Welcome to Ethical Foundations for Public Service!

Ethical Foundations for Public Service
Part 1 : Philosophy and Principles

Two Elements of Reasonable Reasoning for Difficult Circumstances

As a manager, you'll likely run into situations that are particularly challenging and that will test your ability to stay level-headed, maintain a degree of neutrality, and engage in fact finding as you investigate the circumstances. Your ability to apply these behaviors will effect how you are perceived as a supervisor. Being able to remain respectful and thoughtful without reacting, as well as a willingness to ask for help or call on resources to assist, will positively direct the circumstances.

Rationality and respect are two important behavioral skills to employ while working through ethical dilemmas.

Element #1-- Rationality

  • Thoughtful, orderly information processing
  • Conscientious design of alternatives
  • Mindful consideration or consequences
  • Identification of practical constraints
  • Goal and purpose clarity
  • Regard for implementation details
  • Accountable feedback mechanisms

Element #2-- Respect

  • Identification of stakeholders
  • Awareness of divergent points of view
  • Empower others with knowledge and information
  • Welcome inquiry and informed criticism
  • Search for shared values
  • Collaborate on solutions
  • Confront others assertively

Please refer to your handbook if you would like to work through this exercise on paper.

Thinking it Through...What Would YOU Do?

A unit head has ignored the calls of help from various employees. Two of the supervisors involved are abrasive and react strongly and are known to raise their voice when confronted with the circumstances. The third supervisor has simply said, “I’m done dealing with this issue – grow up!” Employees describe the environment as toxic and unhealthy. Everyone is on edge. People are leaving.

Would you want to accept a position as a new employee under these conditions?

How do the skills of rationality and respect come into play for the unit head?