Beyond codes of conduct towards a public service ethos in South Africa : lessons to be learned from Finland and Denmark

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    Improving ethics is critical for enhancing accountability and vice versa, as ethical standards impact on the performance and the extent to which public officials are willing, or unwilling to be accountable for their performance. This article examines what guidelines are needed to improve ethical standards in the South African public service. The article firstly provides a literature review of ethics, integrity and the role of codes of conduct. Secondly, the article provides an overview of ethics, integrity and codes of conduct in the South African public service. Lastly, the article reflects on empirical evidence from studies conducted in Finland and the Netherlands in generating a way forward for identifying the necessary guidelines for improving ethical standards in the South African public service. The findings offer suggestions of external regulations, compliance programmes and voluntary ethics programs as the most effective way to combat inappropriate organisational behaviour.