Welcome to Ethical Foundations for Public Service!

Ethical Foundations for Public Service
Part 1 : Philosophy and Principles

Principles of Public Service (continued)

Principle #5: Respectability

Public servants should safeguard public confidence in the integrity of the government of being honest, fair, caring and respectful, and by avoiding conduct that creates the appearance of impropriety, or which is otherwise unbefitting a public official. Ethical ground rules that enhance the principle of respectability include:

  • Honor and Respect : conduct professional and personal life so as to be worthy of trust.
  • Honesty : avoid lying, deception, deviousness and cheating.
  • Integrity : principle over expediency; courage of convictions.
  • Appearance of Impropriety : avoid otherwise proper conduct which creates in the minds of significant number of reasonable impartial observers the perception that the public trust has or will be violated.
  • Private Conduct : improper if it demonstrates character traits, attitudes or judgments unbefitting public office.

Please refer to your handbook if you would like to work through this exercise on paper.

Thinking it Through...What Would YOU Do?
  • An employee you supervise who coordinates travel informs you that a group of researchers insist on using a particular airline because of the personal mileage credits they receive. On several occasions the employee has informed them of significantly lower airfares on other airlines, but they insist on booking a specific airline carrier. What do you do?

  • As a manager, you are aware of a group of employees whom your colleague supervises and who consistently come in late, take extended breaks, and leave early. What do you do?

  • As a manager, it's brought to your attention that several people in your office abuse the internet routinely doing non-work business, however, you have not personally observed this. What do you do?

  • You become a frustrated supervisor and routinely find yourself gossiping and talking down about others. Rather than stop, you continue this behavior. What are the implications?

  • In your opinion, the head of your office models inappropriate or poor behavior. You decide, “If she can do it than I can do it.” You begin to notice that this has a negative effect on your performance. What are your options?