Ethics and Leadership

Ethics and Leadership Winter 2007: 4 credits
The Evergreen State College
Graduate Program in Public Administration
Sem II,  C3107 - Wednesdays 6-10 pm
CRN: 20197(Grad), 20198 (UG)

Joan Bantz: Faculty Contact Information
eMail: Phone: 867-5095 Office: Lab 1, 3011

I. Course Overview and Learning Objectives

A.    Description:
The most frequently cited datum on the current state of politics is the opinion poll, which shows the steady decline of the public's trust in government. Accountability, flexibility, and trust lies at the nexus of the practice and theory of public administration-and it provides students of public administration a strong link to the other social sciences and political philosophy.

Leadership is not the same as management although being a good manager is part of being a good leader. Understanding the broader framework of leading, for example, facilitating organizational change, planning, raising the bar on ethics, and establishing values within an organization or managing conflict.

In this course, we will examine the ethical dilemmas of leadership, the foundations and context of moral choice, the moral implication of decision-making within public organizations and the impact upon staff, morale, personal integrity and citizens. In doing so, our purpose is to make visible the ethical challenges and decisions criteria facing leaders, to explore the leadership role in sharing the organization's ethical culture, and to examine governmental alternatives.

"those who set themselves up as moral experts are those of whom we need be most suspect."
- H.V.O ’Gwin

B. General Objectives:
This course looks at the basis of moral choice, the manner in which leaders make these choices and the moral implications of decision making. This course reasonably presupposes several alternative systems rather than the naïve belief that there is only a single absolute point of view to be uncritically adopted and unquestioningly followed. Thus, this is the opportunity to explore and to try on different hats or ways of knowing. The overall goals are:
  1. Identify challenges of social responsibility, ethical issues and dilemmas and     leadership models.
  2. Examine conflicts, leadership styles and social challenges within the unique context of ethics.
  3. Interpret successful Public Administration leader’s strategies while engaged in ethical or socially responsible actions or through leadership approaches.
  4. Appreciate alternative opinions, values, beliefs and reasoning processes when resolving ethical dilemmas, demonstrating effective leadership or practicing social responsibility.
  5. integrate a practice of ethical reasoning, effective leadership and social responsibility
C.   Learning Outcomes
  • Critical Thinking: Expand established knowledge and skills to promote principled leadership, consider theological, social and philosophical fundamentals that present a sound philosophical base for ethical understanding and behavior. Special attention will be given to ethical issues, theories and skills of effective public leadership.
  • Reflective Thinking: Develop reflection skills for professional growth and development. Through this course you will reflect upon your own leadership values, visions, and ethics and how you might better align these key areas to improve your leadership effectiveness and organizational performance. This graduate course is intended to guide each student through the complex and often contradictory issues related to ethics and leadership in the public sector.  What this course does not intend to accomplish is to require you to change your values and belief system (unless, of course, you choose to).
  • Writing and Articulation: Develop the skills to formulate, analyze, write, present, and critique successful ethical leadership in various types of situations and organizations.
II.     Readings

Adams, Guy and Danny L. Balfour (2004). Unmasking Administrative Evil (Rethinking Public Administration). Publisher: M. E. Sharpe. [ISBN: 076561250X]

Aristotle, J. l. Ackrill, J. O. Urmson, David Ross (Translator) (1998). The Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford World's Classics). Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA.
[ISBN: 019283407X]

Bok, Sissela (1999). Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life. Publisher: Vintage; Updated edition. [ISBN: 0375705287]

Dobel, J. Patrick (2002). Public Integrity. Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press. [ISBN: 0801869161]

Johnson, Craig E. (2004). Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow. Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc; 2nd edition. [ISBN: 1412941296]

O’Leary, Rosemary (2005). The Ethics of Dissent: Managing Guerrilla Government (Public Affairs and Policy Administration). Publisher: CQ Press. [ISBN: 1933116609]

III.   Assignments

A.   Active participation in class and seminar.

  1. Please review the "Seminar Expectation" handout.

B.   Intellectual Journey Reflection Papers    Due each class
  1. Your Reflective Journal Papers are to be completed before the beginning of class and must be exchanged and discussed with a fellow co-learner prior to the following class Seminar. These personal intellectual journals/reflections or cognitive maps should summarize the major course and text themes/concepts in a format that elevates our dialogue. Journals are not a book report, but rather a representation of growing synthesis. The intent of the journal/reflection papers is to capture your thoughts about several particular ideas, facts, or issues presented that warrant seminar discussion and summarize these concepts and theories in a form that will be useful on our intellectual journey. The papers should demonstrate your mastery of the course material and its application in your work life in a thoughtful, clear and well written narrative. The papers should not be longer than 3 pages and APA citations should be used. Peer reflections on your writing must be incorporated into your journal by the following class.

