Public administration includes many professions and occupations, each with its own set of ethical guidelines. In addition, they have to follow the code of professional ethics for public sector workers. These professionals, including those whose main occupation is to do scientific research, face complex ethical problems. These problems relate, for example, to social responsibility and public interest; public participation; professional competence, honesty; conflicts of interest; respect of citizens rights, dignity and diversity; information security; long-range consequences of public administration decisions; respect of other species and the natural environment; informed consent, human dignity and other issues.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Information and Communication Technologies: Include local computer networks, the Internet, electronic mail, digital television, mobile communications, etc.
Informed Consent: Any person involved in a research process have to be informed in advance about the nature and content of the research, its objectives, the methods and procedures to be followed, who is doing it, who pays it, what type of results will be produced, how will the results be published and disseminate and should also be aware of all other relevant impacts.
Professional Conduct: The way, from an ethical point of view, how a person behaves professionally towards clients, the employer, other colleagues, citizens in general, the community, the professional group, the environment, other species, and future generations.
Deception: Omission, in part or totally, of the aims and purposes of that particular research.
Deontological Perspective: The respect of key ethical principles in the research process is more important than to seek the greatest good for the greatest number.
Consequentialist or Utilitarian Perspective: The most important is to seek the greatest good for the greatest number in all options he or she might need to make in all stages of the research process.
Code of Professional Ethics: A set of ethical guidelines aimed to guide the way a person behaves in the profession.