The Impact of Ethics Reform on Public Management
Running Head: IMPACT OF ETHICS REFORM THE IMPACT OF ETHICS REFORM ON PUBLIC MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNMENT WORKERS A MASTER’S CAPSTONE RESEARCH PAPER Division of Public Administration In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Public Administration College of Business and Public Administration by TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE ABSTRACT………………………………………………………………………….. …. 4 INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………….. 5 BACKGROUND OF ETHICS………………………………………………………… …7 Ethics Defined………………………………………………………………… ….. 7 Situations that Caused Ethical Concerns…………………………………………. ETHICAL THEORY IN PUBLIC MANAGEMENT……….. …………………………. 15 Teleology………………………………………………………………………… 15 Deontology………………………………………………………………………16 Intuitionism………………………………………………………………………17 Virtue Theory……………………………………………………………………. 18 Unified Ethic…………………………………………………………………….. 18 ETHICS IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION……………………………………………. 19 Public Management……………………………………………………………… 20 Whistleblower Law………………………………………………………………21 SIGNIFICANCE OF ETHICS REFORM………………………………………………. 24 Title IV § 402 Ethics in Government Act of 1978 ….. …………………………. 25 H. R. 1754……………………………………………………………………….. 26
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Shakman Decree…………………………………………………………………27 SUSTAINING AN ETHICAL WORKPLACE…………………………………………. 28 Codes of Ethics………………………………………………………………….. 29 Creating an Ethical Culture……………………………………………………… 31 Applying Ethical Decision Making……………………………………………… 32 CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………………. 33 REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………….. 35 APPENDICES…………………………………………………………………………… 38 A. GOING TO THE DOGS……………………………………………………. 38 B. CONFLICTS ON THE HUMAN SERVICES COORDINATION TEAM…46 ABSTRACT Making ethical decisions can be very complicated. Few managers intend on being unethical.
Managers may intend on acting ethically but find themselves in a difficult situation. As a whole, the vast majority of public servants are competent, dedicated, conscientious, and ethical persons that perform public service with integrity and pride. As we move into another millennium and start a new decade, these public service officers presiding and administering over government organizations face ethical challenges which become increasingly complex. This paper will identify the impact of ethics on public management and government workers.
Although there are many laws, state, city, and municipal ethics codes and policies, and administrative regulations that command ethical choices in the workplace, this paper briefly eludes them. Managers must, however, be aware of ethics and the important decision making that encompasses ethical dimensions. . Overall, this paper will identify some of the issues that have occurred that question ethics in the public organizations, the laws that were created, and some of the theories that my help to deter unethical decision making.
Conclusively, information will be provided for improvement of ethical decision making. INTRODUCTION Making ethical decisions can be very complicated. Ethics can de deemed as what is good, proper, fair and just. Actions can be deemed proper or improper. Ethics goes back to the Founding Fathers but was spotlighted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. There has been an explosion on the practice of ethics in the last half century with an emphasis on accountability. There have been many situations that caused ethical concerns. Few managers intend on being unethical.
Managers may intend on acting ethically but find themselves in a difficult situation. Yet, as we move into the first decade of a new millennium, the ethical challenges facing those who preside and administer over government organizations are increasingly complex. Ethics application means that managers must monitor behavior so that workers stay out of trouble. Managers must have oversight, controls, and sanctions for unethical behavior. Management practitioners and theorist indicate that public managers use ethical theories to help with the ethical process.
It is also suggested that ethics codes be instilled within organizations. There have been laws put in place to ensure that guidelines are available for government agencies so that workers will have no desire to stray from ethical behavior. Management must walk-the-walk and not just talk about ethical performance. It is important that ethics theories be a part of the value system and instilled in the culture of the organization in order that ethics works. However, instilling ethics in an organization is not an overnight process. It takes time to develop an ethical organization.
It is suggested by some theorist that the Enhanced Unified Ethic be instilled throughout the organization. Menzel (2007) reflected that among other things, the boundary between those things public and private has largely disappeared, leaving in its wake much uncertainty about how to do the right thing in the right way. As a whole, the vast majority of public servants are competent, dedicated, conscientious, and ethical persons that perform public service with integrity and pride. Managers must, however, keep abreast of information that enlightens them on the improvement of ethical decision making.
BACKGROUND OF ETHICS Ethics Defined Ethics are values and principles that guide right and wrong behavior (Menzel, 2007, p. 6). “Right” and “proper” and “fair” are ethical terms. They express a judgment about behavior toward people that is felt to be just. We believe that there are right and wrong ways to behave toward others, proper and improper actions, fair and unfair decisions. These are our moral standards (LaRue, 1991, pp. 1-2). Morals are core beliefs about life, humanity and nature. While both ethics and morality are concerned with right and wrong, there is a difference.
On the one hand, notice that the definition of ethics requires an act, a behavior. It is the behavior that matters and, in the end, defines right or wrong. On the other hand, morals can exist independent of behavior and can include such issues as going to war, abortion, capital punishment, and adultery (Menzel, 2007, p. 6). When we explore further the meaning of moral, we find it defined as “concerned with character or disposition, or with the distinction between right and wrong”. Clearly ethics and morality are interchangeable terms. Thus what is ethical is moral, and what is unethical is immoral (Kanungo & Mendonca, 1996, p. 3). Ethics in American public service is by no means a new topic; it extends back to the founding of the Republic, through reforms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and finally to the explosion of the study and practice of ethics in recent years. Public administration practitioners and scholars, individually and collectively, have turned their professional spotlights on the exercise of ethical public administration, including the challenges of discretion, choices, and accountability (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 5).
Ethics for government workers influences attitudes and actions. People do not have the same rights to liberty on their job as they have as citizens. Employees must arrive on time, must follow orders and requests, accept limited freedom of speech, and conform to a host of regulations. The same holds true in ethical matters of management. Although workplace laws give managers wide discretion in many matters, the rights of employees cannot be trampled on without fear of legal repercussions (Berman, Bowman, West, &Van Wart, 2006, p. 35).
