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THE FIVE CORE VALUES OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Michael DeRosiaMarch 9, 2010


Core values is a broad phrase to describe the standards by which we
characterize a person, profession, or organization. Throughout the course of
brainstorming and analyzing my professional experience, I have settled on a
set of five values that are most important in public administration. In order to
achieve success at a personal and organizational level in the public sector,
these values must be practiced on a daily basis.
To practice transparency in public administration is to ensure citizens
the availability of information which is deemed public. This should be an
organizational goal, and is to be taken into account when conducting all
public business regardless of ones job title. If the goal of an organization is
to serve the citizens to the best of their ability, then avoiding or failing to
achieve transparency would cause significant damage to the relationship
between them and the people they are aiming to serve.
Accountability is to adhere to a standard of professionalism in the
workplace. Additionally, it means to understand that our professional
activities are being funded by the citizens of this country. As such, public
employees are held responsible by citizens for upholding the mission of their
organization. Accountability is an important aspect of the functionality of any
organization public or private. Essentially, it reminds individuals that while
they are employed by a professional organization they will be held liable for
their actions.
Each public administrator is asked to adhere to a code of ethics. In
order to function properly as an organization, the administrator must be held
to a high degree of ethical standards. Specifically, ethics calls for
administrators to display integrity, and be mindful of laws and regulations.
Furthermore, this must be accomplished in order to successfully practice and
promote transparency of government. Unfortunately, the importance of
ethics in government is usually shown when public officials violate laws or
regulations. Because of these instances, we are constantly reminded of the
importance of ethics in public administration.
Professionalism is an important core value when considering the
prestigious nature of our positions in the field of public administration. In
essence, administrators are hired to be visionaries, in addition to being
stewards of public funds and information. To be professional is to understand
the importance of our jobs in the public sector, to have respect for ourselves
and the organizations that we represent, and to act accordingly. Each
individual is to deal with issues, whether positive or negative, in a mild and
straightforward manner whenever possible. Without professionalism in public
administration, the overall perception of our work and our organizations
would undoubtedly falter.
Finally, there are few organizations in the public sector that are able to
flourish without proper leadership. Practicing leadership is setting an
example of professionalism for staff members and possessing the motivation

to achieve organizational goals. In doing so, leaders must have the ability to
recognize the talents of individuals and allow those talents to be utilized for
the betterment of the organization. Admittedly, leadership can become a
balancing act between becoming an active team member and taking charge
of overall operations. As a leader, it is of utmost importance to stay
connected with staff members, but to act in a managerial role when called
upon.
In summary, I have chosen five values that I believe to be relevant in
the public sector. These values are also a focal point when reflecting on the
successes of public organizations in the past. Upon completing my analysis I
have determined that the five most important core values of public
administration are transparency, accountability, ethics, professionalism, and
leadership.

Public Administration: The 4 Core Values


Public administrators must conduct themselves in a manner that shows the
public that they are trustworthy. This means adhering to core values for the
safety and good of the public. There are four core values established by
the NASPAA: professional, democratic, ethical, and human. Take a closer look
at what each of these public service values entails. They are all important if
you wish to pursue a public administration degree.
Professionalism
Being a public administrator comes with a degree of prestige because of the
public spotlight. Therefore, public administrators must always act
professionally. Anything they do can damage their reputation. This is the first
core value and means dressing appropriately and acting fairly to the public.
Professional values incorporate character traits such as responsibility,
dependability, efficiency, competence, objectivity, and confidence

Ethics After professional values comes ethical values. Public administrators


must act with integrity in all of their doings to earn public trust. Integrity
means always being honest and fair, whether it is with neighbors, friends, or
businesses. Everything a public administrator does and says can be looked
upon by the public. Many public administrators have been caught deceiving
the public or acting unethically, and it often ruins their careers. Public
administrators must always show integrity and be mindful of laws and
regulations. They must not use their power in the wrong way. If you want to
become a public administrator, you must be willing to be under constant
scrutiny by the public.

Accountability
Public administrators are employed by the public and held accountable for
their words and actions. Democratic values involve accountability and
dependability. Essentially, this means being professional in all ways and
doing what you say youre going to do. Without accountability, public
trust cannot be established. Additionally, public administrators need to
ensure the public has access to information by being as transparent as
possible. It is the goal of public administrators to serve the public, not keep
secrets from them. All decisions must be diplomatic and with the publics
best interest in mind.

Objectivity
Objectivity is the last public administration core value. It entails respect,
equality, and fairness. It doesnt matter whether someone has money or not,
they must be treated fairly. Discrimination plagues the world, and it is a
public administrators job to make sure that the laws created do not infringe
on any persons rights. Everyone should be treated equally and with respect.
It is never ok for a public administrator to belittle anyone based on political,
cultural, or religious beliefs because that is not acting professionally. It is ok
to have opinions, but this core public administration value means that
everyone should be treated fairly regardless of socioeconomic status.
Public service values are what shape a good public administrator. However,
these core values are more than just beliefs and principles; they are
motivations that incite actions. Public administrators must adhere to all the
core values to earn public trust. You must learn them, too, if you want to be a
public administrator.

Ethics is an attempt to guide human conduct and it is also an attempt to help


man in leading good life by applying moral principles. Ethics refers to well
based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do,
usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific
virtues. Ethics is related to issues of propriety, rightness and wrongness.
What is right is ethical and what is wrong is unethical. Value is an important
conception in ethical discussion. Values relate to the norms of a culture, but
they are more global and abstract than norms. In certain cultures norms
reflect the values of respect and support of friends and family. Different
cultures reflect different values.