Public Service Ethics- Main Topics of Study


  • The comparative dimension
  • Theory and practice
  • Managerial focus
  • Regime values

Ethical Issues

  • Issues enduring and universal
  • UK experience
  • Managers’ perspectives

Ethical Theory and Public Service Principles

  • Theory
  • Principles in the public services

The Public Service Ethos

  • Is there a public service ethos?
  • The threat to the public service ethos
  • Implications of the undermining of the public service ethos

Roles, Relationships and Rules

  • Concept of trust
  • Minister-civil servant relationship
  • Professional relationships and trust
  • Managing across organisational boundaries and partnerships
  • Rules and non-governed behaviour

The Organisational Dimension

  • Organisational forms and structures
  • The fabric of the organisation
  • Organisational culture and control
  • Organisational control and individual morals
  • Whistleblowing

Ethics and Evaluations

  • The ethical context
  • Models of performance measurement
  • Performance appraisal
  • Performance and control

Ethical Training for Decisions

  • Ethical decisions in the short term
  • The moral development of the individual
  • The learning organisation
  • The learning society


  • The purpose of government
  • Theory and practice
  • Obligations and relationships
  • Ethical enforcement
  • Traditions and practices
  • Learning, evaluation and ethics

Recommended Reading

Reading List

Main Text:
Alan Lawton, Ethical Management for the Public Services, (Open University Press, 1998, ISBN 0335199194)