Public Administration Ethics
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A question pack on public administration from Saylor Academy.
This content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Which of the following revenue sources accounts for the smallest contribution to local government coffers?
Individual income taxes
Which of the following statements best describes the purpose of a budget in public agencies?
Budgets reflect a rational decision-making process.
Budgets reflect the political issues of the moment.
Budgets are statements about management priorities.
Budgets are a means of forecasting expenditures.
Which of the following statements is the most relevant criticism of the zero-based budgeting approach?
Zero-based budgeting greatly hinders program consistency.
Zero-based budgeting may increase the time and expense of preparing a budget.
Zero-based budgeting makes budget discussions more substantive during review sessions.
Zero-based budgeting will reduce the entitlement mentality with respect to cost increases.
Agencies take different approaches to strategic planning, but some of the most universal features of the planning process include which of the following?
Setting a vision for the future
Assessing where an organization is currently
Measuring to evaluate progress
All of these answers
Based on observations and first-hand experiences, author George F. Grob outlined some practical elements of conducting successful government program evaluations in “The Pillars of Public Program Evaluation.” The third pillar is to establish government agencies that evaluate public programs. Which of the following government offices performs evaluations for policymakers?
Complete the following sentence. The Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System (PPBS) is a methodical approach to:
linking goals and program cost-benefits.
planning for long-term needs while achieving cost savings.
deciding who gets what, when, and how in society.
coordinating and controlling budget line-items.
Extensive program planning systems gained popularity in the 1960s during the great society social programs associated with the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Which of the following best describes an important lesson for each succeeding administration?
Program planning systems can be a time consuming process that does not translate easily from agency to agency.
Only preliminary evaluation is possible, because change implementation requires five years.
Program planning systems can be helpful in measuring how far objectives are achieved economically.
Program planning systems provide regular procedures for reviewing goals and objectives.
Fill in the blanks. According to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), a typical federal agency strategic plan should span a minimum ______________but is considered current for only ______________.
6 year period; 3 years
5 year period; 1 year
2 year period; 1 year
10 year period; 2 years
In his article, “The Pillars of Public Program Evaluation,” author George F. Grob offered professional insight and advice for administrators and decision makers seeking to make evaluation a standard part of program management. His recommendations included which of the following?
Control operations and changes to performance objectives.
Integrate parts into a whole.
Train staff to sell and deliver the product.
Stick to the evidence, and use multiple methods.
Performance measures – inputs, outputs, outcomes, and other key issues needed to measure progress – are an important part of any effective strategic plan. Which of the following would be an input measure?
The number of applications received
The number of tickets issued
The number of personnel hours used
The number of students enrolled
Review the chart below, and answer the question that follows.
The SWOT analysis process enables proactive thinking, rather than relying on habitual or instinctive reactions. The SWOT analysis below was completed as part of the strategic planning process for a nonprofit organization. Your objective is to build strategies for the future by considering how to turn weaknesses into strengths and how to turn threats into opportunities. Based on the information below, what is the likely next step in this process?
Identify most relevant issues under each SWOT factor.
Identify items to be eliminated from the budget.
Prepare operational, resource, and project plans for implementation.
Conduct research to document assumptions.
Review the chart below, and answer the question that follows.
Based on the SWOT analysis below, as a manager, how might you capitalize on the opportunity to “identify/tap into staff hidden strengths”?
Conduct focus groups with employees to elicit information on their knowledge and interests.
Initiate employee suggestion/rewards system.
Solicit new ideas that might produce immediate changes/improvements.
Provide flexibility in how employees complete their work.
The Bush Administration developed and used the Program Assessment and Rating Tool (PART) as its principal means of tracking performance and assessing federal program effectiveness. Which of the following statements about PART’s pragmatism is true?
The performance measures apply to most agency programs.
Program data collection/outcome planning supports budget planning processes.
Budgetary caps are effective guidelines to shape program objectives.
Program measures were not effective in both shaping program improvements and informing budget allocations.
The strategic plan and all the steps associated with creating and implementing it boils down to results. Read the statements below. Which of the following factors are the most important in assessing the strength of your strategic plan?
I. Your plan goals are directly related to measurable outcomes. II. Performance measurements for employees define accountabilities that tie back to the measurement of plan goals. III. You begin by conducting both an internal assessment of the organization’s resources, people, and culture as well as an external assessment of the marketplace, technology, and economic cycles. IV. You have communicated with key partners or suppliers about the plan goals that might affect them.
II and III
II and IV
I and III
I and IV
What does the acronym SWOT stand for?
