CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS
This part of the chapter attempts to present the results of the research undertaking revolving around the explicit and implicit aspects of institutionalized ethics as discussed in the literature review chapter. More specifically, the code of conduct, ethics training, ethics liaison offices, and the citizens’ charter are presented as parts of the explicit aspects of ethics; whereas organizational ethics culture, ethical leadership, ethics reward/punishment systems, and communication are presented as implicit aspects.
.Profile of Questionnaire Respondents
Demographic characteristics of both the employee respondents and user respondents are presented first as follows.
Profile of employee respondents is presented under Table 4.1 which shows that the sample was made up of a bit higher male respondents than their female counterparts; however, adequate weight was given to female respondents as well. The majority of the respondents were first degree holders (68.75%), and the age group of the respondents is widely disbursed between 18 and 55 years. The result also showed that a considerable number of the employee respondents (43.45%) stayed in the organization from 1-5 years; and 78.13% are in the manager, professional, or sub-professional category.
As is shown in Table 4.2 below, the male-female representation in the user survey is similar with that of the employee respondents. About 46% of the sample were female participants. The majority of the user respondents (63.49%) were diploma and first degree holders; more than half of them (57.94%) were in the age range of 26-45. Most of the service users (63.29%) were from the private sector.
Explicit Methods of Institutionalizing Ethics
The Code of Conduct
This section presents and discusses a number of issues relating to the code that include: the level of institutionalization and awareness of civil servants, enforcement methods and their effectiveness, and the rigor and process of review of the Code of Conduct.
Though a comprehensive code of conduct for civil servants is not yet approved at national level, it was found that each federal ministry and institution adopted its own code. All the five federal institutions which were involved in this study indicated in similar terms that they have adopted a code of conduct to civil servants. Some of the institutions claim that they have developed the code based on the ethics regulation promulgated by the council of ministers; while others assert that they have developed it based on a code developed by the Ministry of Civil Service. However, the FEACC offers a different version. C134 from the commission indicated that earlier the initiative to prepare a code of conduct at national level was taken by the Commission, and that it had submitted a draft to the Council of Ministers but for some reason it was not adopted. He further elaborated that the Ministry of Civil Service took the responsibility but up to now it has not been able to have a formally approved code at national level. The State Minister of the Ministry of Civil Service also confirmed during the interview that the code of conduct for civil servants has not yet been approved and not implemented to date. The reason he provided was that the government is trying to build a developmental civil service that is aligned with the developmental state paradigm it follows. As a result, it is first needed to adequately understand the concept of the developmental civil service before adopting a national code of conduct. Given this situation, C13 from the FEACC indicated that they “encouraged all civil service institutions to prepare their own code of ethics at an institution level based on the 12 ethical principles. And most of them have done that.”
However, Article 62 of the Federal Civil Servants Proclamation clearly stipulates that “…the Council of Ministers shall issue a detailed code of conduct regulations of the civil servants.” A draft code was also prepared as part of the report produced by the task force for ethics improvement subprogram in 2002. Probably, this could be the document some institutions claimed to have referred in developing their own code. But up to now no nationwide code is adopted by the Council of Ministers for reasons mentioned above. The Council of Ministers’ regulation that provided for the establishment of ethics liaison offices under Article 7(3) however indicated that “an ethics liaison unit shall prepare and cause the adoption of the code of conduct of officers and employees of the public office or public enterprise in collaboration with appropriate departments; and follow-up its implementation”. This partly indicates that the government seems to have decided that each institution could develop its own code of conduct for its civil servants at least for some time.
4 Interview participants are given codes (C1-C18) to avoid reference of names during presentation of findings. See Appendix C for the assignment of codes.
In order to understand the awareness level of civil servants, respondents were asked if they know the very existence of the code of ethics in their own institutions. As shown in Table 4.3, though majority of the respondents (61.7%) said they are aware about the code’s existence; a significant number of them (30.47%) did not know about its existence. As a follow-up question, respondents were asked if the code is effectively communicated to employees and other stakeholders by the organization; only 41.41% replied yes; while about one third (33.59%) of the respondents did not respond to this statement. Furthermore, they were also asked how they rate their knowledge of the institution’s ethics rules. A significant number of the respondents (49.21%) rated their knowledge of ethics rules generally as average and above (see Appendix A).
