The Responsible Public Servant

The Responsible Public Servant

eBook - 2014
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Are public servants personally responsible for the outcomes of government actions or omissions to which they contribute? Do they have an obligation to pursue the public interest? Are there limits on the extent of their loyalty to political masters? How do they avoid conflict of interest? Is it possible to balance the competing demands of openness and confidentiality, or personal privacy and public security? To whom are they accountable? How can they build a strong ethical culture in their organization or agency? This book examines these and other difficult questions faced by public servants trying to sort out what it means to be a responsible public servant in the 21st century. The focus is the nature of responsible behaviour at all levels of government. So this is a book about professional or applied ethics - reflections on the guidance provided to public servants about how to behave in their relationships with their political masters, administrative superiors, colleagues, clients, the wider public and, lastly, with their own personal interests. This is the second edition of a book that has become Canada's best-selling volume on public service ethics. Thousands of students and government employees at the federal, provincial and municipal levels have used The Responsible Public Servant in the classroom and professional development workshops to guide their consideration of ethical dilemmas which public servants face on a daily basis. The new edition has the same focus and plain language approach as the original volume but is completely rewritten to reflect the impact of recent political, technological and societal changes on the role and responsibility of public servants. Each chapter contains short case studies based on real events to provide readers with an opportunity to test their views on the nature of responsible behavior. The Responsible Public Servant does not preach to the reader. The book provides a practical examination of the arguments that are made on both - or many - sides of difficult questions about how public servants should conduct themselves. Thinking about these questions should cause public servants (and prospective public servants) to reflect on how they currently deal (or would deal) with difficult choices in their public lives, and it may even provoke them to approach some of these problems differently The book encourages the habit of ethical discourse in the conduct of public affairs and argues that moral calculus is just as important to a public servant as technical analysis and operational skills. It challenges the reader to think about whether he or she is acting in a way that is ethically defensible. The ethical dimension of public sector employment is receiving much more attention than it did when the first edition of this book was published. Most schools of public administration and government training programs now offer courses, parts of courses or workshops on how public servants should behave on the job. Also, most governments have established standards of conduct and agencies and processes to encourage and enforce responsible administrative behaviour. This attention is a very positive development because, in our view, nothing is more dangerous than a public servant who is technically fit but ethically flabby. Our goal is to help public servants to recognize that much of the work they do involves difficult ethical choices, to accept personal responsibility for the hard choices they make and to learn how to think ethically and justify their decisions. We are interested in provoking thought and discussion about the nature of obligations and duties, the calculations of consequences, the balancing of conflicting values, and the goodness and badness of administrative practices and public policies. In our view, there is much more to being responsible than the mere avoidance of blatant corruption.
Publisher: [United States] : BookBaby : Made available through hoopla, 2014
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Langford, John W.
hoopla digital
ISBN: 9781550610062


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