chapter  18
8 Pages

Ethical Foundations

WithStahl O. Glenn

Problems of ethical attitudes and behavior in a public service are not easily divorced from the society and culture in which the bureaucracy exists. The drive for personal gain has been given too much credit for American economic success and has, in addition, handicapped objective consideration of ethical issues in both public and private sectors. Profit in the form of monetary reward is not the only fuel that energizes the engines of modem life. Sensitivity to the public interest is the most fundamental ethical obligation of the public official and the one most often lacking among novices or venal men and women, especially those appointed for partisan reasons to key posts. The resentment which public officials sometimes show when subjected to public criticism may be explained in part by their awareness of the fact that some of their critics would be even more vulnerable to criticism if the same standards were applied.