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PADM505 - Ethics in Government

Course Details

Course Code: PADM505 Course ID: 4683 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course addresses the moral versus legal aspects of public administration. Ethical controversies and real and hypothetical solutions to the issues will be addressed through the components of individual attributes, organizational structure, organizational culture and societal expectations. The administrator’s role in ethical decision-making will be examined along with external and internal controls. The course will offer studies in leading and building organizations of integrity and diversity.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/30/20 - 09/04/20 09/07/20 - 11/01/20 Summer 2020 Session D 8 Week session
04/27/20 - 10/02/20 10/05/20 - 11/29/20 Fall 2020 Session B 8 Week session
05/25/20 - 10/30/20 11/02/20 - 12/27/20 Fall 2020 Session I 8 Week session
06/29/20 - 12/04/20 12/07/20 - 01/31/21 Fall 2020 Session D 8 Week session
07/27/20 - 01/01/21 01/04/21 - 02/28/21 Winter 2021 Session B 8 Week session
09/28/20 - 02/26/21 03/01/21 - 04/25/21 Winter 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

1. Apply a public perspective to ethical decision-making.

2. Evaluate whether a given example is a moral or legal ethical issue.

3. Evaluate the professional standards and ethical issues involved in public governance.

4. Argue the appropriate ethical concepts that should be applied to a case study.

5. Model ethical decision-making skills into local, state and federal government scenarios.

6. Evaluate the ethics code of a public program.

7. Design an ethics code for a hypothetical division of public administration.

8. Appraise the current trends in governmental ethics and ethical codes/regulations to include distribution methods and enforcement.

Questions and topics posed in the Forums are designed to promote thought and insight. Students must provide a critical review of the questions, topics and issues posed and substantively reply to the contributions of at least three peers. Individual postings should include a full discussion of the content of the question posed and explain how it relates to the concepts in the weekly text readings and other resources. The postings should be analytic in nature and include comparisons/contrasts, and examples that can bolster your point. The Forum is for your benefit and it is important to respond to the discussion topic and to engage others in a running dialogue.

Your initial post should be made by Thursday each week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. Note that at least one response to your classmates must be made before Sunday. If you make all of your responsive posts on Sunday, you will not earn full points for timeliness.

This can be accomplished by

· Validating with additional evidence from the literature.

· Posing a thoughtful question with commentary which generates further discussion.

· Providing an alternative point-of-view, with evidence and examples.

· Offering additional insight into how the concept might be understood, with evidence provided with real world examples.

You should be active in the classroom throughout the week and actively engaged in the back-and-forth discussion between your colleagues and the professor.

The forum grading rubric can be found in gradebook by clicking on the forum entry.

NameGrade %
Forums 30.00 %
Forum 1 0.37 %
Forum 1.2 3.70 %
Forum 2 3.70 %
Forum 3 3.70 %
Forum 4 3.70 %
Forum 5 3.70 %
Forum 6 3.70 %
Forum 7 3.70 %
Forum 8 3.70 %
Ethics Resources 10.00 %
Ethics Resource Exploration Week 1 10.00 %
CITI Assignment 30.00 %
Week 2 - CITI Assignment 30.00 %
Case Study 15.00 %
Case Study - Week 4 15.00 %
Code of Ethics 15.00 %
Ethics Code Week 7 15.00 %

These readings are conveniently available in the course lessons or you can find them by copying the title and pasting it into the search box after you log into the APUS library site. They should all be available in full text versions.

Your readings follow by week:

Week One Ethical Leadership

Asencio, H., & Mujkic, E. (2016). leadership behaviors and trust in leaders: Evidence from the u.s. federal government. Public Administration Quarterly, 40(1), 156 -179.

Perego, M. (2014). CREATING ETHICAL DILEMMAS FOR THE STAFF. PM.Public Management, 96(3), 2-3. Retrieved from

Dubnick, M. J., & Justice, J. B. (2014). Barnard's regret: Zones of accountability and the limits of authority. Public Integrity, 16(2), 141-158. doi:10.2753/PIN1099-9922160202

Hassan, S. (2015). The importance of ethical leadership and personal control in promoting improvement-centered voice among government employees. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 25(3), 697-719. doi:10.1093/jopart/muu055

Weinberg, H. (2014). Commentary: Ethical leadership in public service: A solid foundation for good government. Public Administration Review, 74(3), 344-345. doi:10.1111/puar.12226

Washington, R. R., Sutton, C. D., & William I Sauser Jr. (2014). How distinct is servant leadership theory? empirical comparisons with competing theories. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 11(1), 11- 25.