Being legally informed helps managers do the right thing in the right way. Ethics involves behavior that is concerned with doing the right thing, or acting on the right values. Discretion must be exercised in addressing specific ethical issues and judgment is required when facing complex situations (Berman, et al. , 2006 p. 26). What does doing ethics mean, especially at work? How is ethics understood and interpreted in the real world of public administration? Geuras and Garofalo (2005, p. 7) suggested that public administration tilts toward the legalistic or compliance mode.
Their research indicates that ethical behavior is reduced to staying out of trouble. What this means for public managers is oversight, controls, and sanctions. Compliance is embedded in government operations; it is fundamental to how public organizations function, and public managers are expected to be accountable. Situations that Caused Ethical Concerns Ethics is in response to catastrophic irrationalities such as two world wars, genocide, and atom bombs, which taught us the power of organization.
Public Managers are continually confronted with both value-laden choices and the question of whether and how those values should be made explicit (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 9). The essential issue, however, concerns the nature and scope of accountability, whether it translates into simple compliance or obedience to statutes or regulations, as thought they are clear in and of themselves, or whether public administrators should be expected to demonstrate independence of mind by exercising judgment and discretion in meeting their obligations as public servants (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. ). According to the Chicago Tribune (Mills, 1998) the Chicago Police Department has been the subject of many scandals and controversies over the years. The Special Operations Section (SOS) had been the target of misconduct charges and corruption as early as the late 1990’s. In 1998 there were charges from citizens that members of the special operations section “shook down” west side residents on two separate occasions, and tried to extort money from one of the citizens on one of the occasions. These officers were charged with home invasion, armed robbery and official misconduct.
Mills (1998) suggests that the case was similar to other recent police extortion investigations, including the federal inquiries into the conduct of officers in the Austin and Gresham Districts. A difference is that two of the key witnesses are police officers, who reported the “shakedown” to their supervisors. Even though the off-duty patrolmen, one of whom had parked a motorcycle at the citizens’ home, identified themselves as police officers, the accused officers allegedly ignored them. The accused officers suggested that their colleagues “mind their own business”.
When the citizen obtained the extortion money from his friends and relatives and returned to his home, the accused officers took the money and, as promised, did not arrest the citizen (Mills, 1998). The off-duty officers reported this conduct to their supervisors. The Police Superintendent during that period, Terry Hillard praised the two officers and thought that they should be given medals. He stated that he intended to stand by officers when they are performing the duties they are sworn to uphold, but when officers break the law, they will be treated as criminals.
The three offending officers were assigned desk duty and placed under investigation (Mills, 1998). There were many more complaints. In a sting operation, the FBI planted thousands of dollars in lockers that were allegedly used by drug dealers. The FBI followed through on a tip from an informant that a convicted felon and some Chicago police SOS officers were working together in a plan to “shakedown” drug dealers. The FBI placed $20,000 in a locker that the informant accused the suspected officers of raiding. The report that the officers filed said that they had found nothing in the locker.
The second time that the accused officers were sent on a search, they allegedly returned only half of the $18,000 the FBI planted in the locker. The FBI filed federal charges against the Tactical Officers and charged them with conspiracy to commit theft. A paroled felon was charged as a coconspirator. The FBI said a lieutenant, a sergeant and three other officers were involved in the storage locker raids, but none had been identified at the time. The FBI also disclosed that the two police officers were defendants in several court cases brought by civilians alleging illegal use of force (Anonymous, 2006).
According to The Earth Times, in October of 2007, the Special Operations Section was disbanded after a growing number of misconduct and criminal scandals. The interim superintendent at the time, Dana Starks stated that it was demoralizing and disheartening because some officers worked hard and served honorably, the Earth Times (Chicago Police, 2007) reported. More than 100 officers were assigned to the unit and most were returned to patrol duty in the city’s 25 districts while others transferred to other special units (Chicago Police, 2007).
One police officer and FBI informant, Officer Herrera, described shocking behavior among the members of the Special Operations crew. Herrera says that they lied on official police reports to frame suspects for crimes that they did not actually commit. A drug suspect might be listed in a report as refusing to surrender his gun even if he had dropped the weapon (Cop, 2008). . Herrera says that creative writing was a certain term that bosses used to make sure that the job got done. He also says that this was not just the action of a few rogue officers.
Herrera reports that this was a policy explicitly sanctioned and encouraged by his superiors on the squad. Herrera said, “I didn’t just pick up a pen and just learn how to (lie). Bosses, guys that I work with who were older than I was… It’s taught to you” (Cop, 2008). Other officers on the SOS squad stole money, bribed, committed crimes, and plotted murder against other officers. Herrera purports that he decided to go to the FBI after the group’s leader proposed killing two colleagues who were threatening to testify against him. Herrera blames this atrocious behavior on the so-called “war on drugs”.
He suggests that pressure to get drug dealers and their guns off the streets first led to cutting corners, then, it led to crime (Chicago Police, 2007). In an incident, according to the New York Times (Kovaleski, 2008) Governor Sarah Palin abused the powers of her office by pressuring subordinates to try to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, an investigation by the Alaska Legislature has concluded. The inquiry found, however, that she was within her right to dismiss her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who was the trooper’s boss.
A 263-page report released by lawmakers in Alaska found that Ms. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, had herself exerted pressure to get Trooper Michael Wooten dismissed, as well as allowed her husband and subordinates to press for his firing, largely as a result of his temperament and past disciplinary problems. ”Such impermissible and repeated contacts,” the report states, ”create conflicts of interests for subordinate employees who must choose to either please a superior or run the risk of facing that superior’s displeasure and the possible consequences of that displeasure. ‘ The report concludes that the action was a violation of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act (Kovaleski, 2008). In the report, the independent investigator, Stephen E. Branchflower, a former prosecutor in Anchorage, said that Ms. Palin wrongfully allowed her husband, Todd, to use state resources as part of the effort to have Trooper Wooten dismissed. The report says she knowingly ”permitted Todd Palin to use the governor’s office and the resources of the governor’s office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired. ‘ Further, it says, she ”knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda. ” Three years ago, Trooper Wooten and the governor’s sister were locked in a harsh divorce and child-custody battle that further turned the Palin family against him. The couple divorced in January 2006(Kovaleski, 2008). As a result of several complaints against Trooper Wooten, he was suspended from the state police force for five days. However, Mr.
