The purpose of this course is to familiarize graduate
students with the tradition of moral philosophy and the use of moral philosophy
in the study of ethical behavior in public service. This course will be a
survey of contemporary perspectives on ethics and ethical behavior in
At the end of the semester, students are expected to be conversant in the
major ideas of moral theories and should be able to point to key differences in
solutions to canonical moral problems within the theoretical frameworks
course is designed to familiarize students with the ethical nature and dilemmas
of public administration in Philippine society and in other countries as well.
The most common approach to ethics in government focuses on avoiding
impropriety. This is generally a negative and technical dimension stressing
ethical boundaries defined by law. Typical examples include conflict of
interest, misuse of public resources for private ends, whistleblowing, and
resignation in protest. Though these matters are at times important, they arise
infrequently relative to the dilemmas faced in day-to-day decision making, and
seldom have implications beyond the career of the affected administrator.
course takes a very different approach. It focuses on ethical dilemmas and
concerns arising from the daily exercise of legitimate discretionary power. We
will, therefore, address positive and negative uses of administrative discretion,
and discuss questions such as: "How do I make `right' or `wise'
decisions?" "What is a `wise' decision?" "To what and to
whom do my obligations extend?" "Should/do I have sufficient
authority to make a decision?" "What values do I serve, and what are
their priorities?" “When should I engage in compromise, and when
not?" “Can I legitimately deceive others in the public interest?"
"What role should character and status play in public life?" “Can one
meaningfully distinguish between public and private ethics?” Most of these
questions cannot be answered definitively, but public administrators must still
ponder them if they are to perform their duties effectively and appropriately.
specifically, this course will address:
The nature and
types of ethical obligation involved in Philippine public administration;
integration and application of various types of moral judgment in
of Philippine constitutional and political theory to the ethical obligations
and loyalties of public administrators;
and ethical relation of administrative politics to electoral, judicial, and
Typical moral dilemmas in public-sector decision
making. Students will read a variety of texts, articles, and cases that can help them learn about and
apply various types of moral reasoning to specific administrative situations.
principal goals of this course are to:
refine their reflective capacity concerning decisions in the public sector;
a sense of the types of character and excellence that are desired of them as professional public administrators; and
familiar with the literature on ethics in the field of Public Administration.
Upon completion of the course, students should be
· Explain all the important core theories and concepts
of ethics in public administration learnt in the course;
· Analyze and understand different aspects and problems of real-world practices based
on the theories and concepts learnt;
· Realize the advantages and disadvantages of the
learnt theories and concepts based on real-world practices;
· Make good recommendations on how to improve
real-world public administration problems with regards to ethics; and
· Acquire necessary skills to be a good public
manager, especially analytical skills and communication skills (writing,
discussing, presenting, and arguing).
Aside from learning the theories and concepts this
course aims to help students develop necessary analytical and communication
skills to be a good public manager. Through individual assignments, students
will practice analytical and writing skills, including how to write clear
concise memos and reflection pieces. And through team exercises, students will
learn the art of team work, how to lead discussions, and how to brainstorm.
Students will also learn how to deliver effective presentations, by practicing
in class. Needless to say, throughout the entire course students will be challenged
to think about public management in many perspectives. Students will be asked
on the spot for their opinions and reasons for their arguments. Thus by the end
of the course students would have the skills to critically think, make logical
arguments, and provide solutions to problems. It is crucial to emphasize that
the course does not aim to provide off-the-shelf solutions to problems, but
rather it aims to produce public managers that can ‘think’ and make good
decisions on their own.