Concise Analysis of Unethical Behavior in Government and Private Sector Acquisition Research Paper

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[. . .] This subject has its links to human history. It addresses the moral character and behavior of humanity, and wrong or right, bad or good, conduct. Ethics assesses the behavior of individuals against an absolute condition and places positive or negative principles on it. Chapman (1993) has a parallel standpoint in this regard and describes ethics as being the fundamental doctrines of proper action, and laws pertaining to behavior. The conditions may be written (for instance, standing orders, state/national laws or circulars) or simple societal interpretations of the tolerable and intolerable. The definition provided for 'ethics' by the African public service charter (UNDESA, 2001) is: ethics are standards that drive practices and conduct of public sector employees. The Charter's twenty-second article offers an additional description of ethics in a cultural context, explaining it as an effective culture founded on moral principles and standards such as discipline at work, efficacy, objectivity, justice, public-spiritedness, dignity, courtesy when performing one's duties, and equality. Thus, public sector ethics represent a general set of rules which outline the way public sector works, being governmental agents (or members of one of the established professions like law, HR management, accounting, and so forth) ought to employ prudence and acumen when performing official tasks.

1.1.2. Accountability

While making people answerable for their actions is generally considered good, this idea is very generically-employed and conceptual in nature (Hulme and Sanderatne, 1997). One common way to describe this value is: Accountability revolves around processes whereby individuals in positions of power (governmental, political, organizational, etc.) should prove they have exerted influence and performed their tasks appropriately.

According to Meyer and Fox (1995), accountability may be described as the governmental agencies' and their workers' duty towards the people to accomplish preset goals and publicly answer for them. Furthermore, it is a commitment needed on public authorities' part, both jointly and independently, to bear public responsibility, whether for their action or for their lack of it. Here, the weight of answerability resides on the shoulders of all public servants individually to serve the people's best interests, seeking help from their own conscience, and resolve all issues based on involvement and professionalism.

Public sector answerability is more extensive as compared to that of private sector workers (Ole Ingstrup and Crookall, 1998). The latter are all answerable to their individual organizations' executive boards. While public sector employees also have a kind of board to answer to, comprising of the legislature, minister, and cabinet members, they are additionally answerable to fellow employees, clients, citizen customers, and citizen non-customers. This form of accountability may be explained as being more subtle and tacit. Overall, it is answerability for their performance and their duty to offer an acceptable justification for their use of resources, influence, and position on taxpayers' behalf. Incorporated into the above definition are innumerable legal, ethical and moral responsibilities associated with public positions (Sarji, 1993).

To sum up, it is obligatory to perform assigned tasks responsibly and to answer for one's botches or achievements. When addressing the matter of public service "accountability", one needs to take into account the 'bureaucratic responsibility' notion. Internal accountability implies public authorities are, at individual organizational levels, answerable to their superiors whereas external accountability implies taking responsibility for one's actions and achievements before other involved authorities external to the company or department. Hence, accountability is a moral value as ethics deal with laws and standards which regulate individual conduct's moral value (Zaal, 2012). Improvement of ethics proves to be central to accountability improvement and vice versa.

1.1.3. Transparency

Normally, the word "transparency" is used to denote honesty, answerability and information exchange. The word represents a metaphorical addendum to "transparent". With respect to public services, this word implies public officials ought to be highly honest in every act and choice of theirs. They must explain their choices and only hold information back if such a step is in the public's best interest (Chapman, 1993). Thorough management transparency requires every decision to be made and recorded in public. This includes every draft document, arguments supporting and opposing a proposal, final decisions, etc. The African public service charter's 12th article (UNDESA, 2001) requires administrative decisions to be made based on straightforward, clear, and comprehensible procedures, whilst simultaneously guaranteeing answerability. Every administrative entity is required to provide access to requisite facts regarding procedures and laws in their own spheres, besides data needed for evaluating their management, to interested parties. The administration is required to notify involved individuals regarding decisions pertaining to them if they choose to dispute a decision. It is also expected to institute or strengthen information and reception divisions for helping users access desired services and for recording their opinions, grievances or recommendations.

