1st Edition

Empowering Public Administrators Ethics and Public Service Values

Edited By Amanda M. Olejarski, Sue M. Neal Copyright 2024
    402 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    402 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Public administrators need to be empowered to make difficult decisions. Acting in the public interest often means doing what is ethical even when it is an unpopular choice. Yet, too often, public servants at the local, state, and federal levels internalize the notion that their hands are tied and that they are limited in their ability to effect change. Empowering Public Administrators: Ethics and Public Service Values provides a much-needed antidote to inaction, offering a new lens for viewing administrative decision-making and behavior.

    This book makes a case for bringing historically significant theories to the forefront of public service ethics by applying them to a series of current ethical challenges in practice. Exploring administrative discretion as modern bureaucrats govern public affairs in a political context, this collection builds on the normative foundations of public administration and provides readers with a scaffold for understanding and practicing public service values. Questions for discussion and applications to practice are included in each chapter making this collection of interest to public affairs master’s and doctoral students as well as public service practitioners.


    Amanda M. Olejarski and Sue M. Neal  

    Part 1:  Ontology and Epistemology  

    1. Ethics and Public Service Values: Ontological and Epistemic Frameworks for Study and Practice  

    Sharon H. Mastracci and Norma M. Riccucci  

    2. Autonomy as Public Service  

    Beverly Harkema  

    3. Call the Budget Police!: How the Public Service Values of Ontology and Epistemology Can Support Public Administrators in a Gray Budgeting Environment  

    Ratna Okhai and Terry N. Henley  

    4.  The Ethical Voids of the Principal Agency and Stewardship Approach  

    Rik Koolma  

    Part 2:  The Public Interest  

    5.  How Public Administrators Empower Themselves  

    David S. Reed  

    6.  Political Polarization, Transcendent Values, and the Urgency of Moral Leadership among Campus Leaders as Public Administrators  

    Lynn Pasquerella  

    7.  The Ethics of Public Employee Disparaging Private Social Media Use, Erosion of Trust, and the Advancement of the Public Interest  

    Marcus D. Mauldin  

    Part 3:  Bureaucracy in a Democracy  

    8.  Principle Organizational Dissent and Public Service  

    Robert Roberts  

    9.  The Influence of Public Service Values on Implementation and Performance: Evidence from the Housing Policy  

    Melissa Gomez Hernandez  

    10.  The Institutionalization of Integrity Policies and the Management of a Growing Ethics Bureaucracy  

    Christoph Demmke  

    Part 4:  Balancing Politics and Administration  

    11.  Balancing Politics and Administration: Dangers of Administrative Discretion  

    Steven G. Koven  

    12.  Ethical Codes, the Politics-Administration Dichotomy, and Public Financial Managers  

    Vickie Edwards and Vincent Reitano  

    13.  Discretionary Ethics and Governing Public Affairs in Jails and Prisons: Upholding Constitutional Rights to Health and Safety.  

    Cynthia Golembeski, Gabriel Eber, Carolyn Sufrin, Jacqueline Lantsman, and Homer Venters  

    Part 5:  The Hollowing of Government  

    14.  Mending the Fragile Credibility of a Hollow State with Storytelling  

    Jourdan A. Davis  

    15.  Gaming the System: Ethical Constraints in Implementing Co-production  

    Meril Antony  

    16.  Sports as Mirrors: Athletes and Agenda Setting in a Hollowed-Out State  

    Jamie Levine Daniel & M. Blair Thomas  

    Part 6:  Transparency in Reporting  

    17.  Public Service Values and Financial Reporting in U.S. Local Governments: Reconciling Transparency in External Financial Reporting with Political Expectations  

    Jane Beckett-Camarata  

    18. Transparency in Preserving and Administering Sites of Collective Memory  

    Daniel Boden  

    19.  New Public Management Reforms, Ethics Training Programs, and Ethical Conduct of Public Servants in Tanzania  

    Wilfred Lameck  


    Amanda M. Olejarski and Sue M. Neal  



    Amanda M. Olejarski teaches public administration courses at the University of Central Florida. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Public Integrity. Her research has been published in the top public administration journals, and she is the author of several books on ethical decision-making including Ethics for Contemporary Bureaucrats (Routledge, 2020).

    Sue M. Neal is Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Arkansas State University, USA. She is the Cofounder of the Veterinary Care Accessibility Project, a research nonprofit aimed at improving animal welfare in the United States and beyond. She was employed for over two decades as an executive director in the nonprofit sector and has done extensive research consulting for a number of national animal welfare organizations. Her research interests include ethics in the public sector and animal welfare, and her work has appeared in a number of journals. Dr. Neal serves as the Managing Editor of the journal Public Integrity.

    "High praise for the new book which addresses the importance of different public service approaches. Empowering Public Administrators: Ethics and Public Services Values is a must read book for anyone wanting to understand the complexities, nuances and the creation of public service approaches from ontology and epistemology perspectives. Olejarksi and Neal have sagely assembled a collection of chapters that are both thought-provoking and also very useful from an organizational level."

    Richard Greggory Johnson III, University of San Francisco, USA