Professional Ethics And Code Of Conduct In Public Management


The essay is structured with an introduction where it consist of the essay plan, the introduction, the main body and what I had covered in it and finally the conclusion where I had stated some observations and some suggestions.

The body of the essay has been arranged as the following: Each subtitle will include a brief explanation; on public management concept in the shadow of ethics and values, the global reports, beside some examples and case studies. There will be linking between the main point (ethics and values in public management) with some concepts which had been covered through this course.
There titles which have been focused in main body:
1. Values and ethics in public management.
2. Ethical practices and code of conduct in civil services of U.A.E as in federal level.
3. Potential impact of Islamic ethics from work to improve public management.
4. How to bring about more pragmatic reform.

This essay based on readings (see references, page 12), looking on some global organization's indicators like Transparency International and OECD reports which explains how some country's government policies have been changed for better public services. Since the world concerned about not just the service delivery but also the quality of these public services, so that the governments gain the public trust and reaches the global level (OECD).

I have chosen this topic because recently I have noticed through my readings and my research which is my core task in my current job that the world have been shifting from just delivering the public services to gain the citizens trust by satisfying their needs in public services. Also i wanted to gain more knowledge and have large view on the topic so that I can use it in my career field or as a part of my future capstone project for the MPA program.


Ethics: deals with duties and obligations which are value driven (Khan and Ahmad )
' honesty reflected in decisions
' sincerity reflected in being candid to co-workers, boss and subordinates
' steadfastness reflected in self-review of administrative actions

Values: are individual's ideas as to what is right, good or desirable (Robbins )
' Honesty
' Sincerity
' Steadfastness on Faith/Religion

Code of conduct: or Codes of Behavior are designed to anticipate and prevent certain specific types of behavior; e.g. conflict of interest, self-dealing, bribery, and inappropriate actions.

Public management: All the operations or activities of the government, which aims to implement economic policy or to provide social services to the citizens of the state.

Governance: 'devising institutional arrangements, about steering, how to organize and how to set procedures for the running of an organization' (Hughes, p. 125)

Values and Ethics in Public Management.

What's the role of ethics and values in a public servants life?

1. Ethics and values control the behavior of people in a situation. An example might be the case of a civil servant whose cousin has asked him to give him a government contract. In case of ethics and values the civil servant is reminded that it violates expectations for civil servants, which could result in losing his job, and the action moves from helping the family member to going the right thing.

2. Ethics and values focus public servants to do the right things for the right purpose. Ethical behavior should become a habit and effective by repeating it over time. An example now I remember that when I was working in Dubai Customs, in the beginning of my journey with them they had focused on building the ethics and values in the working place. There were always meetings and workshops to highlight the importance of ethics and values not only in work but also in our daily life, which by time it converted to a habit.

3. Ethics and values are just a road map for how to behave in certain ways in the workplace. For example, in case of labor rights, the public servant can signs to close company that may risk the life of labor, where morally he saw that labors lives are more importance waiting the legal process to close the company.

4. Ethics and values work as a professional statement. It gives the public servant the obligation which he should follow them to meet the moral standards. For example, it gives him the frame of what is expected form him in case of delivering the services to the public.

According to OECD (stands for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) report on 'Government at a Glance 2013' the concept Trust means holding a positive perception about the actions of an individual or an organization. Trust in government represents confidence of citizens in the actions of a 'government to do what is right and perceived fair' (Easton, 1965). It depends on the matching between citizens' preferences ' what is right and fair and what is unfair ' and the perceived actual functioning of government (Bouckaert and van de Walle, 2003).
The public governance of trust may be better understood when this concept is broken down into a set of inter-related process components that encapsulate what citizens expect from government. The OECD has proposed the following components or principles:
' Reliability: the ability of governments to minimize uncertainty in the economic, social and political environment of their citizens, and to act in a consistent and predictable manner.
' Responsiveness: the provision of accessible, efficient and citizen-oriented public services that effectively address the needs and expectations of the public.
' Openness and inclusiveness: a systemic, comprehensive approach to institutionalizing a two-way communication with stakeholders, whereby relevant, usable information is provided, and interaction is fostered as a means to improve transparency, accountability and engagement.
' Integrity: the alignment of government and public institutions with broader principles and standards of conduct that contribute to safeguarding the public interest while preventing corruption.
' Fairness: in a procedural sense the consistent treatment of citizens (and businesses) in the policy-making and policy-implementation processes.
As we seen now, the components of the OECD or principles are nothing but the ethics and values which are used in public management. This means that partially the public governance is relay on the ethics and values which influence not just the individual's performance but also organization's performance which would reflected by bringing the services to the citizens efficiently and that what would leads to trust government.

