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Working Ethically is one of the core subjects in the Melbourne Master of Public Administration. The Melbourne MPA is an interdisciplinary, globally-focused degree program for managers that work within or with government. This subject is one of three professionally-oriented subjects and it builds on the World of Public Administration and the core discipline subjects to develop the professional skills of participants with a particular focus on ethics.
The course provides students with an advanced understanding of ethics as they apply to the individual in their managerial role, but also in the design and implementation of public outcomes more broadly. This subject situates these challenges in their social, theoretical, historical and disciplinary contexts to provide participants with a strong foundation for their application in practice. The subject draws in particular on key ideas from philosophy to guide participants in working ethically as individual managers and leaders, but also more broadly facing the ethical dilemmas that managers confront in complex policy and governing environments. It will place a particular emphasis on the complex relationship between scientific advancement and the challenges this poses to policy makers and public managers.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should:
- Understand key ethical challenges facing managers in practice and develop an appreciation of how to address them;
- Acquire knowledge of the social, theoretical, historical and disciplinary factors that underpin ethics in practice;
- Learn to recognise the distinction between ethically designed institutions and the ethics of action made within given institutional realities; and
- Appreciate how to make decisions and provide advice in complex policy and governing environments.
On successful completion of this subject students should have:
- A sound understanding of moral theory and applied ethics and their implications for public management processes and decisions;
- A high-level ability to combine moral and political theory and professional practice in a meaningful way in order to generate responses to both ethical and managerial challenges;
- The skills and capabilities to reflect upon professional practice in order to meet ethical challenges at the individual and institutional level; and
- The ability to draw upon an extensive repertoire of advanced professional skills and to apply these skills with an awareness of the ethical implications of strategies and decisions.
Last updated: 3 November 2022