Diverse Perspectives in Decision Making
One thing that influences decision making in an organization is the makeup of the organization and the group that is making the decision. Is there diversity in thought and perspectives? How about diversity in ethnicity? Or is there a group that is completely monotone where group think prevails? Take a look at this TedTalk on willful blindness (
). How would this play in a public organization? Can you think of examples? If people offer divergent views are they appreciated in your organization? Does someone have to invoke whistleblower protections to make their voice heard?
Now let’s apply these concepts to Flint, Michigan. You have all seen this in the headlines. Flint has a major health crisis because of lead leaking into its water. Take a look at the progression of how this crisis came to light. Keep in mind the video you just watched on willful blindness as you note ALL the public/governmental agencies involved along the way.
Was there willful blindness in Flint? Or are public official more directly culpable?
At this writing, four officials had been charged and a dozen others in relation to a Legionnaires outbreak during the crisis. These included emergency managers and finance officials. Note they are just charged at this point. How do you think the court will rule? Were they criminally liable? Legally not liable but ethically wrong?
Decision making can be challenging, and it is made more challenging when ethical issues become part of the process. Ethical decision making can be complicated, and scholars do not agree on the best way to approach it. For public administrators, the best approach is to always remember that their objective is to serve the public interest. As such, they should practice ethics and make decisions that support the principles and values promoted by their government organizations and agencies.
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Dan Dootson EdCC Visual Media Services. (2015). “Ethics in Public Service,” David B. Killeen Part 1 of 4. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyxxAuZNbTQ
Dan Dootson EdCC Visual Media Services. (2015). “Ethics in Public Service,” David B. Killeen Part 2 of 4. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ricimw7so00
Dan Dootson EdCC Visual Media Services. (2015). “Ethics in Public Service,” David B. Killeen Part 3 of 4. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7M99Be0SOQ
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Kennedy, M. (2016, April 20). Lead-Laced Water In Flint: A Step-By-Step Look At The Makings Of A Crisis. The Two-Way Breaking News From NPR. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/20/465545378/lead-laced-water-in-flint-a-step-by-step-look-at-the-makings-of-a-crisis.
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Sandel, Michael. (2005). Michael Sandel at Justice with Michael Sandel, What’s the right thing to do? Retrieved from https://embed.ted.com/talks/michael_sandel_what_s_the_right_thing_to_do