The Ethical Dilemma is a decision-making dilemma involving two moral imperatives, none of which satisfactorily resolves the situation morally. It’s a complicated circumstance with an apparent mental paradox in which fulfilling one demand leads to disobedience of another.

Some of the most prevalent ethical challenges that public officials face relate around:

Administrative discretion: Public officials are more than just policy executors. They make decisions that affect people’s lives, such as taxation, survival, and dismissal of employees. When faced with a variety of options, public officials are faced with ethical dilemmas.

Corruption: Corruption is a major symptom of a lack of ethical behaviour. There is a colonial history of uncontested authority and a proclivity for arbitrary power exercise. It is simple for public officials to veer from ethical behaviour in a society that worships power.

Nepotism: When relatives or friends are appointed to public jobs without regard for the merit principle, the quality of the public service suffers.

Public accountability: Public officials should be held accountable to their superiors, the courts, and the general public for their official conduct. They can, however, hide behind defined procedures, the mantle of professionalism, and even political office-bearers.

Policy conundrums: Policymakers are sometimes faced with competing tasks. They have the freedom to act on behalf of and in the best interests of others, but they must account for their activities to others — their superiors and society.

The prevention and management of misconduct, as well as the enforcement of ethical ideals and standards, are extremely difficult tasks. However, it is critical for public officials to ensure that their official actions are always directed by the procedures in place to improve ethical fitness:

To stop the collapse of time-honored ethical principles and standards in the public sector, a Re- Sensitization Program on Ethical Values and Standards could be implemented.

Increasing administrative accountability through enforcing rigorous adherence to Codes of Conduct and encouraging public officials to follow the mandatory and allowed conduct in the public sector.

Laws and rules prohibiting misbehaviour and corruption should be reinforced, and those who break them should face commensurate penalties.

For the successful development of long-term sound ethical fitness, demonstrable political commitment at the highest political authority level is required.

Peer counselling can also be beneficial in navigating the maze of ethical difficulties that exist in public service.


Any person entrusted with guiding the fate of the people must not only be ethical, but must also be seen to embody these principles.

Public servants are guardians of public confidence and trust, which can only be won and maintained by consistently avoiding not just actual ethical misbehavior but also the public impression of it.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 28, 2023