Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Public Service Ethics

Individual and Institutional Responsibilities, 2nd Edition

By James S. Bowman, Jonathan P. West


388 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138578197
pub: 2018-06-07
Hardback: 9781138578180
pub: 2018-06-01
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351265126
pub: 2018-05-30
from $34.98

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Ethics—in all its exemplary and exhausting forms—matters. It deals with the most gripping question in public life: "What is the right thing to do?" Now in a thoroughly revised second edition, Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilitiesintroduces readers to this personally relevant and professionally challenging field of study. No matter the topic—the necessity of ethics, intriguing human behavior experiments, the role of ethics codes, whistleblowing incidents, corruption exposés, and the grandeur and decay of morality—there is no shortage of controversy. The book enables readers to:

  • appreciate why ethics is essential to leadership;
  • understand and apply moral development theory at the individual and organizational levels of analysis;
  • differentiate between ethical problems and ethical dilemmas, and design creative ways to deal with them;
  • develop abilities to use moral imagination and ethical reasoning—to appraise, argue, and defend an ethical position, and
  • cultivate individual and institutional initiatives to improve ethical climate and infrastructure.

Authors James Bowman and Jonathan West capture reader interest by featuring learning objectives, skill-building material, discussion questions, and exercises in each chapter.  The authors’ narrative is user-friendly and accessible, highlighting dilemmas and challenging readers to "own" the book by annotating the pages with one’s ownideas and insights, then interacting with others in a live or virtual classroom to stretch one’s thinking about the management of ethics and ethics of management. The ultimate goal is to bolster students’ confidence and prepare them for the ethical problems they will face in the future, equipping them with the conceptual frameworks and context to approach thorny questions and behave ethically.


"The second edition continues with the same comprehensive format and chapters, with lots of updated information and more developed insights on key theoretical topics. The authors offer many useful analytic tools and methods for engaging in ethical analysis, with numerous real-world examples and cases. Students will continue to find the book very useful." – Richard Green, University of Utah, USA

Praise for the First Edition:

"Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities is superior to other ethics texts I've used -- I was hooked from the opening pages. Bowman and West do an admirable job of both building a coherent picture of ethical public management and providing students with a robust toolkit for making ethical decisions in a variety of settings. The authors thoroughly cover the essential topics and problems in public service ethics, and bring the theories and techniques of ethical management into sharp focus through compelling practical examples. Students are given ample opportunities to apply concepts and lessons from the text through a variety of well-developed exercises; case studies that illustrate real ethical problems confronting public managers bring the book's material to life. With its rich substantive content, current examples, and lively writing, this text is a compelling read and a welcome new development for public service ethics." – Aaron Wachhaus

"Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities is a fabulous book. The overall coverage is terrific, especially in response to new challenges in public service. Bowman and West combine contemporary and timely research, issues, examples, and case studies; yet they also convey an awareness of the enduring ethical dilemmas at the heart of public service. The book has a nice blend of the theory and history of public service ethics, and includes practical strategies that will be very helpful to students as they build their way to an individualized approach to the challenges they face in their careers. A groundbreaking text." – Kate Forhan

"Bowman and West's Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities speaks directly to the ethical issues faced by public sector managers. The book fits amazingly well with the way I teach ethics. The authors make a compelling argument for the study of ethics and effectively integrate their ideas throughout the book. The writing is lively and engaging, and will appeal to students and working professionals because it is not pretentious and pious-as are some works on the subject of ethics. The book's many strengths may be found in its well written exercises and study questions. This text encourages students to become reflective scholars, which fits hand-in-glove with my teaching style." – Ramona Ortega-Liston

"Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities is a pleasure to read, and provides appropriately balanced coverage of the topic. Bowman and West's argument is persuasive, and the logical organization of their text clearly and effectively communicates the way public managers can use their understanding of personal ethics and societal ethics to build organizational ethics. I especially like their discussion of how "macro," "meso," and "micro" levels of ethical analysis relate to each other. Readers will find the book's analytic approach both engaging and illuminating." – Dan Feldman

"Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities will serve as a great resource for my students. Bowman and West's approach to ethics is well developed and balanced, and evokes both reflection and analysis. The text is particularly strong on presenting empirical evidence of ethics practices and how effective or ineffective they are; and for buttressing pro and con positions on ethical issues. Discussions of moral development theory, corruption, and the ethics of elected and appointed officials -- topics that are usually not well developed in other ethics texts -- are especially valuable. The authors also offer many useful analytic tools and methods for engaging in ethical analysis, with numerous real-world examples and cases that effectively illustrate the key points in each chapter." – Richard Green

"This book represents a considerable accomplishment in a field where there are inevitably many loose ends and where new ethical problems increasingly confront public officials. It provides a coherent and integrated relationship between theory and practice, a framework for analysis, and illustrations of the ways in which analytical tools may be employed to deal with ethical dilemmas. It makes a significant new contribution to the study of administrative ethics." – Ian Scott

Table of Contents

Part 1. Foundations of Public Service Ethics

1. Pertinence, Practicality, and Poppycock

2. Perspectives on Ethics: Macro, Meso, Micro

3. Values, Ethics, and Dilemmas

Part 2. Individual-Centered Approaches to Ethics

4. Moral Development Theory

5. Cognitive Ethics Methods: Result and Rule Problem-Solving Approaches

6. Virtue Theory

7. Conscious Deliberation and Subconscious Action: The Dishonesty of Honest People

Part 3. Institutional Approaches to Ethics

8. Organizational Ethics

9. Corruption Control

10. Whistleblowing in Organizations

Part 4. Issues in Public Service Ethics

11. Ethics and Elected Officials

12. Organizational Gaming and Performance Measurement

13. At-Will Employment

14. Open Government Case Study: Pay Disclosure

Part 5. Future History

15. Choices and Strategies for the Years Ahead

About the Authors

James S. Bowman is Professor and Director of the Masters of Public Administration program at the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, Florida State University, USA.

Jonathan P. West is Professor and Chair of Political Science and Director of the graduate Public Administration program at the University of Miami, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Corruption & Misconduct


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