Perspectives Across Frontiers
New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Leo W.J.C. Huberts, Jeroen Maesschalk and Carole L. Jurkiewicz
Chapter 4: Ethical Norms in Public Service: A Framework for Analysis
Carol W. Lewis INTRODUCTION The purpose here is to construct a multi-dimensional framework for analysing ethical decision making by integrating the disparate literatures on ethical norms and behavior in public service. Because the empirical evidence from developmental management, psychology, decision theory, normative theory, and more suggests that ethical decision making is multi-dimensional and variable across time and context, the synthesis goes beyond an exclusive reliance on any single discipline or model. Depicted graphically as the ethics landscape, the proposed framework shows variations in ethical decision making based on four bundles of variables (cognitive development, grounding, normative basis and saliency) across individuals, organizations and situations. The ethics landscape then is applied in a development setting to an ethical dilemma in public service. SOURCES OF ETHICAL NORMS What is ethical behavior and, in particular, good conduct in public service? There are numerous formulations of good behavior (drawing on, for example, motivation or purpose, harm or beneﬁt or mode of reasoning) and its negatives, corruption (Huberts, 2003) and poor moral judgment. These formulations include both empirical, behavioral models from the social sciences that explain how and why decisions are made and normative or prescriptive models that specify what decisions should be made and why. When categorized by source or ﬁeld, moral values and behavioral norms cluster by source into six categories. (The Appendix shows the classiﬁcations in detail.) 1. Human universals, innate or natural, derived from natural rights theory (for example, the US Declaration of Independence); developmental psychology associated with, for...
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