Branchflower’s report found numerous instances in which Ms. Palin, her husband and her subordinates tried to press for harsher punishment, even though Mr. Monegan and others told them they had gone as far as the law and civil service rules would allow. Ms. Palin has denied that anyone told Mr. Monegan to dismiss Trooper Wooten, or that the commissioner’s ouster had anything to do with the trooper, who remains on the force. Mr. Monegan has said that he believes he lost his job because he would not bend to pressure to dismiss Trooper Wooten.
On July 28, the Legislative Council, a bipartisan body of House and Senate members that can convene to make decisions when the Legislature is not in session, approved an independent investigation into whether the governor abused the powers of her office to pursue a personal vendetta (Kovaleski, 2008). In another incidence, the authorities arrested a former Chicago police commander and charged him in a police brutality scandal that contributed to the emptying of Illinois’ death row and that continues to resonate as one of the most racially charged chapters in the City of Chicago’s history.
The activities of the former commander, Jon Burge, 60, have been the subject of speculation for decades as scores of criminal suspects, many poor and black, have come forward saying they were routinely brutalized by Mr. Burge and the mostly white officers under his command on the South Side in the 1980s. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said at a news conference that Mr. Burge lied and impeded court proceedings in 2003 when he provided false written answers to questions in a civil lawsuit that claimed he and other officers had abused inmates.
According to the indictment, Mr. Burge well knew he had participated in and was aware of such events involving the abuse or torture of people in custody, including wrapping inmates’ heads in plastic to make them feel as if they were suffocating (Saulny ; Ferkenhoff, 2008). The statute of limitations on the suspected torture has expired, but sources say Mr. Burge would still be held accountable. There is no place for torture and abuse in a police station, the prosecutor said. No person is above the law, and nobody — even a suspected murderer — is beneath its protection.
Calls for Mr. Burge’s prosecution, which were sounded for years, grew louder after a 2006 report by special state prosecutors supported what dozens of inmates had said about being brutalized in jail. The report took more than four years and included more than 700 interviews (Saulny& Ferkenhoff, 2008). This year, the city approved a $20 million settlement with four former death row inmates who said they had been abused under Mr. Burge. Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department, which fired Mr.
Burge in 1993, said the department supported the findings in the indictment. Mayor Richard M. Daley was the Cook County state’s attorney during the time of many of the accusations against Mr. Burge. “Obviously, the Burge case recalls a terrible chapter in our city’s history”, Mr. Daley said. Some of the police behavior at that time was detestable, which is why steps have been put into place to ensure that the kinds of acts associated with John Burge never happen again (Saulny& Ferkenhoff, 2008). According to Kanungo and Mendonca (1996, p. 3) These examples clearly demonstrate that when leaders compromise their ethical standards they do harm, often irreparable, in terms of the immediate physical and moral suffering to others within and outside the organization. They also create an atmosphere of ethical cynicism that is not conducive to forming a sound sense and understanding of the need for ethics and ethical behavior. It is not uncommon for many in business to regard business ethics as an oxymoron. Effective organizational leaders need ethics as fish need water and human beings need air (Kanungo & Mendonca, 1996, p. 33).
ETHICAL THEORY IN PUBLIC MANAGEMENT Unquestionably, ethics is very complicated at many levels. But all professionals have complicated tasks, and for the public administrator, ethical decisions are a necessary part of the job. Therefore, a brief scan of what history’s great thinkers said on the subject of ethics would be useful (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 46). Philosophers have shown a keen interest in the ethical issues facing the professional fields. Their disciplined thinking has provided significant insight into knotty problems in such fields as medicine, law, and management. As a natural consequence of heir contribution, ethical theory has been imported as a practical framework for the analysis of issues (Wright, 1988, p. 225). For the moment, we are not concerned with subtleties, but with general structures, so we will examine the general categories and leave the minutiae to the scholars. What follows then is a short working version of ethical theory (Wright, 1988, p. 227) that can be used in public management. Teleology Utilitarianism is the predominant teleological ethical theory, which is the group of ethical theories that justify the morality of an action on the basis of its consequences (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 0). According to its founder, Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian criterion in ethics consists of selecting courses of action which promise to bring about the greatest good for the greatest number (Wright, 1988, p. 227). Utilitarian philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham and Stuart Mills would envision an ideal world in which the happiness of all people is unified so completely that the activities that make any individual happy would also promote the happiness of all (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 50). However, the world is not ideal and there are many conflicts.
A corporation’s management, its labor force, its customers, and its investors all have different interests that may converge but will often conflict (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 50). What looks good from a personal, social, environmental, business, or religious point of view may not look good from another point of view. What looks right from a business perspective often looks wrong from a government perspective and vice versa. And what looks right from a personal point of view may look wrong from a business or governmental perspective (Guy, 1990, pp. 12-13). The theoretical soundness of utilitarianism has been questioned.
Some theorists, such as Emmanuel Kant, have argued that there are cases in which happiness should be sacrificed for higher values. For instance, administrators of public agencies may be tempted to misrepresent facts to secure increased funding. These administrators may privately defend their actions by pointing out, perhaps accurately, that those who make funding decisions are not knowledgeable enough to properly understand the actual facts, so they must be presented with misleading information, for the ultimate public good. Are such distortions ethical? Most people would at least question them, but for he utilitarian, there is no question: Promoting the greatest happiness is more important than any other principles (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, pp. 52-53). Deontology Hosmer (1991) asserts that the deontological approach to managerial ethics, in essence, is the reverse of teleological theory. This ethical theory states that the moral worth of an action cannot be dependent upon the outcome because those outcomes are so indefinite and uncertain at the time the decision to act is made; instead the moral worth of an action has to depend upon the intentions of the person making the decision or performing the act.