Assessing Ethical Practices and Code of Conduct in the Civil Service of UAE.

The primary purpose of a code of ethics, for any profession, is to establish norms and expectations for practitioners in order to collectively minimize the risk of harm to clients and the general public (Welfel, 2010).
The United Arab Emirates has been highly aware of this fact since the dawn of the union. This has been reflected in the guidance of his highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,UAE President ,and in the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum ,Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai , the federal government strategy emphasizes the importance of the human factor and the vital role it plays in ensuring increasing levels of sustainable development rate, and hence it has developed initiatives that are aimed at refining the skills of human resources so as to ensure sufficient preparedness for this role .
Values that should be respected and reflected in all public servants, and covers a set of ethical principles that guide professional behavior. It is admitted that the content of Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Civil Services in Federal Authority of Human Resource have a impact not only on public servants as a result of wining the trust and respect of their peers, superiors, subordinates, colleagues and the public, but also extend to the federal authority wherein they work, through elevated levels of performance, excellence and qualification to meet the challenges of competing within the federal government system.
According to the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Civil Service for UAE government there are core values such as:
' Excellence: public servants shall use every reasonable opportunity for continued personal growth by improving on their knowledge, skills and competencies.
' Diligence: public servants shall show interest and commitment to the continued pursuit of high standards of public administration.
' Integrity: public servants shall put the interest of governmental human resources before personal interest.
' Honesty: public servants shall be honest and open, and readily make an effort to gain the trust of their superiors and subordinates.
' Neutrality: public servants shall act only in accordance with the facts of the matter before them, and shall serve their superiors and the public in an unbiased and impartial manner, leaving personal thoughts and feelings aside.
' Efficiency: public servants shall be committed to appropriately utilizing the resources available to them within the scope of the nature of their work.
' Leadership: public servants shall assist in the dissemination and promotion of the governmental human resources core values, and shall work on increasing and improving the quality of service provided to the public.
' Transparency: public servants shall be open and clear in all procedures, goals and objectives.
' Fairness and Equality: public servants shall be committed to providing equal opportunities that bring about a safe and stimulating environment to aid peak performance from their subordinates.

There are also obligations on public servants which achieve maximum public service satisfaction and what leads to gain more public trust such as: commitment to serve, commitment to continue performing public duties, commitment to act with courtesy and respect towards superiors, colleagues and the public, professional confidentiality and secrecy, commitment to obey superiors and commitment to neutrality.

According to Transparency International, a global watch on corruption, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 177 countries and territories and UAE was ranked 26th among 177 countries (Transparency International, 2013) which means one rank up from year 2012, beside it is considered as clean country for government services in the Middle East. By linking to the OECD components of trust government (reliability, responsiveness, openness, integrity and fairness) we can see a reflection of the global values and ethics on the UAE code of conduct and values.

Potential Impact of Islamic Ethics Framework to Improve Public Management.