Thus, transparency fosters answerability and offers citizens information on what the government and governmental authorities are up to.

1.1.4. Integrity

Of all values held in great regard by society, this is one among the most salient. Integrity is a value that deals with the apparent consistency of ideals, means, conduct, standards, expectations and result. Or, it is the quality of an individual's character. There are some individuals who view integrity as a quality that encompasses a righteous sense of openness and honesty with respect to the motives behind one's actions. Individuals who endorse and apply this value behave in line with what they support, and also stand for their ideal judgment in a society that attempts to discern what's worth striving towards in life (Ssonko, 2010). Meanwhile, other individuals assert that integrity is personal honesty, which is behaving in accordance to one's principles and ideologies always. This may underscore the intactness or wholeness of an ethical outlook or stand. Some of this intactness might underscore genuineness and dedication as well. With respect to answerability, integrity functions as a scale to measure a person's readiness to adapt value systems and sustain or improve their reliability if an anticipated outcome seems to differ from the actual outcome. According to others, integrity is a good value just as ethical responsibility and answerability are perceived to be vital tools to maintain this consistency.

The definition of integrity put forward by Halfon (1989) is with regard to moral purpose (i.e., an individual's commitment to leading an ethical life and his/her intellectual duty to attempt to comprehend the demands linked to this sort of life). According to the author, individuals possessing integrity adopt a moral outlook which necessitates conceptual clarity, rational consistency, thorough acknowledgement and consideration of relevant ethical factors, and appraisal of pertinent empirical proofs. Such self-imposed limitations are welcome as these individuals are interested in committing to doing the best thing and not just in assuming a moral stance.

Integrity needs the following steps: (i) Distinguishing between wrong and right, (ii) Taking action based on one's discernment, irrespective of the cost to oneself; and (iii) Publicly stating that one's actions are based on one's distinguishing between wrong and right (Ssonko, 2010).

1.1.5. Professionalism

For this paper, professionalism of public service personnel may be described as an overall value which includes every other value driving public services, such as objectivity, fairness, devotion, transparency, assiduousness, promptness, efficacy, and even values which might be unique to a given nation's public services (UNDESA, 2001). Professionalism in this domain encompasses the idea that public servants must cultivate within themselves shared values, besides acquiring fundamental skills training for performing their tasks in a professional manner. This is consistent with the African public service charter's 21st article in which it is stated that: Professionalism is apparent in public servants' workplace conduct and their continuous attempts at improving, strengthening and updating their knowledge, honing requisite skills to perform tasks and improving their efficiency and yield.

The rationale for the above value is: public service workers ought to be objective, unbiased, just, efficient, and ensure the masses' best interests when performing duties. They ought to receive suitable compensation and be sufficiently educated to carry out their tasks.

Sarji (1993) claims that, in a way, professionalism implies exceptional work culture. Benignly, it represents an internalized responsibility to give one's best. It may be considered a noble profession, or a form of performance principle; and for the diligent professional, giving anything less than their best would distress them. Professionalism encompasses a deep-seated pride in performing exceptionally. The author further describes this value as being the observance of a collection of behavioral and normative expectations typically encapsulated within an ethical code.

1.2. Ethics and Acquisition Ethics

One can describe ethics as the fundamental codes of appropriate conduct, particularly in connection with a particular individual, task or occupation (Badenhorst, 1994). For this paper, the above entity is the purchasing department role, and the members of this department. Purchase management and business ethics values and rules constitute a subject on which experts in the field have divergent viewpoints. Different ethical principles are applicable to different cultures, persons, sectors, organizations and contexts. In essence, ethics are a personal thing, and address individual behavior which is, however, governed by peer groups… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Concise Analysis of Unethical Behavior in Government and Private Sector Acquisition.  (2017, April 30).  Retrieved January 20, 2020, from

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" Concise Analysis of Unethical Behavior in Government and Private Sector Acquisition."  April 30, 2017.  Accessed January 20, 2020.