By James S. Bowman

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Additional info for Achieving Competencies in Public Service: The Professional Edge, 2nd Edition

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It is crucial that professionals understand the functioning of the various systems that constitute the multisectoral, interorganizational, and multijurisdictional environment in which they operate. The coordination of these systems, which requires integrated adjustments, ensures order and organizational continuity; system dysfunctions can lead to serious service breakdowns. Leaders need not be technical experts in budgeting, IT, human resources, or planning, but they must understand how decisions are made and services are provided.

More in-depth exposure is provided by postgraduate job experiences, many of which entail unguided, on-the-job experience rather than formal training. Those who expect such “advanced training” may be disappointed. Even if on-site professional handbooks describing procedures and standards are available, for example, they may be too voluminous to comprehend, too vague in regard to which standards apply to specific tasks, or even out of date. Employees do well to take an individualized, proactive approach to developing the technical knowledge and skills they need to excel.

1 outlines a model of ethical decision making. An aptitude for moral reasoning and ethical decision making depends on the ability to identify ethics-related conflicts. It is important to distinguish between an ethical problem and an ethical conflict. An ethical problem involves “a situation with ethical content, requiring individual choices,” while an ethical conflict entails “dissonances among principles of right (do good) or among principles of wrong (cause no harm)” (Wartick and Wood 1998, 119).

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