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Public Service Ethics

Public Service Ethics
Individual and Institutional Responsibilities

April 2014 | 368 pages | CQ Press
Ethics—in all its exemplary and exhausting forms—matters. It deals with the most gripping question in public life: “What is the right thing to do?” Bowman and West examine individual-centered and organization-focused ethics, applying ideas and ideals from both to contemporary dilemmas.  The authors take on controversial issues—from whistle blowing incidents to corruption exposés—to explain how they arise and suggest what can be done about them. They start with the conceptual tools students need to evaluate an ethical dilemma, then analyze individual decision making strategies, and go on to assess institutional ethics programs. The emphasis is not only on the “how to,” but also on the “why.” The ultimate goal is to bolster students’ confidence and prepare them for the ethical problems they will face in the future, by equipping them with the conceptual frameworks and context to approach thorny questions and behave ethically.
List of Tables, Figures, and Exhibits
About the Authors
I. Foundations of Public Service Ethics
1. Pertinence, Practicality, and Poppycock
Pertinence: Reasons to Study Ethics  
Practicality: Commitment as a Privilege and Obligation  
Poppycock: Myths About Ethics  
Appendix 1.1 Personal Checklist  
2. Perspectives on Ethics: Macro, Meso, Micro
Levels of Analysis  
Contemporary Research on Levels of Ethics  
Meso Level of Analysis: The Organization  
Micro Level of Analysis: The Individual  
Factors Influencing Meso-Micro Ethics  
Case Study 2.1 The Pennsylvania State University Athletic Sex Abuse Scandal  
3. Values, Ethics, and Dilemmas
Defining Values  
Applying Values in Public Service  
Defining Ethics  
Domains of Human Action: Law vs. Free Choice  
Case Study 3.1 Challenge the Leader  
Social Forces Endangering Ethics  
Case Study 3.2 Value Conflicts in World Affairs  
II. Individual-Centered Approaches to Ethics
4. Moral Development Theory
Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory: A Rational Approach  
Case Study 4.1 Applying Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development  
Milgram’s Shock and Zimbardo’s Prison Experiments: Ethics Under Pressure  
Haidt’s Social Intuitionalist Approach  
5. Cognitive Ethics Methods: Result and Rule Problem-Solving Approaches
Approaches to Ethics  
A Five-Stage Method for Analyzing Ethical Issues  
Moral Courage  
Case Study 5.1 Applying the Kew Gardens Principles  
Applying the Five-stage Method: A Personal and Professional Conflict  
Appendix 5.1 Sensitivity-Intensity Matrix Approach  
Appendix 5.2 The Ethical Principles Approach  
Case Study 5.2 Applying the Ethical Principles Approach: Playing Poker With a Vendor  
Appendix 5.3 Line Drawing  
Case Study 5.3 Applying the Line Drawing Method: A Questionable Gift  
6. Virtue Theory
Comparing Cognitive and Virtue Ethics  
The Vocabulary of Virtue  
Habituation: The Formation of Character  
Virtue Theory Strengths and Weaknesses  
Case Study 6.1 Applying Rion’s Ethical Decision-Making Framework: Probing the Conscience  
Utility of Virtue Ethics for Managers: Challenge and Response  
7. Conscious Deliberation and Subconscious Action: The Dishonesty of Honest People
Results, Rule, Virtue: Decision Making With the Ethics Triad  
Utilizing the Ethics Triad  
Case Study 7.1 The Ethics Triad: Applying the Rational Approach to a Birthday Invitation  
Behavioral Ethics: What People Do vs. What They Say They Do  
Appendix 7.1 Critiquing Student Case Analyses  
III. Institutional Approaches to Ethics
8. Organizational Ethics
Types of Organizational Strategies  
Ethical Infrastructure: Building Blocks in Ethics Management  
Case Study 8.1 Applying Philosophical and Behavioral Ethics Approaches: To Follow or Not to Follow Government Hiring Policy  
Organizational Structure  
Values Statements  
Psychological Contracts  
Oaths and Codes  
Institutionalizing Ethics Cultural Competency  
9. Corruption Control
Scope and Magnitude of Corruption Today  
Defining Corruption  
Causes of Corruption and Evolution of Anticorruption Strategies  
Individual and Institutional Moral Failure  
Scandals: Types and Impacts  
Avenues for Reform  
Case Study 9.1 Applying Philosophical and Behavioral Ethics Approaches: Public to Private Employment on Similar Work  
10. Whistleblowing in Organizations
Significance of Whistleblowing  
Case Study 10.1 Problem Solver or Trouble Maker?  
Whistleblower Laws  
Case Study 10.2 Applying Rational and Behavioral Ethics Approaches: Cooking the Books  
Dissent in Organizations  
Case Study 10.3 The Silent Whistle  
Case Study 10.4 Successful Whistleblowing  
Trends in Blowing the Whistle  
IV. Issues in Public Service Ethics
11. Ethics and Elected Officials
Case Study 11.1 Congressional Conflict of Interest  
Case Study 11.2 Congressional Insider Trading  
Ethics and Legislative Decision Making  
Case Study 11.3 Robert Torricelli and the CIA  
The Influence of Character and Roles on Elected Officials  
Polarization of Politics and Ethical Implications  
Negative Campaigning  
The Problem of Dirty Hands  
Case Study 11.4 Applying Philosophical and Behavioral Ethics Approaches: Interrogation Methods  
Presidents and Truthfulness  
The Influence of Citizens and the Media on Politicians  
Case Study 11.5 Applying Philosophical and Behavioral Ethics Approaches: A Transgender City Manager  
Appendix 11.1 Ethics Committees  
12. Organizational Gaming and Performance Measurement
Duplicity Pressures  
Case Study 12.1 Organizational Cheating in Education  
Types of Gaming  
Cheating, Politicians, and Public Opinion  
Ethically Evaluating and Minimizing Cheating  
Case Study 12.2 Applying Philosophical and Behavioral Ethics Approaches: Electronic Surveillance in the Workplace  
13. At-Will Employment
The Employment At-Will Doctrine  
Applying the Ethics Triad to At-Will Employment  
Summary and Conclusion  
14. Open Government Case Study: Pay Disclosure
Trends and Tensions in Open Government  
Background: Increasing Demand for Transparency  
Applying the Ethics Triad to Pay Disclosure  
Conclusion: Implementing Balance in Transparency Policy  
V. Future History
15. Choices and Strategies for the Years Ahead
Moral Grandeur  
Moral Decay  
New Challenges  
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct  
Case Study 15.1 Applying Rational and Philosophical Ethics Approaches: Drones in Domestic Law Enforcement  
Appendix 15.1 Sample Graduate Student Action Plan  

Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities is superior to other ethics texts I’ve used -- I was hooked from the opening pages. Bowman and West do an admirable job of both building a coherent picture of ethical public management and providing students with a robust toolkit for making ethical decisions in a variety of settings. The authors thoroughly cover the essential topics and problems in public service ethics, and bring the theories and techniques of ethical management into sharp focus through compelling practical examples. Students  are given ample opportunities to apply concepts and lessons from the text through a variety of well-developed exercises; case studies that illustrate real ethical problems confronting public managers bring the book’s material to life. With its rich substantive content, current examples, and lively writing, this text is a compelling read and a welcome new development for public service ethics.

Aaron Wachhaus
Pennsylvania State University

Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities is a fabulous book. The overall coverage is terrific, especially in response to new challenges in public service. Bowman and West combine contemporary and timely research, issues, examples, and case studies; yet they also convey an awareness of the enduring ethical dilemmas at the heart of public service. The book has a nice blend of the theory and history of public service ethics, and includes practical strategies that will be very helpful to students as they build their way to an individualized approach to the challenges they face in their careers. A groundbreaking text.

Kate Forhan
University of Southern Maine

Bowman and West’s Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities speaks directly to the ethical issues faced by public sector managers. The book fits amazingly well with the way I teach ethics. The authors make a compelling argument for the study of ethics and effectively integrate their ideas throughout the book. The writing is lively and engaging, and will appeal to students and working professionals because it is not pretentious and pious—as are some works on the subject of ethics. The book’s many strengths may be found in its well written exercises and study questions. This text encourages students to become reflective scholars, which fits hand-in-glove with my teaching style.

Ramona Ortega-Liston
University of Akron

Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities is a pleasure to read, and provides appropriately balanced coverage of the topic. Bowman and West’s argument is persuasive, and the logical organization of their text clearly and effectively communicates the way public managers can use their understanding of personal ethics and societal ethics to build organizational ethics. I especially like their discussion of how “macro,” “meso,” and “micro” levels of ethical analysis relate to each other. Readers will find the book’s analytic approach both engaging and illuminating.

Dan Feldman
John Jay College

Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities will serve as a great resource for my students. Bowman and West’s approach to ethics is well developed and balanced, and evokes both reflection and analysis. The text is particularly strong on presenting empirical evidence of ethics practices and how effective or ineffective they are; and for buttressing pro and con positions on ethical issues. Discussions of moral development theory, corruption, and the ethics of elected and appointed officials -- topics that are usually not well developed in other ethics texts -- are especially valuable.  The authors also offer many useful analytic tools and methods for engaging in ethical analysis, with numerous real-world examples and cases that effectively illustrate the key points in each chapter. 

Richard Green
University of Utah

This book represents a considerable accomplishment in a field where there??? are inevitably many loose ends and where new ethical problems increasingly confront public of??ficials. It provides a coherent and integrated relationship between theory and practice, a framework for analysis, and illustrations of the way in which analytical tools may be employed to deal with ethical dilemmas. It makes a signi????ficant new contribution to the study of administrative ethics.???

Ian Scott, Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong
International Review of Public Administration

The text does a pretty good job of covering ethics theory without getting bogged down in state/local/federal minutiae of laws and statutes. Instructors contemplating using this text may want to consider some supplemental material to go along with the text, especially if used at a graduate level.

Joseph Martin
Political Science, East Tennessee State Univ
August 2, 2018

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ISBN: 9781452274133

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