Ethics in Public Administration

Running head: Ethics in Public Administration

Ethics in Public Administration
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      The national bicentennial in 1976 marked two important birthdays for public administration. It was the ninetieth anniversary of the appearance of the first fully developed essay on what was considered a "new" or at least a separately identified field -- public administration. In that essay, the young political scientist Woodrow Wilson (1941) wrote the now famous words, "administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. Administrative questions are not political questions; although politics sets the tasks for administration, it should not be suffered to manipulate its offices."
      And it was exactly fifty years since the publication of Leonard White (1926) text, Introduction to the Study of Public Administration, the first in the field. White's book was, for his time, an advanced and sophisticated attempt to marry the science of government and the science of administration. Whereas Wilson had argued that public administration is "a field of business" and should be separate from "politics," White forty years later countered that public administration can be effective only if it constitutes an integration of the theory of government and the theory of administration.
      As fields or professions go, public administration is young. Its early impetus was very much connected with civil service reform, the city manager movement, the "good government" movement, and the professionalization of the administrative apparatus of government. It was in this era that "principles of administration" were developed and the first academic programs in the field were established at American universities. This was a heady era, during which the United States civil service was developed, an innovation adopted in many American states and municipalities....