Interorganizational Context

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Transcript Interorganizational Context

• Ethics is the application of reason to guide conduct so that it is
consistent with the value system to which we subscribe
• Sources of ethical dilemmas
– Conflict among responsibilities (Legislator wants one thing
but rules or professional standards dictate something else)
• Conflict between responsibilities and personal needs (work
schedule and personal life)
• Obligations or rules that are unclear
Ethical dilemma
• While on patrol you pull over a car that is weaving all
over the road. You walk up to the driver’s side and
discover the driver is your father-in-law. He is drunk as a
What do you do?
Moral philosophies
• Absolutism: any breach of a value system is wrong
– 18th. Century philosopher, Immanuel Kant, said that it
would even be wrong to misdirect a potential murderer who
is looking for his quarry.
• Relativism: no absolute rules of behavior - moral judgments
must take context into account.
– Utilitarianism (a branch of relativism) holds that behavior
should be judged by its consequences:
• A 19th. Century utilitarian philosopher, John Stuart Mill,
stated that actions are right to the extent that they
produce a benefit “to all concerned”.
Ethical dilemma
• You have no evidence against the “number one man” of a
criminal organization. You have barely enough to arrest the
“number two man”. He is weak-willed, and if he winds up in
handcuffs, away from the “gang”, he might be sufficiently
scared to confess and implicate his boss.
Naturally that would place him in a lot of legal and personal
What do you do? Evaluate your options using absolutist and
utilitarian approaches
Legislative decisions
• Special interests
– Legislative decrees must mediate between the interests of
various groups and constituencies
• Personal interests
– Individual goals and desires may conflict with public roles
• Furthering non-government jobs and careers
• Furthering the interests of family and friends
• Fundraising and “pay to play”
Administrative decisions
• Policies or recommendations should be consistent with
legislative intent, which supposedly reflects the will of the
• Assuring responsiveness
– Limit discretion with detailed legislation
– Supervision and inspection
– Educating administrators in their responsibility to act in the
public interest
– Insure that agency personnel are representative of
– Involve citizens in making decisions
Individual decisions
• Conflicts of interest
– Personal gain
– Family and friends
• Recusal
• Vetting
• Issues:
– Profit motive overrides other values
– Unequal distribution of products or services
– No public input into decisions
• Fixes:
– Use nonprofit organizations
– Detailed contractual language
– “Accountability structures” - supervision and inspections are especially important when liberty interests are involved
Federal ethics rules
• Conflicts of interest
– Cannot decide or advise as to matters in which self, family
or close associates have a financial interest
– Cannot accept gifts in connection with position, or from a
subordinate (Exception: non-cash gifts worth $20 or less)
• Political activities
– Employees who are not SES or law enforcement can on
their own time participate in most political activities,
including running for nonpartisan office
– Cannot run for partisan office, solicit money, accept
volunteer services from a subordinate, or be identified by
govt. position
• Endorsements
– Cannot intervene with the Govt. on behalf of others
– Cannot officially endorse a private enterprise
• Private gain
– Cannot use travel credits or upgrades for self
– After leaving permanently banned from representing others
before the Govt. on an issue in which they participated
– Two-year ban when matters were under their respb’y, but
they did not “personally and substantially” participate
– To prevent “influence peddling” and “revolving door”,
procurement officials involved in contracts greater than $10
million barred from accepting compensation from
contractors for one year after leaving the government
• Financial disclosures
– Yearly financial disclosure form required for Federal
supervisory and management employees
• Major obligations (other than mortgage or car)
• Securities held
• Private financial interests that might conflict with
official responsibilities
• Strictly regulated – Federal and State
– California Secretary of State
• Requirements to register
• Prohibitions on giving valuable gifts to legislators and staff
Waste, fraud and abuse
• “Whistle-blowing” by employees and the public
• Professional organizations and codes of ethics
– Example - American Society for Public Administration
– Inspections and audits
– Internal investigative units (US Dept. of Defense OIG)
• Organizations
– “Ethics audit” – review an organization’s values
• Ethics audit of General Dynamics, which had many
defense contract violations, revealed cultural agreement
that the Govt. was an “adversary” and that it was ok to
take an advantage
– Integrity training