Gutierrez-Wirsching, S., Mayfield, J., Mayfield, M., & Wang, W. (2015). Motivating language as a mediator between servant leadership and employee outcomes. Management Research Review, 38(12), 1234 - 1250.

Hassan, S., Wright, B. E., & Yukl, G. (2014). Does ethical leadership matter in government? effects on organizational commitment, absenteeism, and willingness to report ethical problems. Public Administration Review, 74(3), 333-343. doi:10.1111/puar.12216

Week Two Federal Ethics

Ruder, A. I. (2015). Agency design, the mass media, and the blame for agency scandals. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 45(3), 514-539. doi:10.1111/psq.12208

Saint-Martin, D. (2014). Gradual institutional change in congressional ethics: Endogenous pressures toward third-party enforcement. Studies in American Political Development, 28(2), 161-174. doi:

Straus, J. R. (2017). Office of Congressional Ethics: History, Authority, and Procedures. Congressional Research Service: Report

Straus, J. R. (2015). Enforcement of Congressional Rules of Conduct: A Historical Review. Congressional Research Service: Report

Week Three State Ethics

Androphy, B. A. (2015). Commentary: Understanding the limited authority of ethics commissions. Public Administration Review, 75(1), 111-112. doi:10.1111/puar.12316

Rauh, J. (2015). Predicting political influence on state ethics commissions: Of course we are Ethical—Nudge nudge, wink wink. Public Administration Review, 75(1), 98-110. doi:10.1111/puar.12290

Salkin, P. E. (2014). Recent developments in land use ethics. The Urban Lawyer, 46(4), 815-834. Retrieved from

Salkin, P. E., & Stakey, D. (2015). Further developments in land use ethics. The Urban Lawyer, 47(4), 739.

Potter, M. R. (2016). Reconciling ethical asymmetry in agency oversight: Striving for eudaimonia among legislative staff in west virginia. Global Virtue Ethics Review, 7(2), 137 -165.

Week Four Local Ethics

Jurkiewicz, C.L. (2016, July). Flint, Michigan. Public Integrity. pp. 233-236. doi:10.1080/10999922.2016.1152760.

Byrne, T. P. (2014). Ethical dilemmas in a california city: Lessons in leadership, transparency, and accountability. California Journal of Politics and Policy, 6(4), 577-598. doi:10.1515/cjpp-2013-0018

Wagner, J. (2016). Hogsett's ethics reforms should be just first step. Indianapolis Business Journal, 37(16), 7.

Siewert, W., & Udani, A. (2016). Missouri municipal ethics survey: Do ethics measures work at the municipal level? Public Integrity, 18(3), 269-289. doi:10.1080/10999922.2016.1139523

Week Five Organizational Ethics

Hoekstra, A., Talsma, J., & Kaptein, M. (2016). Integrity Management as Interorganizational Activity: Exploring Integrity Partnerships That Keep the Wheel in Motion. Public Integrity, 18(2), 167-184. doi:10.1080/10999922.2015.1073502

Gooden, S. T. (2015). PAR's social equity footprint. Public Administration Review, 75(3), 372.

Saiger, A. (2016). Agencies' obligation to interpret the statute. Vanderbilt Law Review, 69(5), 1231 - 1294.

Stazyk, E. C., & Davis, R. S. (2015). taking the ‘high road’: Does public service motivation alter ethical decision making processes? Public Administration, 93(3), 627-645. doi:10.1111/padm.12158

Allen, C. D. (2015). Ethics and army leadership: Climate matters. Parameters, 45(1), 69 - 83.

Week Six Ethical Decision-Making

Woodhouse, K. (2016). strengthening your moral compass. PM. Public Management, 98(7), 22-25.

Perego, M. (2016). Making ethical choices: Is there an app for that? Public Management, 98(11), 2-3.

Myers, N. (2016). Democracy, rights, community: Examining ethical frameworks for federal public health emergency response. Public Integrity, 18(2), 201-226. doi:10.1080/10999922.2015.1111745

Ljungholm, D. P. (2015). ethical values in the public sector. Review of Contemporary Philosophy, 14, 57 -62.

Gladstone, J. (2013). Guiding Ethical Decision Making in a Crisis. Public Relations Strategist, 19(4), 24-25.

Menard, M. (2013). Decision Making. Personal Excellence Essentials, 18(2), 4.

