicmanagement in their attempt to define accountability (Menzel, 67).The two systems portray the fact that responsibility as an ethicalprinciple requires creating a balance between the competing norms andresponsibilities working within a complex chain of external controls.The complexity of these chains also incorporates the preferences ofthe people, moral issues, legal standards and the interests of thecitizens within the community. However, these issues bring aboutcomplications because people involve corruption, lack of transparencyin the intentions and actions and inappropriate use of the moral lawsand codes applied.
Nevertheless,regardless of these complications and challenges, the authors clearlyindicate that public managers ought to be responsible to all thepeople. Their answer highlights the responsibility of publicadministrators in responding to all competing values, norms, andpreferences in the complexity of the governance system (Menzel, 69).Additionally, the author’s answer aligns with the views of Menzelin concluding that accountability will never become simplified inthat there exist unavoidable and irreducible paradoxes in thedemocratic system of governance. The ethical element should involvepublic administrators employ moral values in rendering their servicesor making decisions affecting the values and norms of the people. Inconclusion, the authors indicate that people should not oversimplifythe nature of democratic accountability by emphasizing on a narrowset of performance measures.
Denhardt,Kathryn G. TheEthics of Public Service: Resolving Moral Dilemmas in PublicOrganizations.New York: Greenwood Press, 1988. Print.
Menzel,Donald C. EthicsManagement for Public Administrators: Leading and BuildingOrganizations of Integrity, Second Edition.Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2012. Print.