Philosophy / Public Administration
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Autor: anton 21 September 2010
Words: 1664 | Pages: 7
The roll of ethics in public administration is based on the administration; administrators should be value-free when they implement public policy. I will discuss why ethics should be based on the administration and, why it should not be based on each individual worker in the administration. I will discuss Weber's stance on values in bureaucratic organizations, what Macintyre suggests, and what Hummel and Goodsell would conclude about values in public administration. Most people do not understand what an administration deals with everyday on an individual basis. They might think that an administration is supposed to make the best ethical choices, but that is not the case. People who are outside the administration might think that administrators are supposed to use everyday values when implementing policy, but that is also not the case.
The roll that ethics plays in public administration is based on each individual administration. An administration is a business after all and it has to make money to survive in the business world. If all the businesses in public administration based ethics on each individual worker than his or her administration would not survive. Imagine if you were an individual working for the state dealing with welfare for a citizen. You know that the citizen needs more money than the federal government is giving, but you can only give out the amount of money that is allowed by the government. Well if one employee gives out extra money to one citizen and other employee does the same thing than the state will be losing income, people who pay taxes will want to know where their money is going and than the questions about having the welfare system will come up again. Every administrator who sees a case like the example I just showed wants to do the right thing, but they can not because administrators do not get paid to make the right ethical choices. Administrators get paid to do what the administration tells them to do, and if that means not making the correct ethical choice, than that employee should get out of the business that he or she is in.
The administrations were set up to give out the amount of money that the government sees fit. They were not set up to make the ethical choices that an employee of the administration feels is the right thing to do. It does sound bad that an administration will not give out extra money to a person in need, but if that did happen than the administration would not exist and no one would get any benefits that were needed. The roll that ethics plays in public administration is based on each individual administration. If a public administration wants to do the right ethical things than more power to them, and if they do not than the administration should not be seen as something evil, but it should be seen as a business.
Administrators should be value-free when they are implementing public policy for their administration. They should be value free, because if they let their own personnel values in to play they would be hurting the administration. An example of this is dealing with student loans, an administrator may feel that giving a bigger loan to someone who is in need of it is the right thing to do, but they know if they give the extra loan instead of the standard amount for the situation than the administration would suffer. This does not mean that every administrator has values like a used car salesman would, but that they have to do what their job specifies.
Administrators just can not change the rules for an individual. It basically goes back to the paragraph on ethics; the values are also based on the administration and not the administrators running the administration. Most administrators do have good values, they follow the laws, go to church, give money to charity, but they can not implement those ideas in their workplace. In the reading on Goodsell, it says that the administrators who have been at their work the longest are the ones who are able to handle a case about a loan or welfare money better. They are better able to handle that kind of case because they know that their job is to do what the administration says. An administrator who has not been working that long is not better equipped to handle cases like that because they put their own values in the way when they do not need to do that. Those administrators come home wondering if they can do something extra, but once they have been in the administration long enough they will realize that they should not feel bad about a situation, but to treat each situation like any other situation that they will deal with while being employed.
Weber's stance on values is that when the bureaucracy was first formed it was a good idea. Values were a norm to the bureaucracy. Than overtime as the bureaucracy got bigger and bigger values were becoming less the norm. Weber's nightmare was that the bureaucracy would become out of control. He may have been correct on that, some people agree with his nightmare. When bureaucracy decided to get involved with the government and political leaders, values were thrown out the window.
MacIntyre's stance is that character is not enough to go by in the administration field. He says that in the administration each person must value his or her self, and not to just agree with what the administration says for them to carry out. I believe that MacIntyre does not like the way that the administration system has turned out. He would want the administration to help out more than the minimum amount that it does help out. I am basing that on the fact that he is saying just because you have good character does not mean it is understandable to not give more benefits to a person in need than the usual amount. MacIntyre to me feels that each person in need should get the most out of the government or the administration that is giving out the benefits.
Hummel says that there is a paradox with the values of an organization and each person in the bureaucracy or the administration has to deal with it in his or her own way. In the examples that Hummel gives, he gives one about a welfare mother of eight children. She needs money from the government, and she goes to the bureaucracy to see about getting the money that she needs for her children. The mother does not get the money that she sees to be fit, and she feels that the bureaucracy is at fault. The administrator dealing with her case is in between on the issue, she wants to give more money, but she can't because the bureaucracy will not let her. The administrators do have values, they can not use their own values for each case and they go home wondering if there is more they could have done. My personnel opinion on this example is that someone should have told this welfare mother of eight to quit having kids. She would be helping everyone out by not having anymore, because she can not take care of herself or her children. Another example of how administrators do not let values get involved is with the employees working with the Social Security System, when a man dies it is just another form he or she fills out for his day of work. They don't see the death as a loss of a loved one that the family of the deceased sees him as. Those are just two examples of the separation of values that the bureaucracy has put on the employees.
Goodsell says that in today's world it takes a special personality type to be a bureaucrat. He says that the bureaucracy changes the personality types of the employees who are working for the bureaucracy. His reading gives examples of people moving up the bureaucracy by abiding to the rules of the bureaucracy. New individuals to the bureaucracy do not take risks, they are afraid of what might happen if a risk goes wrong. In Goodsell's reading the motivation for bureaucrats is simple; the motivation is to move up in rank just like a business. Bureaucrats want to maximize profits as if they were the executive of a million dollar business. Government administrators are supposed to maximize their department's budget. If they maximize their budget than they can move up in rank and thus have a better career. From this reading you can understand why the government is getting bigger and bigger each year. The bigger the government is, the more tax dollars they can use to help further governmental programs. By getting the tax dollars it causes the bureaucracy to become larger. From the Goodsell reading I have concluded that he sees the bureaucratic values to be one of profit maximizing only. The government bureaucrats are there to make profits for the government, and if they can not make the profits needed the government will find someone that will.
The roll of ethics is based on each individual administration, if an administration wants to be more ethical, than by all means that is fine. The administrators should be value free when implementing public policy because it is the administrations call on the issues. Still, most people do not understand the administration and how it works. They come into the administrator's office expecting what they want to hear and that is not always the case. Citizens just need to understand that the administrators want to give you everything, but they must abide by what the administration tells them to do.
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