Ethics in Administration Terry L  Book Report

Excerpt from Book Report :

Whistle-blowing can have many adverse effects on the person doing the whistle-blowing and there are definitely feelings of loneliness that can arise when a whistle-blower decides to make some noise. Cooper gives some prime examples of whistle-blowing cases in chapter six, but he insists that there are still many who have "gone away quietly" (202), which may appear to be the safest option for the individual, yet that means that the public will never know the truth about what was going on -- and so, the individual really does have a moral responsibility to the public so that unethical behavior isn't allowed at any level as it will eventually seep into the very core of the organization and back into society.

Whistle-blowing, no matter what way it is looked at is "risky," according to Cooper (203). People who blow the whistle not only face scrutiny and alienation, but they may also seriously upset their financial stability as well as their entire career, peers and colleagues as resources, and their reputation (203). These are the main reasons that some people may simply decide to turn a blind eye or walk away quietly as opposed to standing a stand in the name of fairness and righteousness.

Cooper (220) brings up the example of Robert H. Jackson, chief counsel for the United States, and his opening statement before the Nuremberg Tribunal. Jackson argued that the policy of individual responsibility for crimes on an international level had a very long history in matters of piracy and brigandage. He said that, "Only sanctions which reach individuals can peacefully and effectively be enforced" (220). This makes sense as individuals commit crimes and each individual who is a part of a crime has the opportunity and the responsibility to come forward for the good of the general public. Loyalty to the public therefore must be first and must be always put above loyalty to an organization or one's superiors.

Individuals must counterbalance the bureaucratic organization. Individuals will inevitably commit misdeeds, whether purposefully or not, and thus peers need to be aware of all types of conduct that is going on in organizations whether it is above or below them.

Chapter eight's conclusion, "A Model of Responsible Administration," begins with Cooper discussing the gap between an objective responsibility and subjective responsibility for public administrators. There are instances where they may feel that they must act against the organization hierarchy, which can leads to feelings of confusion and guilt. Cooper notes that these conflicts between the objective and subjective responsibilities manifest in three types of conflicting responsibility: 1) conflicts of authority; 2) role conflicts; and, 3) conflicts of interest (244). "Each confronts public administrators with quandaries about where their ultimate responsibility lies and presents opportunities to engage in unethical conduct" (244).

Cooper goes back over each chapter, recognizing that chapter one identified the four levels at which we contemplate ethical issues: on an expressive level, where response is emotional; a moral rule level -- where axioms for conduct from the larger culture and organization are presented; an ethical analysis level -- which includes a systematic examination of the underlying ethical principles; and the postethical level -- "where our basic assumptions about human nature, the nature of the universe, and what constitutes knowledge and truth are considered" (245). Cooper states that the levels two and three -- moral rules and ethical analysis -- seem to be more vital as an individual moves upward in an organization, giving them more responsibility (245). This leads or carries over into chapter two, which brings up the important roles of public administrator and citizen and discusses the tension between the two, which is why it is so important that attention is paid to this issue. Cooper insists that both must be "maintained and served" if an administrator is behaving in a responsible fashion. The public administrator is thus playing both roles at the same time (245).

A model for responsible administration is a guide for managers and it serves as a sort of blueprint for leaders that are reorganizing some aspect of the organization's environment, while making sure that is "conducive to responsible conduct and supportive of professional ethics" (247). Cooper states that there are sometimes that some components of responsible behavior or conduct may be in conflict with either all or just some of the components of individual ethical autonomy, which depends…

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