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Effectiveness of Public-Service Ethics and Good Governance in the Central Administration of the EU-27

Evaluating Reform Outcomes in the Context of the Financial Crisis

Christoph Demmke and Timo Moilanen

Comparative studies of public-service ethics at the central governmental level in the EU Member States have a rather short history. Particularly, only a few studies have discussed the institutionalisation of ethics and the effectiveness of ethics instruments. Filling this gap and taking one step further, this particular comparative study analyses to what extent the transition towards a new and more complex concept of ethics and governance has proved effective and fruitful. The authors argue that discussions about ethics should be better integrated into other policy areas that affect the behaviour of public officials. These include public management reforms, human resource policies and leadership styles, perceptions of organisational fairness, impact of the ongoing financial crisis as well as cost-and-benefit considerations. The book provides a comprehensive view and analysis of the developments in the field of public-service ethics.


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2.1 Research question and work assignment Any honest dialogue about ethics and good governance requires the ability to communicate difficult issues and the courage to bring out sometimes dissenting opinions. It is well known that public-service ethics is considered to be a very serious problem in some countries, whereas it is considered less problematic in others. This presents an important challenge for a comparative study since many of the issues it discusses are complex and sensitive. Consequently, governments, organisations and even national experts often shy away from discussing them openly. In fact, this study can only look at ethics and good governance policies as critically, openly and honestly as possible. There are no easy answers. How- ever, as this study hopefully shows, there are some promising answers and many – surprising – results. Comparative studies on public-service ethics on central governmental level in the EU Member States have a rather recent history14. However, studies on public sector ethics and integrity started earlier in the OECD-world15. Moreover, the first international comparative study on local integrity systems, which is paying attention to the policies, practices and actors at the local government level, was published by Anechiarico, Huberts and Six16. 14 Danielle Bossaert/Christoph Demmke, Main challenges in the field of ethics and integ- rity in the EU Member States, EIPA, Maastricht, 2005; Christoph Demmke/Mark Bovens/Thomas Henökl/Timo Moilanen, Regulating conflicts of interest for holders of public office in the European Union, EIPA, Maastricht, 2008; Christoph Dem- mke/Thomas Henökl/Timo Moilanen, What are public services good...

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