(Get Answer) – Public Sector Ethics Improvement

(Get Answer) – Public Sector Ethics Improvement Public Sector Ethics ImprovementIntroductionEthics is a collection of principles by which individual behavior can be evaluated as right or wrong, good or bad. It can also be referred to as standards of right or wrong that prescribes that ought to be done or not. Ethics can define what is right and from what is wrong as well as people’s moral belief (Preston, 1994). Public sector ethics stipulates what should be done at different levels of government department and what should not be done. Public service ethics contain core values or virtues of fairness, transparency, responsibility, integrity, efficiency and no conflict of interest. The public sector is presented with several ethical dilemmas due to clash bureaucratic ethics and professional public work. There has been continued concern of public sector functioning and the role of government and other regulatory institutions in public ethics.Sources of ethicsEthical norms and behavior of individual and institutions have developed over the years in all cultures across the world. There are various recognized sources of ethics that have been influenced by different philosophies, individuals, and institutions. Irrational and hierarchical such sources such as religious teaching forms a substantive source of ethics in the world. Religions teach code of ethics that focuses on integrity and honesty, selflessness, respect of others rights, and other core values. Religious beliefs and principles guide the good personal conduct as well as prescribing the bad personal conduct (Fortenbaugh & Gutas, 2011).Rational and hierarchical norms such as laws or other formal rules is a major source of public ethics in almost all nations in the world. Laws through legislations, institutional or professional societies’ regulations or rules are major sources of such ethics. The third source of ethics is common law which arises from judicial precedence from cases that have been adjudicated by the courts. Case by case judicial decision therefore form the basis of ethics I public sector. The last source of ethics is the non-hierarchical and irrational norms that stem from folk religion or customary practices of different societies that have evolved over a long period. Societies follow these folk ways by following what is believed good or right and try to avoid whatever is considered as bad or wrong (Fortenbaugh & Gutas, 2011).From the above sources of ethics, it can be noted that public ethics can take two forms. The top-bottom approach to public ethics involves the formulation of laws and rules at from the top administration. Others are expected to follow the set rules, regulation or policies in the best interest of the public. The bottom-up approach to ethics in public sector takes form of ethical conduct that consists of certain rules that are arrived at by themselves and practice them without being compelled.Public sector ethics formulation dilemma spring from a number of considerations which are largely based on the sources of ethics. According to Samford (1994), public sector ethics dilemma of choice in formulation of ethics. The major challenge is whether to rely entirely on informal codes such as customs or religious folk ways or a written code of conduct in the public arena. Public institution also faces a challenging choice between ethics that spring from employees or from management decisions. In such institutions, ethics may be formulated through supervisory rules, objectives, or shared norms and values within the organization.Ethics training is also an important influencing factor in the design of public ethics. Ethical training involves transformation of code of ethics from a simple document to training of employees in an organization as a way of communicating about ethical standards (Samford & Preston, 1999).Why public sector ethics need to be improvedEthical challenges in the public sectors that have been witnessed in the past decades and at the present calls for improvement in public ethics. In the present days and in the recent times, there has been the tangible and intangible cost of unethical conduct at in the workplace. Ethical misconduct at the individual level and institutional or organizational level still remain rampant. Fraud is increasingly becoming a cause of concern in the public sector. Unethical and illegal conduct by the individuals and public organization presents major costs in the public sector. The unethical conduct is manifested through false financial statements, intransparent and underhand involvement that are aimed at scrupulously embezzling public coffers . Managers have neglected and failed to adequately take control of these situations and there is hardly people being held responsible for such actions. These have resulted in less motivated civil servants, dissatisfied customers, reduced productivity and profitability, as well as public sector cynicism (OECD, 2005; Cody & Lynn, 1992) .Ethically questionable managerial related acts and lack of ethical awareness is another major source of worry in the public sector. Managerial role failures against an organization such as palming off a poor performer and superficial performance appraisal is an ethical issues that need to be streamlined in the public sectors. Additionally, managerial role distortion practices such as bribery, price fixing, and manipulation of suppliers that have a direct effect on the public sectors is a cause for alarm. Management failure to cooperate fully with public regulatory agencies, unauthorized high risk investments, and perpetuating of legal but harmful environmental practices are forms part of questionable managerial related acts that defy ethical principles and values (Petrick & Quinn, 1997).Moreover, there has been an increasing and widespread erosion of integrity in the public sectors. This has been brought to the fore by intentional or unintentional commission of unethical acts that distort personal or institutional integrity. On top of this, the increasing corruption in public institutions also raises questions about the integrity of public officials entrusted to run such institutions. Corruption scales taint managerial and organizational reputation locally and at international level. Rampant corruption and abuse of office by public officials has led to nations forming ant-corruption bodies to try to contain the menace. Finally, public quest for increased productivity in the public sector and intrinsically desirable organizational order is another pointer for improving ethics in the public sector.The public sector has been crippled by the above ethical issues and therefore call for the improvement of public sector ethics. The public sector ethics need to be improved so as to to guarantee good institutional reputation locally and internationally. Improvement of ethical standard through reinforcing of existing codes of conduct by individuals and public institutions is inevitable in restoring public confidence in such institutions. Key values that need to be addressed in the improvement of public sector ethics include honesty , integrity and impartiality, respect of the law and persons, responsiveness, diligences, accountability, and efficiency.   