Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ethical Concerns In Public Administration

Click on ' JOIN THIS SITE ' to get instant updates on new posts on this blog. And also for 'INTERACTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS' regarding this blog's posts 'JOIN ITS FACEBOOK COMMUNITY/GROUP' that is mentioned on the right hand side of this page.

Ethics is a system of accepted beliefs,morals and values that influence human behaviour. It has been stressed upon in individual life as well as public life through time immemorial through sacred texts and theorists like the manusmriti, ramayana, mahabharata, etc. and Bentham and Rawls as well as Arostotle,etc. respectively.

The Behaviouralist school brought a dichotomy between facts and values in decision making and made it strictly rational like a machine model which was not successful and was questioned all the time. That led to the New Public Administration school of thought that brought back values at the centre stage along with facts and rationality in decision making.

The society,educational institutions,laws and their implementation and family play a large part in inculcating good values and morals in people. The political environment is also of significance as well as the behaviour of politicians directly and majorly affects the behaviour of his/her subordinates and his/her ethics.

 Maxim of Legality and Rationality: An administrator will follow the law and rules that are framed to govern and guide various categories of policies and decisions.

Maxim of Responsibility and Accountability: An administrator would not hesitate to accept responsibility for his decision and actions. He would hold himself morally responsible for his actions and for the use of his discretion while making decisions. Moreover, he would be willing to be held accountable to higher authorities of governance and even to the people who are the ultimate beneficiaries of his decisions and actions.

Maxim of Work Commitment: An administrator would be committed to his duties and perform his work with involvement, intelligence and dexterity. As Swami Vivekananda observed: “Every duty is holy and devotion to duty is the highest form of worship.” This would also entail a respect for time, punctuality and fulfillment of promises made. Work is considered not as a burden but as an opportunity to serve and constructively contribute to society.

Maxim of Excellence: An administrator would ensure the highest standards of quality in administrative decisions and action and would not compromise with standards because of convenience or complacency. In a competitive international environment, an administrative system should faithfully adhere to the requisites of Total Quality Management.

Maxim of Fusion: An administrator would rationally bring about a fusion of individual, organisational and social goals to help evolve unison of ideals and imbibe in his behaviour a commitment to such a fusion. In situation of conflicting goals, a concern for ethics should govern the choices made.

Maxim of Responsiveness and Resilience: An administrator would respond effectively to the demands and challenges from the external as well as internal environment. He would adapt to environmental transformation and yet sustain the ethical norms of conduct. In situations of deviation from the prescribed ethical norms, the administrative system would show resilience and bounce back into the accepted ethical mould at the earliest opportunity.

Maxim of Utilitarianism: While making and implementing policies and decisions, an administrator will ensure that these lead to the greatest good (happiness, benefits) of the greatest number.

Maxim of Compassion: An administrator, without violating the prescribed laws and rules, would demonstrate compassion for the poor, the disabled and the weak while using his discretion in making decisions. At least, he would not grant any benefits to the stronger section of society only because they are strong and would not deny the due consideration to the weak, despite their weakness.

Maxim of National Interest: Though universalistic in orientation and liberal in outlook, a civil servant, while performing his duties, would keep in view the impact of his action on his nation’s strength and prestige. The Japanese, the Koreans, the Germans and the Chinese citizens (including civil servants), while performing their official roles, have at the back of their mind a concern and respect for their nation. This automatically raises the level of service rendered and the products delivered.

Maxim of Justice: Those responsible for formulation and execution of policies and decisions of governance would ensure that respect is shown to the principles of equality, equity, fairness, impartiality and objectivity and no special favours are doled out on the criteria of status, position, power, gender, class, caste or wealth.

Maxim of Transparency: An administrator will make decisions and implement them in a transparent manner so that those affected by the decisions and those who wish to evaluate their rationale, will be able to understand the reasons behind such decisions and the sources of information on which these decisions were made.

Maxim of Integrity: An administrator would undertake an administrative action on the basis of honesty and not use his power, position and discretion to serve his personal interest and the illegitimate interests of other individuals or groups.

There can be many more, however, the main motive is good governance and ethical practices backed by proper values and principles of public administration.

1) Establishment of Lok Ayuktas
2) Establishment of RTI Act
3) Citizen's Charters.
4) Ethics and code of conduct for public employees
5) Establishment of Vigilance Commissions
6) Establishment of Panchayati Raj Institutions
7) Partnership of Govt. - Civil Society Initiatives and its growing strength
8) Proposed Whistle blower Protection Act and Judicial Accountability And Standards Bill

1) Special expertise and Information held by the bureaucrats by virtue of their position is sometimes misused by them to fool the stakeholders as no one can surpass them in this knowledge area. RTI is in place but the poor and needy cannot afford it due to the cost involved as well as the information is sometimes never parted with leading the aggrieved to a harrowing experience leading to  the court rooms.

2) Full time status of bureaucrats make them corrupt, laid back and less accountable.

3) Massive expansion of bureaucracy has made the span of control of its heads/ ministers really cumbersome leading to arbitrary actions on the behalf of the former.

4) Lack of Coordination between established government anti corrupt agencies and institutions as well as their lack of teeth has lead to an even more chaotic situation on checking corruption.

5) Misinterpretation of role and obligation amongst the bureaucrats.Their role and obligation is to carry out policies for the upliftment of society and not towards the politicians for their vested interest or unimpactful policy decisions.

6) Subversion where certain government servants pass on critical secrets to enemies in exchange for pecuniary benefits or for sale of extra territorial loyalty.

Manipulation and lack of ethics lead to humongous negative effects and reduce efficiency in an organisation. Therefore the enforcement and development of administrative ethics in public servants in today's welfare state times as well as the sensitive position they occupy is of utmost priority and urgency.
The essentials to ensure the practice of ethics in administration are:
a) Faith,determination towards pursuit of excellence of service in their professional activities via methods of training and sensitisation.
b) Infusion of ethics into politics through trainings,etc so that it is passed on to their sub ordinates that are the civil servants.
c) Relations between citizens and personnel to create favourable opinion of society and people towards public services and servants.
d) Need for character building in public servants through education,adult education and functional or job responsibility literacy.
e) Impartiality should be practiced and encouraged.
f) Political neutrality in civil servants.
g) Education of people and society regarding their rights the work of public servants and redressal mechanisms available to the people against them and the government.


Click on ' JOIN THIS SITE ' to get instant updates on new posts on this blog. And also for 'INTERACTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS' regarding this blog's posts 'JOIN ITS FACEBOOK COMMUNITY/GROUP' that is mentioned on the right hand side of this page.

No comments:

Post a Comment