Sustainable ethics in public administration? -Ethical dilemmas in sustainable development policy implementation

University essay from Örebro universitet/Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap

Abstract: This Master´s thesis analyses ethical dilemmas through a theory of three administrative ethics. These three ethics derives from the aspects of sustainable development. The purpose is to combine modern scholars’ requirements of administrative ethics, ideas of how public officials should work and sustainable development as a high ethical goal. Hence the aim is to design an approach and practical understanding of sustainable ethics within public administration. The research applies an empirical and qualitative method, including three elite interviews and a case study. Ethical dilemmas as an ethical phenomenon is used as an analytic tool the can test a practical use of the theory. The interviews are meant to collect experiences from public officials on ethical dilemmas in relation to sustainable development. One case was studied in debt, namely a dilemma situation in Swedish municipality Enköping, where politicians in the Environmental board actively and repeatedly chose not to follow the Environmental Code. A conclusion from the results is that ethical dilemmas in many cases can be illustrate with the theory of sustainable ethics. Moreover, the results show that the interviewees have a restrictive view of how they can and should work as public servants compared with modern scholars’ arguments of more political working public officials. The title of this research ends with a question mark that intend to challenge the reader with a mindset that sustainable ethics requires more than one specific ethic.

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