Ethics and Management in the Public Sector: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethics and Management in the Public Sector

1st Edition

By Alan Lawton, Julie Rayner, Karin Lasthuizen


196 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Grappling with ethical issues is a daily challenge for those working in organizations that deliver public services. Such services are delivered through an often bewildering range of agencies and amidst this constant change, there are fears that a public service ethos, a tradition of working in the public interest, becomes blurred.

Using extensive vignettes and case studies, Ethics and Management in the Public Sector illuminates the practical decisions made by public officials. The book takes a universal approach to ethics reflecting the world-wide impact of public service reforms and also includes discussions on how these reforms impact traditional vales and principles of public services.

This easy-to-use textbook is a definitive guide for postgraduate students of public sector ethics, as well as students of public management and administration more generally.


'Public sector reform needs to move on from the narrow agenda of New Public Management, and this includes treating the question of public service ‘ethics’ as something more substantial than rhetoric. The authors of this important book provide substantial ideas and material that will be of value to those involved in that task.'

Colin Crouch, Professor Emeritus, University of Warwick, UK

'This accessible text is firmly grounded in ethical theory and current public management practice. Well chosen case vignettes allow the reader to apply principles and consider their universality. The inclusion of ethical dimensions of the delivery of public services through networks also makes this text relevant to private and voluntary sector audiences. '

Dr Gemma Donnelly-Cox, School of Business,Trinity College Dublin

Table of Contents

1. Managing Ethics in the Public Services 2. Ethical Theory: What is the Right Thing to do and Who is to Say So? 3. Public Interest: Is There Such a Thing and What Purpose Does it Serve? 4. Public Service Motivation and Ethos: Why do Public Officials Work Above and Beyond the Call of Duty? 5. Ethical Culture: What is it, is it Universal and How Can it be Changed? 6. Compliance Approaches: How Can We Police Ethical Standards and Behaviour? 7. Integrity Approaches: Can We Trust Public Officials to Police Themselves? 8. Ethical Performance: How Do We Know if We Are Doing Well and Good? 9. Leadership: Does Ethical Leadership Make a Difference? 10. Conclusion

About the Authors

Professor Alan Lawton is Deputy Head of the School of Business and Economics at Monash University, Australia. Prior to joining Monash in 2011 he held professorial appointments at the universities of Hull and Teesside in the UK and VU University in Amsterdam. He has written extensively on public sector ethics in journals such as Journal of Business Ethics, Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory , Public Integrity and Public Money & Management

Dr Karin Lasthuizen is Associate Professor in Governance Studies and senior member of the research group Quality of Governance at the Department of Governance Studies at the VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She has recently published in the Public Management Review, Public Administration, Sociological Methods and Research and International Journal of Leadership

Dr Julie Rayner is Lecturer in the School of Business and Economics at Monash University, Australia. Prior to joining Monash Julie taught at Durham University, UK and also worked with The Open University Business School. Her research interests are in public sector organizations and she has recently published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Journal of Business Ethics and the International Journal of Human Resource Management

About the Series

Routledge Masters in Public Management

Routledge Masters in Public Management is a series of original texts which offers students and practitioners a concise, coordinated and comprehensive learning resource.

The series benefits from a coordinated format, including the use of such pedagogical features as learning points, text boxes, annotated further reading and questions for further discussion. Each volume in the series stands in its own right as a textbook which is essential reading for a particular module in a public management degree scheme. Taken together, the series offers an integrated and up-to-date collection of core textbooks and supplementary reading that can provide the backbone of any student’s study of public management – whether based upon an MBA or MPA programme, a stand-alone course or through a period of individual study. Taking an expert look at an increasingly important and complex discipline, this is a groundbreaking series.

The resources represented in this series go beyond the “toolkit” or “recipe” format which does not reflect the way working in the public sector actually happens. Rather, the series encourages the reader to develop the core managerial skills and critical thinking required to excel in this discipline.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration