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The Profession of Public Administration: An Ethics Edge in Introductory Textbooks?



Given the substantial interest in public service ethics, this study examines its foundations as reflected in paradigmatic textbooks—a unit of analysis that informs both theory and practice in the field. The interpretative framework employed evaluates the context (the amount and placement of the topic, the use of graphics, and sources cited) as well as the content (conceptualization of management ethics and inclusion of implementation issues) of ethics found in the publications. A limited definition of a professional—one in possession of largely technical skills—is reflected in the textbooks. The implications of the findings are explored.