According to Geuras & Garofalo (2005, p. 53) there is something in us that says that we should not only produce the right results, but we should do things in a principled way. Kant is the most notable deontological influence on contemporary ethics and he emphasizes that the most important aspect of any principle, whether in mathematics, physics, or any other field including ethics, is consistency. According to Wright (1988, p. 228) Kant felt that ethical decisions relate more directly to motives than to consequences, moreover, Kant refers to his method as the categorical imperative.
Kant felt that you should act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. According to Geuras & Garofalo ( 2005, p. 53) to Kant, the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you,” is a common sense expression of the concept of consistency and his formulation is “absolute moral command. ” Kant states his second formulation of the categorical imperative as, “Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or that of another, as an end and never as a mean.
Kant saw that his first formulation would allow one to will universalism, therefore he offered a second way of formulating the notion of consistency. Intuitionism Intuitionism is the belief that human beings have a moral sense that recognizes the moral character of an act. Our moral sense, and not some esoteric theory, tells us that helping people is better than torturing them in concentration camps. The intuitionist appears to be on firm ground in claiming that moral judgments depend upon feeling more than upon theories nd arguments. The intuitionist tells us on the basis of a moral sense that some actions are ethical and some are not. However, there are controversial ethical issues on which people’s moral senses differ (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 58). Virtue Theory Given the formidable obstacle this culture poses, before we can begin to have hopes of cultivating civic virtue in the populace, it is vital to ask what we mean by virtue and where virtue comes from, as well as to address the forces working against it.
As for the fraying of civil society, which others have shown so clearly has to do with the decay of probity and responsibility, it is clear that there is no hope for a reversal in the absence of a moral culture (Lasch-Quinn, 2007). The virtue theory is associated with the ancient philosopher Aristotle and the modern philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. The virtue theory considers the act to be good on the basis of the character trait or virtue that the act evidences. Virtue theory emphasizes the importance of the whole person in ethical evaluation rather than the details of action.
One might ask why certain traits, such as honesty and generosity are good, while other traits, such as cowardice and selfishness, are bad. The answer would suggest that the ultimate reason that a virtue is good is a teleological one (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 59). Unified Ethic Considering these theories can be confusing. Each sees a different part, but the whole might be better understood if all the parts were combined in an overall description. Perhaps rather than choose among them we should acknowledge that each has valuable insights that we can use (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 0). Therefore, we may combine them into a Unified Ethic (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 64). We believe that the unified ethic reflects the unity of human nature (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 100). . Each of these elements is linked to the other, and in our view, can provide the foundation for the moral renewal of our public institutions, which tend to be dominated by “consequentialism,” or pressures to get the job done and produce measurable outcomes. The public administrator grounded in the unified ethic will be able to raise more probing, subtle, and comprehensive questions.
The ethically conscious administrator is less likely to accept only technical options or established patterns of authority and more likely to allow the moral dimensions of a problem to emerge (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 100). Adopting the unified ethic as the framework for public administration can provide criteria for policy choices and justification for those choices. Application of the unified ethic can assist the public administrator in developing an identity as a moral agent, a steward of the public interest, a professional citizen.
Although the unified ethic does not guarantee ethical behavior, just as ethics codes and ethics training do not, it does offer clarity of ethical thought, which may increase the likelihood of ethical behavior (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 122). ETHICS IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION There is no question that the Founding Fathers believed that a democratic government would require leaders with impeccable moral and ethical credentials. It was expected that those who occupied public office, whether appointed or elected, would demonstrate the highest degree of integrity and conduct themselves in honorable ways.
A democratic government–one that is open and accessible to popular will and thought–could only be achieved by morally committed men and women (Liou, 2001, p. 350). Public Management Ethics management is the cumulative actions taken by managers to engender an ethical sensitivity and consciousness that permeates all aspects of getting things done in a public service agency. It is the promotion and maintenance of a strong ethics culture in the workplace. It is important because government workers and scholars have focused heavily on the core values of efficiency, economy and effectiveness.
Moreover, it has been assumed that administrators would be men and women of strong moral character and integrity (Menzel, 2007, p. 10). Public administration practitioners live with ethical and unethical realities day-in and day-out. This places them in the unique position of being able to practice ethics management, and on occasion, to experience the consequences of ethics management. There are four key components of ethics management: hiring, performance, training, and auditing. Factoring ethics into the process of managing these components is the best way to ensure that work objectives are achieved in an ethical anner, and that other on-the-job behaviors are ethical (Menzel, 2007, p. 12). Supervisors can either promote ethical behavior or undercut it. They can encourage employees to act ethically, promoting the professional application of nonpartisan professional competence and expertise. Employees see supervisors as the most important influence on ethics in their organizations. The supervisor’s expectations are predicted to have a strong impact on an employee’s ability to cope with external ethics pressure. Supervisors are expected to set the ethical tone for their employees by communicating and enforcing expectations.
Supervisory ethical encouragement may have different impacts on employee ethical perspectives, decision making, and job attitudes and perceptions of the organization (Yeager, Hildreth, Miller & Rabin, 2007). Leadership is central to governance in all polities. It is an essential part of our collective capacity to develop vision and strategy, to formulate, implement, and evaluate policies, to provide stability and continuity, and to deliver services to citizens (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 252) Like leadership in general, ethical leadership can be considered from many angles.
But regardless of which perspective we adopt—personal, professional, or political—we are essentially concerned with the character and conduct of present and prospective leaders. We are interested in the virtues that leaders embody in their decisions and actions, and we are attentive to the effect that leaders have on the lives of their followers. Leadership and ethics, therefore, are inseparable. It is not possible to consider leadership seriously without taking into account its ethical nature (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 54-255). Whistleblower Law Whistleblowing is the act of a man or woman who believes that the public interest overrides the interest of the organization he or she serves. It is going public with information regarding product safety, aiming to spotlight neglect or abuse of the public interest, or spotlighting procedures that run counter to company policy or public expectations. It is not possible to talk about responsible citizenship for long without talking about whistle-blowing.