Sample, weigh, optimize, train
Strengths, work-plan, objectives, timing
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
Set goals, work-plan, objectives, timing
What makes a plan “strategic”?
Having committed organizational leaders
Determining the most effective allocation and use of resources
Setting challenging goals
Setting a timeline for implementation
Which form of evaluation assesses the extent to which a program is operating as intended and typically assesses program activities’ conformance to statutory and regulatory requirements, program design, and customer expectations?
Cost-benefit/cost effectiveness analyses
Which of the following defines a strategic plan?
Assessing the results of previous activities compared to expectations
Planning that relies heavily on an organization’s “capacity”
Both A and B
None of these answers
Which of the following statements about shaping your strategic plan is effectively instructive?
Ambiguous plan goals may lead to misinterpretation of the desired outcomes.
Focus your strategic plan goals to avoid overloading your plan with more than you can accomplish.
Strategic plans break down when they fail to identify who will be responsible for executing specific tasks.
Your strategic plan should be integrated into your operational plan.
Based on surveys taken by executive branch federal employees in 1992 and 2010, the most frequently cited wrongdoing that survey respondents reported having observed in the previous 12 months was “waste caused by a badly managed program.” Employees were reluctant to report this wasteful activity because of:
the belief that nothing would be done to correct the activity.
the fear of reprisals.
the fear of being labeled a traitor.
the fear of being accused of stepping outside of the internal chain of command.
Complete the following sentence. The Cooper model of ethical decision-making provides specific steps to follow in reaching a decision. In this model, “defining the issue” is described as being the most misinterpreted step. This step is about:
determining which ethical principles and values are involved.
determining the most ideal outcome.
defining the problem.
determining which decision to make.
Complete the following sentence. Whistleblowing is a matter of ethics, because:
it represents a person’s understanding of why an action might be harmful to public interests.
it encourages employers to make administrative activities more efficient and effective.
it prevents abuse of authority.
it reinforces self-regulation.
Employees are the most valuable asset that agencies have in their efforts to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse. Ultimately, the best way to ensure that employees will report wrongdoing is to do which of the following?
Create agency cultures that make it clear that management wants to stop wrongdoing.
Provide legal protections for whistleblowers that experience actual retaliation or threats of retaliation.
Expand efforts to create transparency in program activities.
Avoid agency cultures that make it clear that management wants to stop wrongdoing.
Ethics and accountability in government operations are essential in preventing a corrupt system. To ensure an unbiased system, which of the following bridges the gap between public perception and the performance of public service?
A system to monitor and control the quality of government activities
Ethics are principles that guide decision-making, and there are a variety of ethical theories to help shape that decision-making process. Read the statement below, and then indicate which ethical theory was violated.
“A governor borrowed a car from his local dealership to take it for a test drive. He kept the car for four years, during which the dealership won millions in state contracts.”
People should honor their obligations and duties.
The choice that yields the greatest benefit to the most people is the ethically correct choice.
The rights set forth by a society should be considered ethically correct and valid since the majority of the population endorses them.
A person should be judged by his character rather than by an action that may deviate from his normal behavior.
Public officials are constantly in search of additional revenue sources. Ethical questions have been posed by a small but vocal group of constituents who oppose several proposals included in the projected annual local budget. Proposals regarding which of the following might present an ethical dilemma for public officials?
Liquor licenses for grocery stores
Rezoning of wetlands and parklands for commercial development
The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), an organization that advances the practice of public administration, and the US Office of Government Ethics each have drafted a Code of Ethics. Which of the following practices do the two codes share?
Do not engage in financial transactions using nonpublic government information or allow the improper use of such information to further any private interest.
Promote the interests of the public and put service to the public above service to oneself.
Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including seeking or negotiating for employment, that conflict with official government duties and responsibilities.
Disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.
The Cooper model of ethical decision-making includes which of the following steps?
The descriptive task
Identifying alternative courses of action
Projecting the possible consequences
All of these answers
Which of the following is an example of whistleblowing?
A newspaper columnist writes a story reporting accounting fraud committed by city contractor.
An office administrator inflates the numbers in her official monthly reports.
An employee notifies OSHA that a trucking company requires its employees to drive in excess of OSHA’s hours-of-service regulations.
After having exhausted all internal reporting options, a former employee drops the issue once he switches jobs.
Which of the following represents a moral dilemma that a person working in public service faces?
Concern for the well-being of others
Courage in fighting injustice
Respect for the Constitution and other laws
All of these answers
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Course Designer: Heather Wyatt-Nichol