Public Administration – UPSC Ethics

With suitable examples explain how social influence can affect ethics in public administration. (200 Words)

Social influence is perhaps the single largest cause for unethical behavior in public administration, it means that a person in public sphere takes decision with his social considerations. It has both Internal and external components;-
  1. Internal consideration:- These factors are internal to a human and taken by a person himself due to his social up bringing for e.g. an officer belonging to Scheduled caste could have a sympathetic attitude towards people of his community which could lead to bias in his decision making.
  2. External consideration;- It is mainly a result of peer pressure and political demands for e.g. a political party and power favoring people from his own community in recruitment and promotions. Similarly Wife of an IAS officer demanding jewelry leads to unethical conducts.
Hence it is clear that social influences greatly affect the ethical conduct in public administration and one needs to be strong willed and impartial in order to overcome them and take decisions that are just and for the maximum benefits of society.
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.” ― Aristotle.
Explain the meaning and significance of this statement, especially in the context of public administration. (150 Words)
The above statement reflects that the root causes of negative external manifestations of acts or thoughts of humans are his endless desires. There is no end to desires, and one desire leads to other. Thus, while an external enemy is finite and can be defeated, the real challenge is in defeating our internal enemy of desires which is endless and infinite.
Even in Indian context, Buddhism also argues desires as the root cause of all evils. Thus, Buddhism advocates elimination of desires for achieving happiness.
Even, Gandhiji also emphasized on the virtue of self-control for achieving happiness. His famous quote – “While there is enough for everyone’s need, there is not enough for even one person’s greed” reflects the role of self-control for peace and sustainability.
Public administrators are the guardians of public interest. However, as of today they have come to be characterized by self- aggrandizement, self-promotion, and self-interest etc., a manifestation of inability to control internal desires. This had led to corruption, crony capitalism, nepotism and favouritism in public affairs. Self-interest has replaced public interest.
Thus, the need of the hour is to promote the principles of self-control among public administrators. It must be remembered that administrators are not only public servants but also expected to be model citizens.
A self-controlled public administrator will not only lead to an efficient, public-oriented administration but also sustainable society.



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