Whistle-blowing is analogous to civil disobedience (Guy, 1990). What can one do if, after analyzing the difficult case, one comes to a conclusion unwelcome to colleagues and supervisors? Like the prophet in his own land, the ethical public administrator can become a pariah. He or she could discover ethically questionable activity of individuals in the organization or even entrenched in the organizational culture. It is difficult and professionally risky to tell others in the workplace that they have been unethical.
But if they persist in their unethical ways, the ethical thinker might, in extreme cases, be tempted to blow a whistle. If our recommendations are followed, the whistle will not need blowing—at least not as often. Our aim is to make the organization more ethical, so that even when the occasion and inevitable ethical violation occurs, the organization will respond appropriately. But if it does not, we can only respond with the unfortunate but obvious: Sometimes on ought to blow a whistle (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 45-46).
According to Rothwell & Baldwin, (2007) and their research, the findings reveal that a mandatory reporting policy is related to almost all of the measures of willingness to blow the whistle. This finding might indicate that whistle-blowing is an easier action to take in the abstract than in reality— willingness is one thing; actual whistle-blowing is another. For the typical employee, the negative repercussions associated with whistle-blowing may simply be too strong for a mandatory reporting policy to sustain a relationship with frequency of whistle-blowing.
Perceived as being petty, the reporting of minor violations may be especially susceptible to deterrence through informal sanctions such as ostracism. However, with supervisors, the enforcement of policy, periodically manifested in the actual reporting of violations, is often an important element of a job description, especially in police work. As such, failure to blow the whistle has more serious consequences for supervisors, and whistle-blowing is an expected and accepted behavior for supervisors (Rothwell & Baldwin, 2007).
A policy mandating the reporting of misconduct surfaces as a solution that could be easily implemented to enhance willingness to combat silence codes. However, this research suggests that organizations might enhance actual whistle-blowing behavior through identifying and applying aspects of supervisory status that are central to an individual’s motivation to blow the whistle (Rothwell & Baldwin, 2007). The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 established the Office of Special Council (OSC) as an independent agency within the executive branch to receive complaints and afeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisals for whistleblowing. The act was amended in 1994 with the passage of Public Law 103-424, which expanded the coverage to some government corporations and employees in the Veterans Administration. The current approach is based heavily on how much money is saved by blowing the whistle on misconduct, fraud, or abuse of authority. The U. S. system is reactive, not proactive, and therefore, puts the whistleblowers career in a precarious situation.
Some critics point out that while the U. S. whistle-blowing regulatory system is a positive development, there is still room for improvement (Menzel, 2007, pp. 119-120). Whistleblowers risk quite a bit when they decide to go forward with their accusations of wrongdoing: careers, friends, reputations, as well as employability in their chosen field. If a whistleblower files a grievance regarding harassment, all his or her shortcomings as an employee will be brought up (Guy, 1990, p. 145).
Revealing information becomes ethical when it will save someone from being hurt or mistreated or when it will keep someone’s rights from being violated. In some cases it would even be unethical for someone not to blow the whistle (Guy, 1990, p. 147). SIGNIFICANCE OF ETHICS REFORM From the early 1960s through today, the federal executive branch has seen a significant expansion of an ethics management program designed to protect citizen confidence in the impartiality and objectivity of government decision-making.
The program has placed a heavy emphasis on regulating financial conflicts of interest. Instead of protecting confidence in government decision-making, the program has actually lowered ethical expectations for federal employees and officials. The public and the media now largely view ethics as a process of complying with legalistic ethics rules and regulations. At the same time, critics of “petty ethics rules” argue that the legalization of public service ethics has made it much more difficult to recruit individuals to serve in government (Roberts, 2007).
Roberts (2007) stated that there is a failure of government ethics rules to maintain confidence in government and maintains that ethics rules make it difficult to recruit and retain government personnel, by enforcing (a) the removal of criminal penalties for conflict-of-interest violations, (b) the adoption of a new ex parte contact-disclosure requirement for high-level federal officials, and (c) the shifting of responsibility for whistleblower protection from the Office of Special Counsel to the Office of Government Ethics.
If adopted, these measures will help to refocus the primary purpose of the ethics program of protecting public confidence in government decision-making without imposing an undue burden on the recruitment and retention of personnel. They will, as well, make it clear that government ethics involves much more than complying with rules and regulations (Roberts, 2007). Liou (2001, p. 54) concurs and indicated that indeed, there is even a suggestion that ethics legislation allows public officials to employ the lowest common denominator in deciding right and wrong behavior.
There is precious little empirical evidence that ethics laws, ordinances, or boards have given us good government. Stated in the vernacular “If it is not illegal, it’s okay! ” Liou’s research indicates that ethics scholars are calling for an awakening, perhaps a reawakening, of what might be referred to as the “moral sense” that inheres in every human being. Geuras & Garofalo (2005, pp. 339-340) indicated that while we should all seek ways to make our agencies more ethical, we must not seek the quick cure-all. Each agency is different, and consequently, no general solution is likely to apply universally.
Public agencies are more complex and under more subtle influences than the supporters often comprehend. Rather than look for some sweeping cure-all, we perhaps would do better to recognize that ethical improvement comes gradually and develops from small, incremental changes rather than from sweeping reforms. The internal ethical cultures of organizations must improve. To impose ethics from above is to accede to the misconception that ethics is an externally imposed barrier rather than an inherent aspect of the work of the public administrator.
The best defense against such external impositions is internal reform. Ethics in Government Act of 1978 Title IV § 402 (LII, 2007) Section a-f defined the Authority and functions of the Office of Government Ethics. Passed in 1978 in the shadow of the Watergate scandal, the Ethics in Government Act affects many different aspects of federal government employment. Its most famous provision was the Independent Counsel Law, which gave impetus to very public investigations of officials in three presidential administrations and resulted in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999.
That provision has since been allowed to lapse, but many other provisions of the act remained valid through 2003 (Ethics in Government Act of 1978). When Congress first debated the Ethics and Government Act in the late 1970s, it seemed as if the nation had been through a long nightmare of ethics scandals, with Watergate being only the most prominent and devastating. The purpose of the act was to increase public confidence in the level of integrity of federal government officials, to deter conflicts of interest from arising, and to stop unethical person from entering public service.
