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The Responsible Administrator: An Approach to Ethics for the Administrative Role, 5th Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-04672-2
352 pages
April 2011, Jossey-Bass
The Responsible Administrator: An Approach to Ethics for the Administrative Role, 5th Edition (1118046722) cover image


Those who serve the public trust must take special care to ensure they make ethical and responsible decisions. Yet the realities of bureaucracies, deadlines, budgets, and demands for quick results make the payoffs for dealing formally with ethics seem unclear. Since its original publication, The Responsible Administrator has guided professionals and students alike as they grapple with the challenges of making ethical, responsible decisions in real world situations.

This new edition includes information on coping with new demands for accountability, as well as new cases and examples, an examination of current issues relevant to administrative ethics, and supplementary materials for professors.

Cooper’s theoretical framework and practical applications and techniques will help you consider all of the factors involved in a decision, ensuring that you balance professional, personal, and organizational values. Case studies and examples illustrate what works and what does not. The Responsible Administrator helps both experienced and novice public administrators and students become effective decision makers, provides them with a solid understanding of the role of ethics in public service and the framework to incorporate ethical and values-based decision making in day-to-day management.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fifth Edition.


The Author.

1 Introduction.

2 Understanding Ethical Decision Making.

Part One: Ethics for Individual Administrators.

3 Public Administration in Modern and Postmodern Society: The Context of Administrative Ethics.

4 Administrative Responsibility: The Key to Administrative Ethics.

5 Conflicts of Responsibility: The Ethical Dilemma.

Part Two: Ethics in the Organization.

6 Maintaining Responsible Conduct in Public Organizations: Two Approaches.

7 Integrating Ethics with Organizational Norms and Structures.

8 Safeguarding Ethical Autonomy in Organizations: Dealing with Unethical Superiors and Organizations.

Part Three: The Design Approach.

9 Applying the Design Approach to Public Administration Ethics.

10 Conclusion: Responsible Administration.



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Author Information

Terry L. Cooper is The Maria B. Crutcher Professor in Citizenship and Democratic Values (Social Ethics) at the University of Southern California (USC). His research centers on citizen participation and public ethics. He is one of the coprincipal investigators in the USC Neighborhood Participation Project (NPP), conducting research on the role of neighborhood organizations in governance in the City of Los Angeles through the system of neighborhood councils established in 1999. Also, he is the director of the USC Civic Engagement Initiative, which is expanding the work of the NPP beyond neighborhood councils and beyond Los Angeles.
Cooper is the author of The Responsible Administrator: An Approach to Ethics for the Administrative Role (4th ed., 1998) and An Ethic of Citizenship for Public Administration (1991). He is the coeditor of Exemplary Public Administrators: Character and Leadership in Government (1992) and the editor of Handbook of Administrative Ethics (2nd ed., 2001). His articles have appeared in Public Administration Review, Administration and Society, International Review of Administrative Sciences, International Journal of Public Administration, Administrative Theory and Praxis, International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, Public Budgeting and Finance, and The Bureaucrat. He is a past member of the editorial boards of Public Administration Review and Administrative Theory and Praxis and currently serves on the editorial board of The American Review of Public Administration. Cooper is the editor of the Exemplar Profile series in the journal Public Integrity.
Cooper has previously served as chair of the Section on Ethics of the American Society for Public Administration. He has conducted ethics training for many professional groups at different levels of government around the United States and in several other countries.
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"The Responsible Administrator helps outline some of the facets of this process to bring greater understanding to the grey area of ethical administration. I would recommend this book to all leaders in the public arena…" (www.charitychannel.com, October 2008)

"Cooper's fifth edition is the definitive text for students and practitioners who want to have a successful administrative career. Moral reasoning, as Cooper so adeptly points out, is essential in today's rapidly changing and complex global environment."
—Donald C. Menzel, Ph.D., president, American Society for Public Administration; professor emeritus, public administration, Northern Illinois University

"The Responsible Administrator is at once the most sophisticated and the most practical book available on public sector ethics. It is conceptually clear and jargon-free, which is extraordinary among books on administrative ethics."
—H. George Frederickson, Stone Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, University of Kansas

"Remarkably effective in linking the science of what should be done with a prescriptive for how to actually do it, the fifth edition of Cooper's book keeps pace with the dynamic changes in the field, both for those who study it and those who practice it. The information presented in these pages can be found nowhere else, and it is information we cannot ethically afford to ignore."
—Carole L. Jurkiewicz, Ph.D., John W. Dupuy Endowed Professor, Woman's Hospital Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Management, Louisiana State University, E. J. Ourso College of Business Administration, Public Administration Institute

"After a quarter of a century in print and five editions, it is time to name Terry Cooper's The Responsible Administrator a classic, not only in the field of public service ethics, but in the broader domain of public policy and administration as well. As useful and enlightening as it was when first published in the Reagan era, this new edition works well for a post 9/11 public service with its strong emphasis on the design approach to ethics."
—Guy B. Adams, professor and associate director, Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs, University of Missouri–Columbia

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