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

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

Terry L. Cooper

ISBN: 978-0-470-92434-1

Feb 2017, Jossey-Bass

352 pages

Select type: E-Book

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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.

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.



"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…" (, October 2008)