Ethical Conduct and Public Administration

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Written Brief #4

Ethical conduct on its surface seems like a simple enough area to grasp firmly and abide by. Most people are born hard wired with a certain sense of order that is conventionally thought of as ethical conduct. Ethical conduct cannot be gauged and categorized due to its ever changing nature. Today’s public administrators face many dilemmas in regard to ethical conduct. This is not because today’s public administrators are inherently evil. This is mainly due to the elevated level of scrutiny placed on today’s public administrators. Network television and the emergence of the internet have facilitated this scrutiny; however the blame cannot be solely attributed to these forms of media. Some public administrators make questionable moral decisions that help amplify the public perception of the need for increased scrutiny on the administrator’s activities. Most public administrators have a sworn duty to do what’s best for the well being of society. The main issue seems to be that politics has such duality. Where some constituents may favor certain issues others do not and that is where difficult decisions must be made. These decisions cannot be made by simple cost-benefit analysis, and public administrators are many times caught in sticky situations. Caught on the horns of a dilemma the public administrator is not only faced with opposed and perhaps equally unwelcome alternatives; even worse their incompatible juxtaposition also implies that they are mutually exclusive in the sense that the satisfaction of the one can only be made if the other is sacrificed. It is then the case that solving a dilemma resembles a zero sum game, whereby the choice of one value alternative is necessarily followed by the negation of the other. Solving the dilemma in such a way would, therefore, be a contradiction since the solution reached would seem to be no more than a scission and a split of the intertwined aspects of the issue at hand. A dilemma may,...
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