Interview results with managers of the institutions involved in the study revealed that they believe that majority of their employees have a fairly adequate level of awareness about the contents of the code. They stated that the code of conduct is made available to the employees so that they can read and make themselves aware about ethical issues and take the necessary precaution (C6). The code of conduct is issued to new civil servants during hiring, and they are made to sign on the code as a sign of agreement to abide by the rule of law (C3). C10 and C11 also noted that beyond issuing the code to all employees, it is made part of the training programs provided periodically, and awareness raising programs on the general ethical principles are also frequently arranged to communicate the code to the employees. But C11 admitted that though some employees may refer to the code periodically, others may not; it depends on the individuals. Capitalizing on the last point, C6 argued that even though the code is issued to all employees, most of them do not even know where they dropped it; let alone to read it. This indicates that much effort has to be done. It is necessary to reinforce the efforts currently underway.
The participants of the interview invariably believed that the employees have a fairly adequate level of awareness about the code of conduct. This, as to them, is the result of the efforts made in terms of issuing the code to all employees, communicating the code through training and awareness raising programs, and the like. However, they added that the employees do not use the code as a guide in their day-to-day work. A considerable number of the employee respondents (41.41%) acknowledged that the code is communicated to them; although many of them remained indifferent. They also felt that their knowledge of ethics rules is average.
Beyond the adoption of the code, organizations need to ensure that it is fully and effectively implemented. Having ethical rules and statutes are not sufficient tools to ensure governance in the civil service; mechanisms must be put in place to ensure its fullest implementation and enforcement. In recognition of this, employee respondents were presented with a set of questions as shown in Table 4.4. As exhibited in the table, 35.16% of the respondents remained neutral to the statement which proposed that the code of ethics is fully enforced when violations occur in the agency irrespective of who committed the violations (management member or a career civil servant). An additional 17.97% disagreed; while 20.31% agreed. A significant number of the respondents (44.53%) felt that employees can ignore ethics and still get ahead with no consequent measure. Likewise, a significant number of them (30.47%) believed that actions are rarely taken to redress reported unethical conduct in their respective institutions (though 36.72% believed otherwise). More than half of the respondents (53.91%) believed that their institutions did not put in place a mechanism to discipline employees that violate the code of conduct or ethics policies. Similarly, 39.85% of them opposed to the proposition that employees who fail to properly observe ethics rules are disciplined. The overall finding shows that the code of conduct is weakly enforced
Several related questions were presented to the respondents in different ways. The purpose was to cross-check their responses. However, their responses happened to be somehow contradictory. Despite this, the survey result seems to indicate that a significant number of employees feel that their institutions did not put in place mechanisms to discipline employees who violate the code; that appropriate measures are not taken on reported ethical violations, and that ethics issues are not seriously taken in the civil service institutions.
The interview participants were asked what procedure is followed if the organization believes an ethical misconduct has occurred; and how they evaluate implementation of the ethics code in their organization. The participants explained that a system of enforcement is established in their respective organizations. According to them, when it is found that an ethical offence has occurred, it is handled following the procedure specified in both the code of conduct and the civil servants’ proclamation. That is, when violations of ethics are reported, they are first investigated; then depending on the severity of the violation, appropriate measures are taken.
From the interview discussion, it can be discerned that a system of enforcing the code of conduct is put in place in all the civil service institutions. When ethical transgressions are detected, actions are taken following a predetermined procedure. However, majority of the employees do not agree with the views expressed by management. Many feel that no appropriate measures are taken to remedy reported transgressions.
Both interviewees from the ERCA’s Ethics Directorate (C1 and C2) believed that implementation of the code is effective; notwithstanding its limitations. They asserted that a lot of improvement on the ethical behaviour of employees is observed after its implementation. Before the issuance of the code, they indicated that there were instances where violators were not charged. This had encouraged employees to continue with their ethical misconduct. Since the issuance of the code however, C2 argued, we have witnessed that it has at least created a sense of fear on those employees who would desire to involve in some unethical activities.
But C1 admitted the negative influence the issuance of the code created on the civil servants. He felt that some employees view the code as a threat. He argued that they should not be terrorized by the existence of the law as this was not the objective of the code. They should be made to believe in it. They should develop confidence on it, and honestly believe that people who would like to prosper through improper means should be penalized. Because of these limitations employees develop fear over the code instead of having trust in it. Both C1 and C2 further explained that misunderstanding and ambiguity is created on the intention of some articles of the code of conduct; and this misunderstanding is deterring the effective implementation of the code.
C1 further explained the reason why the Authority is different from other institutions stating that employees (officers) deal with issues that involve millions of birr. If this code were not put in place, the officers and civil servants would have been more exposed to rent seeking practices. For example, if you take a school teacher he/she deals with relatively small things such as stationery and other office materials but an officer in our authority deals with transactions involving huge sum of money, he argued. So, the code is prepared taking the unique nature of the institution into consideration.