How public sector ethics can be improvedPublic sector ethics that address the above values are needed to be put in place. Measures to improve public sector ethics need to consider external factors that are critical in the formulation of such ethics. Political considerations, media influence, economic rationalization pressure, and influence of interest groups greatly affect ethics setting in public services (Samford, & Preston, 1999). The solution to ethical crisis above are solvable through reforms in public institutions and management through well coordinated programmes. These programmes could be setting of ethical standards, legal regulations, and reforming and transforming of public institutions (Samford 1994).According to Samford and Preston 1999, codes of conduct, whistleblowing legislation, criminal law reinforcement and enforcement, administrative law mechanisms, effective auditing and monitoring procedures and ethical support ethics are critical measures to improve public sector ethics. Additionally, creation of stable infrastructure upon which public ethics would be grounded is essential in improving of set ethics.Core values of public sector ethics should be reevaluated and enforced through a code of conduct. The code of conduct so reinforced should contain laws and rules guiding the public institutions and official regarding their conduct, right and wrong, good or bad and emphasize the importance of ethical standards. The code of ethics should state the principles and expectations of public officers and institutions. The ethical standards should be realistically focused to solve ethical dilemmas faced by employees, officers, and the institutions involved. The laws should deter negative conducts in public institutions. The ethical standards should be able to negate dishonesty, secretiveness, unfairness, nepotism, partiality, and criminal conduct at all levels of the public sector (Svensson & Wood 2009).Ethics code can be improved by allowing public participation in the development and dissemination. This ensures that the developed ethical standards are acceptable and binding to all employees in the public setting. Public institutions should ensure successful institutionalization of their codes of through proper orientation of new employees on organization codes. The institution should focus on proper communication of the codes of conduct at all levels and create open discussions of ethical codes of conduct so as the public and employees of the institutions can question and make recommendations on the codes (Stead, Worrel & Stead 1999).According to Samford Preston (1999), promulgated laws and rules are not enough in the improvement of public sector ethics. The two are of the opinion that promulgated rules and laws should be reinforced by a number of factors. The identify administrative law mechanisms as important in improving the code of conduct. This can through free sharing information and merits as well as judicial review of administrative decision . Whistleblowing protection legislation which guarantees freedom of expression in ethical issues. Allowing employees speak out about misconduct or potential harm from within the organization helps in improving ethics in the public sector. Legislation on whistleblowing encourages employees to vigilant on how the institutions are run and compels public officials to maintain high ethical standards in the performance of their duties. Reporting matters of ethical violation should follow a definite hierarchy in the public institutions and if no the problem is not rectified, the whistle-blower can make the matters public via media or other appropriate channels. Whistleblowing legislation also encourages employees in the public service to report any suspected improprieties in the public institutions (Samford & Preston 1999).Ethics in public sector can also be improved by effectively enforcing the criminal law dealing with serious misconduct as well as economic crimes such as fraud and corruption. Since traditional strategies of laws, regulations, monitoring, controlling, and penalties have proven to be inadequate in fighting such vices. Enactment of anti-corruption statutes that criminalize abuse of office and corruption must exist besides the legislative regimes to sufficiently enhance integrity values in the management of public institutions (OECD, 2000). Anti-corruption agencies, in principle, must focus on ensuring that the public sector agents uphold ethical standards at all time in their actions. This will preserve integrity of public officials who will in turn ensure honesty, impartiality in the performance of their duties (Stachowicz-Stanusch, 2010).The public sector administrators can also improve public sector ethics through the establishment of effective auditing and monitoring regimes. This will be aimed at encouraging transparency and accountability of public officials. Establishment of ethical codes should be reinforced with adequate guidelines with regard to financial reporting by managers (Samford & Preston, 1999). Additionally, public sector ethics can also be improved through ethical training and systematic support in the application of ethical standards. Ethical training incorporation into educational systems serves as personal development of ethical conduct. According to Stead, Worrel and Stead (1990), ethical training is important in providing awareness of ethical dilemmas that are likely to be faced by individuals, that is, employees and public officers. Educational training on codes of ethics coupled with ethical training in the workplace improves.Just as private sector ethics, public sector ethics can also be reinforced through reinforcement of ethical behavior to support ethical behavior. Public sector officials and employees and should be recognized and rewarded for ethically, and punished for unethical behavior. Constant ethical performance appraisal and feedback should be put in place to provide checks and balances in the public sector.Finally, reforms in the public sectors are taken as a key ingredient in improving public ethics in many nations across the world. Improvements can be achieved through decentralizing institutional powers, institutional devolution of responsibility and managerial discretion, and commercialization of the public sector (OECD, 2000). Furthermore, development of ethical infrastructure that support ethical standards is inevitable in the improvement of ethical standards. This includes development and application of administrative and preventive measures to curb misconduct. Ethical infrastructure supports the public sector environment by encouraging high standards of behavior. Ethical infrastructure provides guidance from political leadership to professional socialization activities such as ethics training and education. Additionally, offers management aspect in ethical improvement through coordination, establishment of management policies and practices. Ethical infrastructure also offers control of the public sector that enables independent and transparent investigation and conviction. Additional ethical control ensures accountability and control mechanism are put in place. It allows public scrutiny of the public institution and transparency in actions undertaken by public officials (OECD, 2000). ConclusionThe ever increasing concern of integrity, transparency, accountability, and public involvement in public sector ethics development calls for improvement in the public sector ethics. The rampant misconduct of public official coupled with increasing cases of fraud, bribery, and corruption at the helm of public institutions calls for rapid revamping of code of ethics. To improve public sector ethics, the codes of conducts ought to be reevaluated, the proper administrative ethics mechanism should be put in place, and ethical training put in place. Furthermore, the criminal law needs to be reinforced. On top of all these, adequate ethical infrastructure need to be put in place in place to guide, manage, and control the promotion of ethical values.

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