Table of Contents

Ethics and Integrity of Governance

Ethics and Integrity of Governance

Perspectives Across Frontiers

New Horizons in Public Policy series

Edited by Leo W.J.C. Huberts, Jeroen Maesschalk and Carole L. Jurkiewicz

This book provides critical, up-to-date reviews on the field of ethics and integrity of governance, along with fresh future perspectives. Focusing on Europe and the US, it addresses the key dimensions of public service values, the integrity and rationality of governance, ethics management, and the ethics of governance politics. In each of these four areas, leading international scholars tackle the main issues and controversies facing the world today. The final chapter synthesizes these views and provides an ambitious and critical outline for future work in the field of ethics and integrity of governance. Emanating from the much heralded ‘transatlantic dialogue’, this study integrates both the European and American perspectives into a common voice for action.

Chapter 5: Judging a Public Official’s Integrity

Frédérique E. Six and Leo W.J.C. Huberts

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, politics and public policy, leadership, public policy, regulation and governance


5. Judging a public official’s integrity Frédérique Six and Leo W.J.C. Huberts INTRODUCTION In most democratic countries the integrity of public officials is occasionally questioned based upon allegations of misconduct or seemingly dubious decisions. Allegations of being corrupt, or at least having acted without integrity, are very serious allegations. They almost always are very damaging for the reputation of the politician or public servant and can lead to the end of his career. Because of this criticality, it could be expected that integrity researchers would have directed their attention to providing theory-based guidelines for judging a public official’s integrity. This, however, has not been the case thus far. The argument here is that the present line of research regarding the integrity of public officials is incomplete. Greater clarity is needed in defining the concept and addressing fundamental issues such as who is judged by whom and on what basis? Menzel’s (1999, 2005) insightful reviews of the existing public ethics and integrity literature showed that most research to date has focused on examining public officials themselves, the institutional ethical arrangements they are subjected to, and the broader ethical environment in which they operate. Insofar as these researchers have made judgments about a public official’s integrity, they have relied either on legal convictions or on personal criteria/opinions (Dobel, 1999; Holbrook and Meier, 1993). For example, Dobel (1999) presented a set of criteria to be applied in several stages for judging the integrity of...

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