Ethics, values and conflicts of interest


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Ethics, values and conflicts of interest : 

Ethics, values and conflicts of interest

Definitions : 

Definitions Values Values are the rules by which we make decisions about right and wrong, should and shouldn't, good and bad. They also tell us which are more or less important, which is useful when we have to trade off meeting one value over another. defines values as: beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something); "he has very conservatives values" Morals Morals are far more about good and bad than other values. We thus judge others more strongly on morals than values. A person can be described as immoral, yet there is no word for them not following values. defines morals as: motivation based on ideas of right and wrong

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Ethics: You can have professional ethics, but you seldom hear about professional morals. Ethics tend to be codified into a formal system or set of rules which are explicitly adopted by a group of people. Thus you have medical ethics. Ethics are thus internally defined and adopted, whilst morals tend to be externally imposed on other people. If you accuse someone of being unethical, it is equivalent of calling them unprofessional and may well be taken as a significant insult and perceived more personally than if you called them immoral (which of course they may also not like). defines ethics as: A theory or a system of moral values: “An ethic of service is at war with a craving for gain" The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession.

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Values determine what is right and what is wrong, and doing what is right or wrong is what we mean by ethics. To behave ethically is to behave in a manner consistent with what is right or moral.

Types of ethics : 

Types of ethics Ethics of principled conviction asserts that intent is the most important factor. If you have good principles, then you will act ethically. Ethics of responsibility challenges this, saying that you must understand the consequences of your decisions and actions and answer to these, not just your high-minded principles. The medical maxim 'do no harm', for example, is based in the outcome-oriented ethics of responsibility.

The foundation of our values : 

The foundation of our values Pre-conventional period: values determines by parents and siblings Conventional period: values defined by siblings, groups, friends and immediate environment Post-conventional values: values determined our awareness of what is fair to all. This is founded on the development brought by knowledge and exposure Values can be learned.


WILLBERN'S LEVEL OF PUBLIC MORALITY York Willbern, in an article entitled "Types and Levels of Public Morality," argues for six types or levels of morality (or ethics) for public officials. Ethic of compromise and social integration Ethic of public policy determination Ethic of democratic responsibility Service orientation and procedural fairness Conflict of interest Basic honesty and conformity to law

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BASIC HONESTY AND CONFORMITY TO LAW. "The public servant is morally bound, just as are other persons, to tell the truth, to keep promises, to respect the person and the property of others, and to abide by the requirements of the law" (Willbern). CONFLICT OF INTEREST. This relates to public officials, because it deals with the conflict between advancing the public interest, which a public official is charged to do, and advancing one's self-interest. SERVICE ORIENTATION AND PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS. Procedural safeguards are designed to prevent that abuse. The moral obligation of public servants is to follow established procedures, and not to use their power to circumvent those procedures for their own convenience or benefit. THE ETHIC OF DEMOCRATIC RESPONSIBILITY. Public officials must carry out the will of the people and also have the responsibility to make moral choices consistent with their own values, and that may be in conflict with what they perceive to be the will of the people. Willbern contends that the public official acts according to his or her own judgment, rationalizing that it would be the will of the people if they were well enough informed on the issue.

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THE ETHIC OF PUBLIC POLICY DETERMINATION. The responsibility is to make moral policies; the difficulty is in determining how moral a policy is. For example, many public policies deal with the distribution of limited resources. Is it right or wrong to slash funding for one program, or to increase funding for another? Equity and fairness are important considerations, but not always easy to discern. What is the difference between equality and equity? THE ETHIC OF COMPROMISE AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION. It deals with the necessity for compromise in a society. A society with irreconcilable differences on fundamental issues will be torn apart. Hence, it becomes a moral obligation of public officials to engage in give and take, working toward compromise in the policies they develop. Willbern contends that compromise, rather than standing on principle, is moral, because without compromise there will be discord and conflict, and disintegration rather than integration of the society.


CAUSES OF UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR Individual Complexity of strategic issues obscures ethics Competition for scarce resources/ power/position Conflicting loyalties Group Groupthink Presence of ideology Negative organizational response to dissent

Note : 

Note An organization with good ethical employees hired employees with good ethical values but one without good ones hired wrongly.

Attributes for ethical decisions : 

Attributes for ethical decisions There are three qualities individuals must possess to make ethical decisions: the ability to recognize ethical issues and to reason through the ethical consequences of decisions. The ability to see second and third order effects, one of the elements of strategic thinking, is very important. The second is the ability to look at alternative points of view, deciding what is right in a particular set of circumstances. This is similar to the ability to reframe. the ability to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty; making a decision on the best information available.

Ethical Values : 

Ethical Values Honesty. Being truthful, straightforward, and candid are aspects of honesty. Truthfulness is required. Deceptions are usually easily uncovered. Lies erode credibility and undermine public confidence. Straightforwardness adds frankness to truthfulness and is usually necessary to promote public confidence and to ensure effective, efficient conduct of operations. Truths presented in such a way as to lead recipients to confusion, misinterpretation, or inaccurate conclusions are not productive. Candor is the forthright offering of unrequested information. It is necessary according to the gravity of the situation and the nature of the relationships. Candor is required when a reasonable person would feel betrayed if the information were withheld. Integrity. Being faithful to one’s convictions is part of integrity. Following principles, acting with honor, maintaining independent judgment, and performing duties with impartiality help to maintain integrity and avoid conflicts of interest and hypocrisy.