Stazyk, E. C., & Davis, R. S. (2015). Taking the 'high road': does public service motivation alter ethical decision making processes?. Public Administration, 93(3), 627-645. doi:10.1111/padm.12158

Stout, M., & Love, J. (2013). Ethical choice making. Public Administration Quarterly, 37(2), 278-294. Retrieved from

6, P. (2014). Explaining decision-making in government: the neo-durkheimian institutional framework. Public Administration, 92(1), 87-103. doi:10.1111/padm.12039

Raile, E. D. (2013). Building Ethical Capital: Perceptions of Ethical Climate in the Public Sector. Public Administration Review, 73(2), 253-262. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2012.02649.x

Thiel, C. E., Bagdasarov, Z., Harkrider, L., Johnson, J. F., & Mumford, M. D. (2012). Leader ethical decision-making in organizations: Strategies for sensemaking. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(1), 49-64. doi:

Pohling, R., Bzdok, D., Eigenstetter, M., Stumpf, S., & Strobel, A. (2016). What is ethical competence? the role of empathy, personal values, and the five-factor model of personality in ethical decision-making. Journal of Business Ethics, 137(3), 449-474. doi:

Ljungholm, D. P. (2015). Ethical values in the public sector. Review of Contemporary Philosophy, 14, 57-62. Retrieved from

Smith, R. (2015). Electronic Citizen Participation in Local Government Decision Making; Applications for Public Budgeting. Proceedings Of The European Conference On E-Government, 28.

Week Seven Ethics Codes

Svara, J. H. (2014). Who are the keepers of the code? articulating and upholding ethical standards in the field of public administration. Public Administration Review, 74(5), 561-569. doi:10.1111/puar.12230

Perego, M. (2015). myths about the icma code of ethics. PM. Public Management, 97(1), 2 - 3.

Benavides, A. D., & Dicke, L. A. (2016). Upholding ethical conduct in public professional organizations: An assessment of ICMA's code of ethics. Global Virtue Ethics Review, 7(2), 34 - 72.

American society for public administration code of ethics. (2016). Public Administration Review, 76(1), 6-6. doi:10.1111/puar.12512

Grant, J. M. (2014). Commentary: Calling the question: The need for an ASPA code of ethics. Public Administration Review, 74(5), 569-570. doi:10.1111/puar.12259

Gilman, S. C. (2014). Commentary: Codes, damn codes, and laws: Continuing controversies in public administration ethics. Public Administration Review, 74(5), 571-572.

Week Eight Ethics of Dissent

Phillips, C. J. C., & Petherick, J. C. (2015). The ethics of a co-regulatory model for farm animal welfare research. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 28(1), 127-142. doi:10.1007/s10806-014-9524-9

Dey, P., & Steyaert, C. (2016; 2014). Rethinking the space of ethics in social entrepreneurship: Power, subjectivity, and practices of freedom. Journal of Business Ethics, 133(4), 627-641. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2450-y

Dahan, N. M., Doh, J. P., & Raelin, J. D. (2015). Pivoting the role of government in the business and society interface: A stakeholder perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 131(3), 665-680. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2297-2

Newswander, C. B. (2015). Guerrilla statesmanship: Constitutionalizing an ethic of dissent. Public Administration Review, 75(1), 126-134. doi:10.1111/puar.12293

Snider, D. M. (2017). Dissent, resignation, and the moral agency of senior military professionals. Armed Forces & Society, 43(1), 5-16. doi:10.1177/0095327X16657322

Mampuys, R., & Brom, F. W. A. (2015). Ethics of dissent: A plea for restraint in the scientific debate about the safety of GM crops. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 28(5), 903-924. doi:10.1007/s10806-015-9564-9

Alford, C. F. (2016). What makes whistleblowers so threatening?: Comment on "cultures of silence and cultures of voice: The role of whistleblowing in healthcare organisations". International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 5(1), 71-73. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2015.183

Cho, Y. J., & Song, H. J. (2015). Determinants of whistleblowing within government agencies. Public Personnel Management, 44(4), 450-472. doi:10.1177/0091026015603206

Perego, M. (2015). Celebrate ethical conduct: Do it with positive stories. Public Management, 97(2), 2-3.

Reed, G. E. (2014). Expressing loyal dissent: Moral considerations from literature on followership. Public Integrity, 17(1), 5 -18. doi:10.2753/PIN1099-9922170101

Web Sites

The APUS library offers a fabulous resource, the Library Course Guide! You can find the Guide at .

Please explore all the tabs. The Articles Tab contains many of the Public Administration Journal links and the web resources are extensive. The eReserves contain links to some of the article readings in the syllabus although you may have to search others.

In addition to the required course texts, the following public domain web sites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Site Name

Web Site URL/Address

Creating a Code of Ethics

Government Tools and Data

Ethics Resource Center

US Office of Government Ethics

Markkula Center for Public Ethics

Ethics Toolkit

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.