Explain the process of resolving ethical dilemmas in Public administration.

Structure of answer:

  • Introduction (basic information about ethical dilemmas in public administration).
  • What are the ethical dilemmas in Public administration.
  • What are the issues?
  • How it can be resolved?
  • Conclusion.


  • A dilemma is something wider and more demanding than a problem, however difficult or complex the latter may be (Rapoport, 1960).
  • The reason is that dilemmas, unlike problems, cannot be solved in the terms in which they are initially presented to the decision-maker.
  • Caught on the horns of a dilemma the decision-maker is not only faced with opposed and perhaps equally unwelcome alternatives; even worse their incompatible juxtaposition also implies that they are mutually exclusive in the sense that the satisfaction of the one can only be made if the other is sacrificed.
  • It is then the case that solving a dilemma resembles a zero sum game, whereby the choice of one value alternative is necessarily followed by the negation of the other.
  • ‘Solving’ the dilemma in such a way would, therefore, be a contradiction in terms and a misnomer, since the solution reached likewise would seem to be no more than a scission and a dichotomic split of the intertwined aspects of the issue at hand.
  • The advanced set of fundamental principles or criteria that integrate and rearrange the process of dealing with ethical dilemmas in public administration are:
  • Democratic accountability of administration.
  • The rule of law and the principle of legality.
  • Rofessional integrity and
  • Responsiveness to civil society.
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