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Loyalty. Fidelity, faithfulness, allegiance, and devotion are all synonyms for loyalty. Loyalty is the bond that holds the nation and the Federal Government together and the balm against dissension and conflict. It is not blind obedience or unquestioning acceptance of the status quo. Loyalty requires careful balancing among various interests, values, and institutions in the interest of harmony and cohesion. Accountability. employees are required to accept responsibility for their decisions and the resulting consequences. This includes avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. Accountability promotes careful, well-thought-out decisionmaking and limits thoughtless action. Fairness. Open-mindedness and impartiality are important aspects of fairness. Employees must be committed to justice in the performance of their official duties. Decisions must not be arbitrary, capricious, or biased. Individuals must be treated equally and with tolerance. Caring. Compassion is an essential element of good government. Courtesy and kindness, both to those we serve and to those we work with, help to ensure individuals are not treated solely as a means to an end.

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Respect. To treat people with dignity, to honor privacy, and to allow self-determination are critical in a government of diverse people. Lack of respect leads to a breakdown of loyalty and honesty within a government and brings chaos to the international community. Promisekeeping. No government can function for long if its commitments are not kept. DoD employees are obligated to keep their promises in order to promote trust and cooperation. Because of the importance of promisekeeping, DoD employees must only make commitments within their authority. Responsible Citizenship. It is the civic duty of every citizen, and especially DoD employees, to exercise discretion. Public servants are expected to engage (employ) personal judgment in the performance of official duties within the limits of their authority so that the will of the people is respected according to democratic principles. Justice must be pursued and injustice must be challenged through accepted means. Pursuit of Excellence. In public service, competence is only the starting point. employees are expected to set an example of superior diligence and commitment. They are expected to be all they can be and to strive beyond mediocrity.

Ethics and Conflict of Interest Prohibitions : 

Ethics and Conflict of Interest Prohibitions Bribery and Graft. All employees are directly or indirectly prohibited from giving, offering, promising, demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting, or agreeing to receive anything of value to influence any official act. Compensation from Other Sources. All employees are prohibited from receiving pay or allowance or supplements of pay or benefits from any source other than the United States for the performance of official service or duties. Additional Pay or Allowance. employees may not receive additional pay or allowance for disbursement of public money or for the performance of any other service or duty unless specifically authorized by law. Commercial Dealings Involving Employees. On or off duty, an employee shall not knowingly solicit or make solicited sales to personnel who are junior in rank, grade, or position, or to the family members of such personnel. In the absence of coercion or intimidation.

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Several related prohibitions in this area include: Holding conflicting financial interests. Engaging in off-duty employment or outside activities that detract from readiness or pose a security risk, as determined by the member’s commander or supervisor. Engaging in outside employment or activities that conflict with official duties. Receiving honoraria for performing official duties or for speaking, teaching, or writing that relates to one’s official duties. Misusing an official position, such as improper endorsements or improper use of nonpublic information.


ETHICAL RESPONSES Chaloupka, in "Ethical Responses: How to Influence One's Organization," asserts that organization members have only three choices when confronted with unethical behavior: exit, voice, or loyalty. Exit is the most direct response: if you can't live with behavior that does not meet your own ethical standards, leave. However, exit is not only a direct response, it is a final one, so the personal and organizational consequences must be considered. The most important personal consequences are the costs. Where do you go from there? What other options are available? How marketable are you? Can you afford the financial loss? Voice. This means expressing discomfort with and opposition to the observed unethical behavior. To whom do you voice your objections? The obvious choice is your supervisor. But what if your supervisor condones the unethical behavior, or worse, is its source? You may be jeopardizing your position, and maybe your membership in the organization. A second choice is to go to senior management. Exit and voice may be combined. Loyalty. The final response to unethical behavior in an organization is loyalty. This is the alternative to exit. Instead of leaving, the individual remains and tries to change the organization from within. Loyalty thus discourages or delays exit. Loyalty also may discourage public voice, since being loyal to the organization means trying to solve problems from within without causing public embarrassment or damage. Chaloupka maintains that both exit and voice must exist for continued organizational effectiveness. Additionally, an organization cannot maintain high ethical standards without mechanisms for eliminating unethical behavior.

Influences on ethical behavior : 

Influences on ethical behavior Prior development of individual as ethical person. The organization as an ethical environment. Procedures that encourage ethical behavior.

Ethical leadership : 

Ethical leadership Choose your leadership value Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style Choose to lead. Be the person others choose to follow. Provide vision for the future. Provide inspiration. Make other people feel important and appreciated. Live your values. Behave ethically. (Current article - you are here.) Set the pace through your expectations and example. Establish an environment of continuous improvement. Provide opportunities for people to grow, both personally and professionally. Care and act with compassion.


BUILDING AN ETHICAL CLIMATE First are the actions of the strategic leadership and the way they deal with ethical issues. The pattern of top leaders' behavior determines organizational values. A second step is to Make explicit ethics policies. Ethical codes are one common example. Increase awareness of how to apply those ethical codes. Training on how to deal with situations with an ethical dimension, and how to anticipate situations that involve ethical choices, can go a long way toward ethical institutional practices. Increase the salience of ethics is to expand the information system to focus on areas where ethics may come into play. The information system should also support ethical behavior, and allow the strategic leader to know when or where there are potential ethical breaches so that corrective action can be taken.

Establish the moral code : 

Establish the moral code Establishing moral principles means determining the core values which should guide the organization. O'Brien suggests four for consideration: localness, merit, openness, and leanness. Localness: means adopting a philosophy of pushing power down to the lowest level possible, and encouraging initiative and autonomy. Merit means directing actions toward the overall goals of the organization, and what is best for all. Openness means being forthright and honest in all dealings. Leanness means efficient use of resources and economies when possible.

Questions : 

Questions ?

Conclusion : 

Conclusion Thank you

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