    Due: ( 4 times will be Exchanged with peers before class meets by email or other means, they are starred)  The other dates they should be placed into your journel binder.
    1/17*, 1/24
    *, 1/31*, 2/7(entire journal to faculty), 2/14*, 2/21,and 2/28 (journal to faculty with all papers and required course assignments)

  2. Peer Response Reflection Papers are similar to a form of poetic writings popular locally, where one author starts by writing a poem, the reader then writes a paragraph of reflection on the poem, then writes their own poem and circle goes on until they call it complete. I am asking that we follow this format in its intent. That you carefully read your peer's reflection, you respond with a paragraph that is directly related to their focus, and then you move forward with what their paper brings to mind to you personally, e.g., that you expand the dialogue. These thought provoking papers should not be less than one page, and use APA citation method. Please read a different peer's reflection each week and respond to their effort before class the following week. 

    DUE DATES: Responded/returned to peer before class (1/24, 1/31, 2/14 and 2/21)

    NOTE: Please maintain these papers in a loose leaf binder that includes:
    1) your original paper with your peer's response immediately following. These intellectual journals will be due to faculty on 2/7 and 2/28 (w/no peer reflection due for these dates)
    and 2) all the papers requested to that point, e.g., Your Web Assignment, your initial code of ethics, your definitions, etc.

    Learning Objectives: Critical thinking and expression, reflective thinking and shared responsibility for co-learning.
C.   Team Projects will explore the leadership styles and ethical underpinnings of a current or past individual. After researching the leader and examining them from multiple perspectives (360 degrees to include who they are/where, what they did, how are/were they viewed, what metacultural constructs existed/exist, etc.); your team will present your critical analysis of leadership styles, deconstruct their ethical frame, and within the context of the course materials explore ways to adapt best practices. Each presentation will be limited to 15 minutes, with 5 minutes for questions.  Teams should be 4-5 members.  A team charter will be required from each team.

Learning Objectives: General knowledge, critical assessment and evaluation, testing theory and practice, synthesis, teamwork, and oral presentation skills.

D.   Self-Assessement Papers will afford an opportunity to review what they have learned in this course regarding ethics and leadership personally. This 3-5 page reflection paper will include how you may view your world or constructs differently. This reflective process can also be a means to create your self-evaluation.

             Learning Objectives: Self-Evaluation and critical exploration of your journey.

IV.     Expectations and Evaluation

The course is designed as an active/experiential learning community. Much of what will be learned in this program comes from what the myriad guest speakers bring and the work we do together to weave this knowledge with the readings. Therefore, attendance and engagement are required.

  1. Credit for the program and a positive evaluation are contingent upon the following:
    • Attending and participating fully in every class session;
    • Submitting assignments on time;
    • Demonstrating progress on learning objectives, as evidenced by classroom and assignment performance.

      If something prevents you meeting these expectations, you must inform faculty immediately. Credit denial decisions are made by the faculty.

  2. Plagiarism: To plagiarize is to take ideas and writings of others and pass them off as your own.  Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
    Forms of plagiarism include:   
    • Word for word copying of another’s written work
    • Paraphrasing another’s work with a failure to properly attribute the idea, thought, or mosaic to the author
    • Fabricating sources
    • Neglecting quotation marks when a direct quote is used, even when the material is otherwise acknowledged.

  3. Absenteeism and Incomplete Assignments:  Students failure to complete one or more assignments, complete one or more assignments late (without having made arrangements before the due date), or multiple absences may constitute denial of total credit.

    In turn, students can expect the faculty member to be prepared for classes and seminars, to be available for office hours as posted and for scheduled meetings outside of office hours, to respond to telephone or email messages in a timely manner, and to provide timely feedback on assignments.

  4. Evaluations: All students will receive a written evaluation of their academic performance by their faculty. Each student is expected to participate in the end of quarter evaluation conference with faculty. For the end of quarter conference, each student is expected to complete and bring to the conference a written self-evaluation – no conference will be conducted without a draft of the self-evaluation. Student evaluations are an important part of the course and this voice completes the evaluation process. Final self and student evaluations become part of the student transcripts, and two signed self evaluation copies are to be turned into registration and records.  Students are also expected to provide a written evaluation of their faculty member. These two evaluations are part of the requirements of the course and must be completed to obtain full credit.
V.     Covenants

In furtherance of our learning community students and faculty are expected to:
Both students and faculty agree to discuss any problems involving others in the learning community directly with the individuals involved, with the right to support from other class members during those disscussions, if it seems helpful.

VI.     Schedule and Calendar link
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