The Understanding of Public Service Ethics in Turkish Municipalities: The Ankara Case

The Understanding of Public Service Ethics in Turkish Municipalities: The Ankara Case

Ugur Sadioglu (Hacettepe University, Turkey) and Ugur Omurgonulsen (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0320-0.ch020
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Recent legal regulations provided more authorities and resources to municipalities, meanwhile corruption and unethical conduct cases were experienced more in the municipalities in Turkey. This paper aimed to detect the “public service ethics understanding” of municipality administrators in Turkey. To this end, a questionnaire was conducted among elected and appointed administrators of 9 urban-district municipalities in Ankara. Although the majority of municipality administrators agree that institutions and legal-administrative regulations based on universal values of public service ethics rather than the personal moral values, they still keep some local moral values which tolerate corrupt and unethical conducts. This reflects the dilemma of the Turkish administrators on this issue. Therefore, hard (like institutional and legal-administrative regulations) and soft (like training and cultural change) measures of public service ethics should go hand in hand in order to minimize the gap between the “good perceptions” and “widespread malpractices” of municipality administrators.
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Theoretical Framework

Ethics refers to a set of universal principles, values and standards used to judge the rightness or wrongness of a person’s relations to others in terms of truth and justice (Near, Bacus, & Miceli, 1993). Publics service ethics provides a framework to evaluate the conducts of public servants in accordance with codes of ethics (principles, values and standards) in relation to the public service.

Ethical values of public servants are mainly based on public values. Despite widespread recognition of the significance of public values in the public service, theoretical and particularly empirical research on public service values has recently become a major feature of public administration (Kernaghan, 1994; Kernaghan, 2003; Van Wart, 1998; Beck Jørgensen, 1999; Beck Jørgensen, 2007; Beck Jørgensen & Bozeman, 2007). A general discourse on public service values is on the today’s and future agenda of the public sector (Beck Jørgensen, 1999, p. 580). In recent public administration literature much attention is paid to public service values including ethical values such as integrity and accountability that guide public service.

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