In the field of public administration, individuals are using the term ‘administrative responsibility’ with the aim to identify the relationship between administration and subordinates. Administrative responsibility is, therefore, important while dealing with behavior of a public servant, as well as subordinates` attitude towards administrator`s behavior and ethical norms in the process of administrator`s activity. Any administrator, who is responsible for others, is supposed to behave according to ethical norms no matter what kind of situation may occur in the working environment. That is why, administrative responsibility may be considered to be the key to administrative ethics. Those public servants who do not meet the expectations and possess improper behavior are irresponsible and cannot conduct their roles. Thus, in order to meet expectations and requirements of their subjects, administrators have to be responsible for what they are doing trying to find certain tools to meet the needs and requirements, which may be close to administrative ethics.
Objective and Subjective Concepts of Responsibility
I support the idea that administrative responsibility occurs in a daily activity, especially in situations, which demand making choice. Making a choice may be a complicated issue, which depends on external and internal factors; thus we can identify objective and subjective concepts of responsibility (Cooper, 2009, p.78). Objective responsibility is based on external circumstances and factors, while subjective responsibility refers to individual decisions and choices, which he or she is making consciously. Subjective factors are based on individual values and experience. Subjective responsibility is a reflection of personal beliefs about abstract things, such as identification, conscience, and loyalty, which refer to the norms of administrative ethics. To my mind, norms of ethics are an essential part of administrative responsibility. For example, if the professor is conducting his students badly, without respect, he will never interest them in his subject. Objective responsibility is supposed to be defined by the law, identified standards of behavior or other persons` activities. Administrative responsibility is a combination of both subjective and objective responsibilities.
According to the Principal-Agent Theory, which is borrowed from economics, objective responsibility is based on the relationship between principles and agents; principles have the primary rights, and agents are the ones who are supposed to carry out the principals` demands and wishes (Cooper, 2009, p.85). This viewpoint deals more with efficiency, which is single valued, than administrative ethics. In accordance with this theory, two dimensions of objective responsibility are worth mentioning: obligation and accountability. Thus, according to the hierarchical structure, obligation is the basis of administrative responsibility, while accountability is the means to fulfill this obligation. Objective responsibility, therefore, is formed by societal, organizational, and legal requirements to a public administrator and his personal role in administrative activity.
It is worth mentioning that accountability is very important in a smooth activity of any organization in accordance with ethical conduct, as well as its policies and directives. Only then, when subordinates share a commitment to their establishment, for example, university, they will achieve a high level of education. Therefore, ethical, professional, and legal standards of behavior help conduct educational activities in order to achieve their core goals. Public administrators are thus responsible to carry out their directives and policies. There also should be mutual agreement between principles and subordinates. The main obligation of public administrator is to serve people`s interests in an efficient and effective manner due to the ethical norms in order to achieve their goals, which can be of great magnitude.
In conclusion, administrative responsibility means, to my mind, conduction of activities with the respect to subordinates, integrity with organizational goals, and excellence in work. In doing so, theory and practice will be developed that will lead for future achievements. Obligation and accountability have to go along with each other arriving to a conclusive decision. Administrators often face challenges, which should be overcame not offsetting the organization`s process; thus, there is insurance that their actions will be effective for the organization and subordinates. I support the idea that administrative responsibility is the key to administrative ethics.
- Cooper Terry L. (2009). The responsible administrator (6th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp.71-92.