According to Ali (2005): 'The quranic principles and the prophet's prescriptions serve as a guide for Muslims when conducting both their business and their family affairs. The Quran instructs Muslims to persistently pursue whatever work is available whenever it is available .the Quran states ''he ' god ' has also made subservient to you all that is in havens and the earth '' (Quran, 45:13)' therefore the ISLAMIC WORK ETHIC (IWE) is an orientation that has had a tremendous influence on the Islamic people and its organizations .it implies that work is a virtue in light of a person's needs, and is a necessity for establishing equilibrium in one's individual and social life (nasr,1984).it stands for life fulfillment and holds business motives in the highest regard ( ahmed,1976) IWE views work as a means to further self-interest economically, socially and psychologically, to sustain social prestige, to advance societal welfare, and insure faith. The concept has its origin in the Quran and sayings and practice of the prophet Mohammed. The centrality of work and deed in Islamic thinking is succinctly addressed in the Quran (6:132) '' to all are ranks according to their deeds.'' as such it is work and commitment that enable people to realize their goal (Quran 53:39).
Here the some ethics are addressed directly :
' Pursuing legitimate business. Prophet Muhammad instructed followers to work for the benefit of others and society
' Quality of work. The pre-Islam Arabs were transformed from narrow focus on primary tribe into a broad and functional society to link between faith and work
' Reliance on self. Sustaining confidence and self-reliance. Prophet Muhammad said: 'No one eats better food than that which he eats out of the work of his hand'
' Monopoly: Prophet Muhammad said: 'The supplier is blessed, and the monopolist is cursed'
' Deeds and intensions: This is where Islamic work ethics is significantly different from other faiths. Prophet Muhammad said: 'God does not look at your matters and wealth, rather God examines your intentions and actions'
' Transparency: All businesses must be based on moral and ethical foundations. After finding some 'not so good' dates hidden under 'good dates', Prophet Muhammad said: 'he who cheated us is not one of us'
Most of the Islamic Work Ethics are practiced around the world in different forms for example transparency where it's used to measure the levels of public sector corruption by Transparency International which is a global watch on corruption which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 177 countries and territories. Also transparency has been applied and practiced by UAE government where in public services most of the federal ministries has taken the transparency as essential components in serving the public, where any citizen can contact the minister himself directly, one example is the Ministry of Health.

How to Bring About More Pragmatic Reform.

Referring again to the global perspective, there are always a global helpful hands which helps the governments around the world to reform their policies regarding public services which is measured by how much the citizens trust their governments. Of course bringing a new perspective to public governance and enhance the role of the citizens may need the government to be more inclusive, more transparent, more acceptable, more efficient and understanding of the role of the trust which gives it better shape to draw the policies and improve outcomes for all.
Highlighting the global efforts to bring more pragmatic reform, the OECD for MENA (stands for Middle East and North Africa) region has two Initiatives on Governance and Investment for Development which promote wide range reforms to enhance the investment climate, modernize governance structures and operations, strengthen regional and international partnerships, and promote sustainable economic growth throughout the MENA region.
We can see that the OECD has focus in the MENA-OECD Governance Program which will provides a sustainable structure for regional policy dialogue as well as for country specific projects. The projects correspond to MENA governments increasing commitment to pursue public sector reforms in view of unlocking social and economic development and of meeting citizens growing expectations in terms of quality services, inclusive policy making and transparency.

As we can notice that in the diagram it shows that the governance program has tow four key areas (open/clean governments, efficient machinery of government, gender equality, and territorial development) which should be under the values of openness, transparency, participation and trust. This ensures what we have state before (about the values and ethics involved in the public management frameworks).
As the UAE represents as a Muslim society there is no duet that the Islamic implication of ethics and values is reflected not only in case of public management but also in each individual's life. The professional ethics and code of conduct has been transferred in each Muslim's life as principles he should follow to archive his goals either in personal level or professional level. These ethics are a daily terms to deal with, in case of what is right or wrong or in case of being honest.


I think that ethics and values are plying a strong role in public management either direct or indirect way. For example, directly by applying this ethics and values in an organization on all employees ' from the top level to operational level- which map the daily working behavior either with their leaders, bosses, colleagues or public which achieves outcomes in short term reflected by delivering services to the people efficiently, which will lead to gain their trust in government. On other hand, the indirect role of the ethics is applying the right values and ethics in the working place and delivering the services to the people achieves the most important issued which is globally has been declared as a measurement for development of a country such as transparency.
Values and ethics are represents just a reminder for Muslim's society that, to achieve your goals ' personal or professional- you have to use some guidelines like honesty, transparency, doing right things and etc.;


1. Bovaird, T. and Loffler, E. (2009), Public management and governance, London, Routledge.
2. Menzel, D.C. and White, H.L. (eds) (2011). The state of public administration: issues, challenges and opportunities, London: M.E.Sharpe.
3. Ali, A.J. (2005). Islamic perspectives on management and organization, Elgar, Edward Publishing, Inc.
4. Gilman, S. C. (2005). Ethics codes and codes of conduct as tools for promoting an ethical and professional public service: comparative successes and lessons. Washington DC.
5. OECD (2013), Government at a Glance 2013, OECD Publishing.
doi: 10.1787/gov_glance-2013-en
6. Welfel, E. R. (2010). Ethics in counseling and psychotherapy: Standards, research, and emerging issues (4th ed.). Belmont, CA:Brooks/Cole.

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