C5 from the Federal Transport Authority felt that he would not say the code is fully implemented at this time; though the organization is making extensive efforts to ensure its effective implementation. He believes that a lot remains to be done. The code itself is put into practice very recently, and the Ethics Directorate is not yet equipped with the necessary human resources.
The manager from the Government Houses Agency, C8, reflected the view that he did not think the points included in the code are contextualized with the nature of the organization. The central idea behind the code of conduct, according to him, is the twelve ethical principles. If these principles were internalized by everybody, the organization’s ethical performance would have been in a better position. If they are internalized fully, attitudinal change will ensue. To that end, he went on, employee handbook, with the main highlights of the code included in it, was prepared and issued to all employees. But the extent to which the employees understand and internalize the code is questionable. This is the biggest challenge, according to him.
He further noted that taking action on transgressors based on the provisions of the code is not very much common. If action is taken, it is mostly done based on the civil service proclamation. Hence, he concluded, as far as the code of conduct is concerned, it is difficult to say it is fully understood and fully implemented in our organization. C9 from the same organization endorsed the opinion reflected by C8 also adding that the code of conduct and the civil service proclamation are normally issued to the employees, but they do not have the habit of maintaining and referring it periodically.
The procedure followed to update the code of conduct is similar across the institutions involved in the study. Revision of the code is normally initiated by the Ethics unit, and approved by the top management of the organization. Concerning the periodic review of the code, the result is mixed. Some of them such as the ERCA and the Federal Transport Authority were in the process of review during the interview; while others such as DARO have updated it once. Still others such as the Government Houses Agency have not made any revision so far. The reason provided for the low performance in this regard is that the code is adopted recently and that no serious problem is encountered so far that called for its revision.
This section discusses issues related with the form and frequency of training provided to civil servants, the content of the training programs, and the behavioural change brought about as a result of the training programs.
When the civil servants were asked if their organization provided training to all employees on the code of conduct and ethics policies on a regular basis, 46.10% of them disagreed (Table 4.5). They were also asked on the frequency of training they received over the last five years; 50.01% of them said they have received training at least once (Appendix A).
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Background of the Study
1.2. Statement of the Problem
1.3. Research questions
1.4. Objectives of the Study
1.5. Scope of the Study
1.6. Significance of the Study
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.2. Meaning of Work and Work Ethics
2.3. Centrality of Work
2.4. Historical Development of Work Ethics
2.5. Theoretical Perspectives of Work Ethic .
2.6. Ethics and the Public Service
2.7. Overview of the Ethiopian Civil Service
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
3.2. Conceptual Framework
3.3. Key Concepts Related with Ethics
CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS
4.1. Profile of Questionnaire Respondents
4.2. Explicit Methods of Institutionalizing Ethics
4.3. Implicit Methods of Institutionalizing Ethics
4.4. The Present State of Civil Service Ethics
4.5. Monitoring and Follow-up Mechanisms
4.6. The Perceived Influence of the Ethics Subprogram on the Ethical Conduct of Civil Servants
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.1. The Code of Conduct
5.2. Ethics Training
5.3. The Citizens’ Charter
5.4. Management Commitment and Exemplary Leadership
5.5. Creating Strong Institutions
5.6. Hiring Ethical Employees
5.7. Allocation of Resources
5.8. Upholding of the Ethical Principles
5.9. Fair Remuneration
5.10. Reward or Punishment Systems
5.11. Use of Public Resources for Personal Gain
5.13. Monitoring and Follow-up Mechanisms
5.14. Poor Accountability System
5.15. Professionalism and Meritocracy
5.16. Involving the Public and Other Stakeholders
5.17. Gap in Leadership of the Subprogram
5.18. Changing People’s Attitude
5.19. No Focus to Behavioural Components of Ethics
5.20. Impact of the Ethics Subprogram
5.21. Influence of the Reform on Public Trust .
5.22. Key Factors Shaping Ethical Behaviour
5.23. Biggest Challenges to Foster Ethical Behaviour
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS
6.2. Policy Implications
6.3. Contribution of the Study to Understanding and Knowledge
6.4. Challenges Encountered .
6.5. Suggestions for Further Research
6.6. Concluding Thoughts
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
AN EXPLORATION OF WORK ETHICS IN THE ETHIOPIAN CIVIL SERVICE: THE CASE OF SELECTED FEDERAL INSTITUTIONS