Responsibility for ethical decision making belongs in the hands of individual managers. Detailed, hard-and-fast rules preempt individual responsibility and may chain, rather than empower, public service. Ralph Chandler (1989a, p. 605) notes that “certain ethical precepts have guided American public administrators from the earliest days of the republic. Some are implicit, some are explicit, and several are contradictory to each other, and all are subject to differing interpretations.” It is hardly surprising, then, that many alternative game plans for ethical behavior have been spelled out over the years. Knowing this, some managers ask for more direction, for definite rules based on duty or law.
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