Generally, the act made provisions for the authority and functions of the Office of Government Ethics, and set up administrative provisions, rules and regulations, and appropriations to enforce federal government ethics. It became law in1978 and was amended by the Ethics Reform Act of 1995 (Ethics in Government Act of 1978). H. R. 1754 The House Ethics Commission Establishment Act of 2007 (Library of Congress, 2007) was introduced in the House of Representatives at the 110th Congress First Session on March 29, 2007.
In the enactment of this law in Section 3 the Commission was authorized: (1) to investigate any alleged violation, by a Member, officer, or employee of the House of Representatives, of any law, rule, regulation, or other standard of conduct applicable to the conduct of such Member, officer, or employee in the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities, and after notice and hearing (unless the right to a hearing is waived by the Member, officer, or employee), shall report to the House of Representatives its findings of fact and recommendations, if any, upon the final disposition of any such investigation, and such action as the Commission may deem appropriate in the circumstances; (2) to issue any letter of reproval or admonishment with respect to such an alleged violation; (3) to report to the appropriate Federal or State authorities any substantial evidence of a violation, by a Member, officer, or employee of the House of Representatives, of any law applicable to the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities, which may have been disclosed in a Commission investigation; and (4) to adopt rules governing its procedures to provide rotections to respondents comparable to those that were provided by clause 3 of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives in effect immediately before the amendments to such rule made by section 8 ( Library of Congress, 2007). Shakman Decrees In 1969, one man made his stand against the Chicago political machine. Michael Shakman, an independent candidate for delegate to the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention, battled against one of the most enduring traditions in Chicago’s politics: political patronage, or the practice of hiring and firing government workers on the basis of political loyalty. With many behind-the-scenes supporters, Shakman’s years of determination resulted in what became known as the “Shakman decrees” (Fross, 2005).
Shakman filed suit against the Democratic Organization of Cook County, arguing that the patronage system put nonorganized candidates and their supporters at an illegal and unconstitutional disadvantage. Politicians could hire, fire, promote, transfer, in essence, punish employees for not supporting the system, or more particularly, a certain politician. The suit also argued that political patronage wasted taxpayer money because public employees, while at work, would often be forced to campaign for political candidates (Fross, 2005). In 1972, after an exhaustive court procedure and much negotiating, the parties reached an agreement prohibiting politically motivated firings, demotions, transfers, or other punishment of government employees.
A 1979 ruling led to a court order in 1983 that made it unlawful to take any political factor into account in hiring public employees (with exceptions for positions such as policy making). Those decisions along with companion consent judgments—collectively called the Shakman decrees—are binding on more than 40 city and statewide offices (Fross, 2005). SUSTAINING AN ETHICAL WORKPLACE Public Sector organizations face an environment of change and choice. That’s the reason that many of them turn to strategic planning to help navigate their complex terrains. Managers are asked to do more with fewer dollars and downsized staff. Performance measurement and accountability, devolution of policy and administration to the state and local governments, changing technology and the Internet, and increased contracting out for government ervices are all aspects of the environmental forces that prompt a focus on mission, strategic thinking, and ethics for governments at all levels (Liou, 2001, p. 261). de Graaf &r Van der Wal (2008) indicated that “The notion of justice looms in the public sector, but where does it fit into the internal market framework? ” They emphasize conflicts between crucial values such as fairness and efficiency and fear that corruption and unethical behavior in government are on the rise because we are trying to run government organizations as if they were businesses. The result may be that no clear set of ethical rules dominates. Public organizations are, however, being held more accountable to society (De Graaf & Van der Wal, 2008).
There is a “right” or “proper” or “just” balance for social performance, and the dilemma of management comes in finding it (Hosmer, 1991, p. 3). Codes of Ethics An ethical code is a statement of aspirations and a code of commitment to stakeholders. A code of ethics should describe a standard of integrity and competence beyond that required by law-which is the bare minimum. Codes typically cover the highest ideals of caring, honesty, accountability, promise keeping, pursuit of excellence, loyalty, fairness, integrity, respect for others, and responsible citizenship as these values apply to the work context, but they do so in general, sometimes vague terms. They address the core values as applied to the work setting.
They legitimate organizational values and may help to provide guidance, especially if they involve implementation guidelines, such as the code of the International City Management Association, which adopted a code of ethics in 1924 and has updated it periodically since then (Guy, 1990, p. 20). It is increasingly common to find public administration graduate programs offering ethics courses and public organizations providing in-house ethics training (Menzel, 2007, p. 10). Prudent managers and scholars have focused on understanding the dynamics of the ethical workplace. They have also explored how professional associations armed with ethics codes can help them cultivate an ethical culture (Menzel, 2007, p. 11). Advocates of ethics codes typically presume that codes contribute to a healthy organization and thus a higher performing organization (Menzel, 2007, p. 5). While codes of ethics may be public relations niceties, they do not adequately stem unethical behavior in business and government (Guy, 1990, p. 7). Research maintains that “codes of ethics demand more than simple compliance; they mandate the exercise of judgment and acceptance of responsibility for decisions rendered-the real work of ethics. ” We agree but the question is how the exercise of judgment and acceptance of responsibility are to be achieved. If the codes of ethics of the American Society for Public Administrators (ASPA) are to be exercised by public managers, they will require far more support than their agencies now provide.
Simply urging public employees to exercise judgment and accept responsibility is clearly quite inadequate because they need advice and guidance as well as an opportunity to develop ethical skills and discuss ethical challenges (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 108) Codes of ethics cannot replace ethical decision making; they can only supplement what is within the individual, which is his or her own set of principles applied to each decision made (Guy, 1990, p. 26). A code of ethics has the potential to be an effective tool in ensuring accountability in public sector decision-making. This effectiveness, however, will be degraded if the operating factors surrounding public sector ethics (individual human traits and values) are not taken into account.
