bonded by free agreement and contract and are the official morality of the public sector and the Constitution. The final phase, which is the highest level of moral development, involves an orientation towards decisions of continence and self- elected principles and is highly abstract and ethical. The universal principles of human rights and justice are reflected in this phase. Moral development serves as a guide to all public officials, as they need to act ethically. Ethical behaviour is expected from the community being served. However, public officials may be faced with ethical dilemmas.
- 110 - 3.4 Ethical dilemmas There are three major categories of public sector ethics, namely policy ethics, individual (or personal) ethics and organisational ethics. According to Kernaghan (1996:3-5) policy ethics refer to "the ethical implications of policy decisions and recommendations. Public servants face difficult ethical choices in making or recommending policy …” Individual ethics are personal ethical standards that public officials bring to their recommendations and decisions. Public officials need to be ethical, as they have access to confidential information and their position of power in the policy process. Organisational ethics refer to ethical obligations and duties imposed by the organisation. At times public officials experience conflicting demands from the organisation within government itself. Public officials might even at times experience conflict between personal ethical preferences or the policy choices they would prefer to make on the one hand and the demands of the organisation on the other. The whistle blower, for example, may struggle between knowing of some form of wrongdoing and believing that it should be exposed on the one hand and loyalty to the person or group committing the wrongdoing on the other. According to Baai (1999:371) ethical predicaments arise when there is conflict between competing obligations or between a sense of duty and self-interest. The White Paper on the Transformation of the Public Service 1995 states that a high standard of professional ethics should be promoted and maintained in all spheres of public administration. Kidder (1995:234) suggests that ethical dilemmas are conflicts between right and right, while moral temptations relate to conflicts between wrong and right. Moral temptations are, for example, bribery and improper bidding practices. Ethical dilemmas are issues such as economic growth versus environmental protection, or discipline versus compassion with employees. Such are conflicts between two or more right values and lie at the heart of ethical decision-making. It is therefore
- 111 - imperative that public officials be clear about the content, purpose and basis of their decisions.
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- Summer '16