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The Moral Responsibilities. of Policy Professionals. Professional Ethics. The ethics of: Individual responsibility (i.e., the problems of ‘many hands’) Administrative discretion Policy advising. Professional Ethics. Two main possibilities for reform: Improve individual ethics

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the moral responsibilities

The Moral Responsibilities

of Policy Professionals

professional ethics
Professional Ethics
  • The ethics of:
    • Individual responsibility (i.e., the problems of ‘many hands’)
    • Administrative discretion
    • Policy advising

Mark Carl Rom

professional ethics1
Professional Ethics
  • Two main possibilities for reform:
    • Improve individual ethics
      • Inculcate ethical values through training
    • Improve ethical systems
      • Create standards that support and enforce ethical decisions

Mark Carl Rom

moral responsibility of public officials thompson
Moral Responsibility of Public Officials (Thompson)
  • What is the problem of many hands?
    • Collective responsibility
    • Hierarchical responsibility
  • When do individuals bear responsibility?
    • Your actions or omissions cause the outcome
    • Your actions/omissions are not done through compulsions or ignorance
  • Question: Did McNamara fulfill his collective and hierarchical responsibilities?

Mark Carl Rom

the ethics of discretion warwick
The Ethics of Discretion (Warwick)
  • Question: How should you make decisions given administrative discretion?
    • Public orientation
    • Reflective choice
    • Veracity
    • Procedural respect
    • Restraint on means
  • Question: What is the ‘public good’
  • Question: Did McNamara use administrative discretion wisely?

Mark Carl Rom

ethics of administrative discretion thompson
Ethics of Administrative Discretion (Thompson)
  • Ethics of neutrality
    • Administrators should follow principles of organization, not their own principles?
      • No: Exit, loyalty, voice or resistance
  • Ethics of structure
    • Organization, not administrators, should be responsible for policies?
      • No: Moral culpability of individuals
  • Did McNamara follow the ethics of neutrality and structure?

Mark Carl Rom

the moral responsibility of policy advisors mcpherson
The Moral Responsibility of Policy Advisors (McPherson)
  • What obligations do advisors have?
    • To serve superiors honestly
    • To promote better policies
    • To respect and improve democratic processes
  • Question: Did McNamara fulfill his moral responsibilities as an advisor?

Mark Carl Rom

ethical responsibilities conclusions
Ethical Responsibilities: Conclusions
  • Should we work to improve
    • Individuals?
    • Systems?
    • Both? If so, which one deserves our highest priority?
  • Note…ethical perfection is not possible…but progress towards it is.

Mark Carl Rom