It is the human element of the code (the internalization of the ethics by the individual decision-maker) that will ensure accountability. Accountability will only operate on a surface level at the very most if the decision-maker does not take on board those ethics as being his or her own (Kinchin, 2007). Finally, if a code of ethics is incorporated, it is essential that public sector managers are proactive in ensuring that individual decision-makers are aware of the code and that they foster an environment where those ethics become the values of the organization as well as the individuals within it. Writing up a code of ethics, putting it in a frame and hanging it on the wall is only half the job.
Managers must ensure that staff undertakes regular training in the code of ethics. Further, managers must actively encourage the kind of ethical behavior that the code espouses by being seen to be making ethical decisions themselves (Kinchin, 2007). Creating an Ethical Culture It is very important to apply ethics within an organization. Geuras and Garofalo (2005, p. 99) states that Kant emphasizes the rationality of human beings as the basis of ethics. Kant notes that ethics involves rules for governing the way that rational beings with free will should decide what direction their lives may take. Administrative ethics are clearly embedded in the structure and culture of the organization.
Therefore, we must consider the organizational structure and the culture, because the organization has formal and informal structures that influence decision making, communication, and other important aspects of the organization (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 98). An organizations values are what it cares about and the concepts that it stands for. Values help define the organizations culture and expectations about how people are treated, how services are delivered, and how work is done. Values should drive decisions, and value statements should be widely disseminated to people throughout the organization to link the mission of the organization–its reasons for existing–with its values as to how that mission will be achieved. There may be an incongruence between the values articulated by the organizations leadership and the values perceived by staff and stakeholders.
This contributes to a lack of credibility, loss of trust, and stakeholder dissatisfaction but may also help motivate change (Liou, 2001, p. 268). Apply Ethical Decision Making There is no magic potion that can be applied to transform public organizations into organizations of integrity. Building an organization of integrity—workplaces where individuals treat each other with respect, take pride in their work, care about one another, promote accountability, and place the public interest over individual and organizational self interest—requires substantial time, resources, and commitment, which is no small challenge. Yet, it must be met. Most significant, public administrators are on the front line of this challenge (Menzel, 2007, pp. 4-5).
What are the tools available to public managers to build and sustain organizations that promote ethical behaviors and practices? How well do they work? Are some more effective than others? Ethics management tools range from soft, even symbolic measures to more concrete measures such as ethics audits and training. No single one will suffice to build an organization of integrity. Rather, effective ethics management requires a comprehensive approach with top-down and bottom-up commitments (Menzel, 2007, p. 51). According to Roberts, (2007) ethics officers find it far easier to determine whether an official has violated a carefully crafted ethics rule than to make a subjective judgment as to whether an individual has engaged in unethical though legal conduct.
The legalization of ethics serves the meritorious objective of providing a clear ethics roadmap that helps to safeguard officials against finding themselves in an ethics twilight zone. The beauty and the challenge of ethics is that it provides a framework for decision making. Administrative ethic is a process of independently critiquing alternatives, based on core social values within the context of the organization, subject to personal and professional accountability (Guy, 1990, p. 13). Accountability means accepting the consequences of one’s actions and accepting the responsibility of one’s decisions and their consequences. Management and workers must be in pursuit of excellence. This means that one will strive to be as good as one can. It means being diligent, industrious, and committed.
It is not enough to be content with mediocrity (Guy, 1990, p. 14-15). Geuras and Garofalo (2005, p. 159) suggested that we should apply the Enhanced Unified Ethic which incorporates an application of the unified ethic within an organizational context. In any organization, ethical decision making is inevitably influenced by power relationships, rules structures, stakeholders, customary practices, and all the other factors involved in organizational culture. If an organization and its members are to be ethical, the organizations entire structure must be infused with a perspective that encourages moral action (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 159).
While we should all seek ways to make our agencies more ethical, we must not seek the quick cure-all. Rather than look for some sweeping cure-all, we perhaps would do better to recognize that ethical improvement comes gradually (Geuras & Garofalo, 2005, p. 339-340). CONCLUSION Managers must continue to protect the rights of individuals and prohibit unethical activity. When individuals take it upon themselves to commit immoral and unethical acts, they must reap the benefits of those acts. Our moral agents have been, for the most part, impartial and just. When managers and government workers take it upon themselves to commit unfair and unethical acts, this breeds an atmosphere for corruption.
Leadership is very important when applying ethical models. The unified ethic, the enhanced unified ethic and moral agency should be incorporated when applying ethical models because we are essentially concerned with character, conduct, and values. We are also concerned with the ethical nature of leadership and how it ties in with succession planning. A tie in of ethics will allow leaders to spend less time dealing with problems and give leaders more time to be productive. The enhanced unified ethic should be incorporated in the organization to ensure that each person may be able to function within their ethical style to form sound ethical conclusions.
Instilling ethics within the culture of the organization and incorporating ethics codes would ensure that proper ethics are practiced within the organization. Ethics must be imbedded in the policies and processes of the organization. This will help to create public value. Public value will help to create the outlook to our citizens that the public administrators can be relied upon to instill those values in the workplace. It will help to alleviate some of the cynicism and skepticism that the citizens have collected from the history of corruption and unethical behavior and will instill trust. The core of ethical behavior is accountability, trust, and efficiency.
Moreover, it is only when all of the issues are addressed and the part that the individual plays is acknowledged that accountability and trust can truly be achieved. REFERENCES Anechiarico, F. , Smith, D. C. , Wagner, R. F. (2007), “Partners in Performance: Effectiveness and Integrity in Public Management,” Public Administration Review, (65), pp. 1-33. Anonymous (2006, Oct. ), “Chicago Introduces Plan to Tighten System for Identifying Misconduct,” Crime Control Digest, 42 (40), p. 1. Berman, E. M. , J. S. Bowman, J. P. West, and M. Van Wart (2006), Human Resource Management in Public Service: Paradoxes, Processes, and Problems, (California, Sage Publications). “Chicago Police Disband Special Operations Section” (2007, Oct. ),” The Earth Times, p. 2. Cop: Officers encouraged to lie on reports” (2008, May), Chicago Tribune, p. 25. de Graaf, G. and Van der Wal Z. (2008), “On Value Differences Experienced by Sector Switchers,” Administration & Society, (40), pp. 79-103. Fross, R. (2005), “Shakman Decrees”, Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago, Chicago Historical Society, Retrieved on November 28, 2008 from http://www. encyclopedia. chicagohistory. org/pages/1138. html. Geuras, D. and Garofalo, C. (2005), Practical Ethics in Public Administration, (Virginia, Management Concepts). Guy, M. E. (1990), Ethical Decision Making in Everyday Work Situation(Connecticut, Quorum Books). Hosmer, LaRue (1991), Ethics of Management, (United States, Richard D. Irwin).
