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7) Can an ethical act be determined by its ‘intent’? or it should be determined by the ‘consequences’ it produces? What is more desirable for ethics applied to public administration? Discuss.(250 words)

Topic:  Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7) Can an ethical act be determined by its ‘intent’? or it should be determined by the ‘consequences’ it produces? What is more desirable for ethics applied to public administration? Discuss.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question seeks to analyse ethics based on means and ethics based on ends as applied to public administration.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the two aspects and how they can be applied to public administration.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief discuss importance of ethics in public administration.

Body:

There are two major schools in ethical theory. Deontological school: This school states that all knowledge about the world is limited and uncertain – therefore ethics cannot be grounded on the basis of knowledge about the world, but must be motivated by the will to act ethically, and therefore the intent of the action is superior to the consequences of the action. Immanuel Kant used this theory to conceptualise the categorical imperative. 

Teleological theory: This school agrees that all knowledge is uncertain and limited; but states that we should make goals that are based upon the existing knowledge and all acts which are done in pursuit of those goals qualify as ethical.

 Therefore, acts are adjudged as ethical based upon the consequences they produce. JS Mill and Utilitarian principles are prime examples of this school.

 For an ethics of public administration neither of the two extremes can be adopted – neither can an administrator overestimate his certainty on the matter and act without any skepticism, nor can she reject all factual certainties and act only on principles. She has to train her moral and cognitive faculties to use both these methods, and exercise the good judgment of which one to use when.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

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