Public Management as Ethics

J. Patrick Dobel

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Management

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226443
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

 Public Management as Ethics

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Public management and administration are justified by moral purpose: they provide the political and institutional conditions that permit human beings to survive, flourish, and exercise virtue and excellence. Interestingly, however, almost all historical forms of bureaucracy and government emphasize at the rhetorical level, the ethical responsibilities of public administrators to serve impartially “all” citizens of the state with competence. This article discusses the ethical values and character that modern public managers and administrators should possess to perform their duties in liberal democracies. The article analyzes the strains within liberal democracy that pose unique and persistent tensions between the values of liberal democracy and public management. It focuses upon framing discretion as the moral focal point of public management and looks at the range of values central to morally defensible public management. Finally it discusses the role of ethics policies to imbed values at the core of the public management enterprise and address corruption.

Keywords: public management; ethics; public administration; bureaucracy; public managers; liberal democracies

Article.  10677 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Public Management and Administration

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