Kanungo, R. and Mendonca, M. (1996) Ethical Dimensions of Leadership, (United States of America, Sage Publications). Kinchin, Niamh (2007), “Professional Perspectives, More than Writing on a Wall: Evaluating the Role that Codes of Ethics Play in Securing Accountability of Public Sector Decision-Makers,” The Australian Journal of Public Administration, (66), pp. 112–120. Kovaleski, S. F. (2008), “Alaska Inquiry Concludes Palin Abused Power”, New York Times, (Late Edition), p. 1. Lasch-Quinn, Elisabeth (2007), ““Unschooled: Democratic Life in the Absence of a Moral Culture,” International Journal of Public Administration, (30), pp. 615–621. Legal Information Institute (LII) (2007), Ethics Title IV, § 402, Cornell University Law School, U. S. Code Collection Retrieved on November 20, 2008 from http://www. law. cornell. edu/uscode/html/uscode05a/usc_sec_05a_00000402—-000-. html. Library of Congress (2007), House Ethics Commission Establishment Act of 2007, H. R. 1754, Retrieved on November 21, 2008 from http://thomas. loc. gov/cgi-bin/query/z? c110:H. R. 1754. Liou, Kuotsai T. (2001), Handbook of Public Management Practice and Reform, (New York, Marcel Dekker). Menzel, D. C. (2007), Ethics Management for Public Administrators: Building Organizations of Integrity, (New York, M. E. Sharpe, Inc. ).
Mills, Steve (1998, JULY) “West Side Cops Face Shakedown Charges: Off Duty Officers’ Report Three Colleagues,” Chicago Tribune, p. 1. Roberts, R. (2007), “History of the Legalization of Executive Branch Ethics Regulation Implications for the Management of Public Integrity,” Public Integrity Journal, (9), pp. 313–332. Rothwell, G. R. and J. Baldwin, N. (2007), “Whistle-Blowing and the Code of Silence in Police Agencies: Policy and Structural Predictors,” Crime Delinquency, (53), pp. 605-632. Saulny, S. and Ferkenhoff, E. (2008, Oct), “Ex-Officer Linked To Brutality Is Arrested,” New York Times, p. 16. Wright, N. D. (1988), Papers on Ethics of Administration, (New York, New York Press). Yeager, S. J. , W. B. Hildreth, G. J.
Miller, AND J. Rabin (2007), “The Relative Effects of a Supervisory Emphasis on Ethical Behavior Versus Political Responsiveness,” Public Integrity, Summer, (9), pp. 265–283. APPENDIX A GOING TO THE DOGS INTRODUCTION Covington County is a small county in Richmond, Virginia that consists of farms and small towns. The economic development was slow but the Washington-Richmond corridor began to become more populated. As a result, other residents, developments, federal employees, and professionals, began to migrate to Covington County, buying homes so that they may commute to their jobs. Industries bought parcels of land for future building sites.
This represented the first signs of change for Covington County. There were many stray dogs that ran loose in Covington County and the newer residents were bothered by the numerous amounts of stray dogs. The citizens considered the stray dogs a public nuisance. The County Commission passed a dog licensing ordinance after the new residents organized a campaign and pressured the County Commission. The new ordinance required that all dogs have a license which costs $25 and pet owners were subject to be fined for dogs that wandered loose. Older Covington County residents disagreed with the passage of the dog license and became resentful to the fact that they had to pay $25 for dog registration fees.
As a result there was a resistance led by a Covington County senior local resident who came from a prominent family noted for its conservative views. The Covington Shortbridges believed that “their county” should not be changed because it was the most beautiful and prosperous in all Virginia. Roderic Shortbridge was a retired lawyer who saw the new law as subversion and decided to take on the new forces of change in Covington County. He ran for a County Commission seat using a ‘Repeal the Dog License” platform emphasizing “dog rights and traditional rural virtue. ” He preached about how dogs had been roaming Covington County since before Washington, D. C. , was built and even before the American Revolution.
Roderic won by a majority and began to convince the other County Commissioners to repeal the dog license law. Shortbridge persuaded the other Commissioners to pass resolutions discouraging industrial development and suburban growth. He went after the School Board about their liberal textbooks and the Corrections Department about their penal policies. As time went on Covington County became known for its backward economic growth. There was a drop in industrial development because corporate planners received the third degree from the County Commissioners. The commuter residents considered moving out of the neighborhoods to more progressive and hospitable environments.
Covington County developed a reputation as an island of backwardness and poverty in a sea of development and prosperity spilling over from the Washington-Richmond corridor. The newer residents continued to try to develop Covington County with new business, restaurants, and industry but were challenged, not only by Commissioner Shortbridge and his old guard, but the younger residents who shared Shortbridges’ values. These values consisted of the beliefs in a simple, rural existence without industrial pollution, government regulation, and shopping malls. These citizens saw themselves as simply environmentalists protecting the quality of community life for themselves and their children.
As time went on, Young Urban Professionals moved into Covington County, became politically active, and was able to have five new members (out of ten) elected to the Covington County Commission. The group was also able to persuade the Commission to hire a County Manager. The newer residents felt that a professional administrator would support their views and control the conservative and environmentalist elements in county government. They hired me, Rosebud Robinson, as Covington County Manager. Instructions and Questions 1. How would you approach the various groups in Covington County politics and the county as a whole? I would talk to each Commissioner and find out their position on economic growth within Covington Count