Power and the Ethics of Reform

in HG Frederickson and RK Ghere (eds): Ethics in Public Management (2nd ed), New York: Routledge

Ciarán O’Kelly

Melvin Dubnick


April 30, 2013

A preprint is available here

The book is available here

In this paper we approach administrative ethics as a problem of power. We address the complex interplay of instrumental and moralist concerns as they are brought to bear on administration through the language of ethics. We approach ethics less as a guide for individuals or as a tool for managers and more as one component in the unending struggle to define, shape and wield the institutional purpose towards particular ends. These ends, we hold, emerge in turn from a combination of normative and instrumental concerns and are fundamental in shaping our lives as administrators and indeed as moral persons within our roles.


BibTeX citation:
  author = {O’Kelly, Ciarán and Dubnick, Melvin},
  editor = {Frederickson and RK Ghere, HG},
  publisher = {Routledge},
  title = {Power and the {Ethics} of {Reform}},
  booktitle = {Ethics in Public Management},
  edition = {2},
  date = {2013-04-30},
  address = {New York},
  url = {https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2112136},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
O’Kelly, Ciarán, and Melvin Dubnick. 2013. “Power and the Ethics of Reform.” In Ethics in Public Management, edited by HG Frederickson and RK Ghere, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2112136.