Melbourne School of Government and School of Social and Political Sciences
How Thinking About Misery and Misfortune Can Help us to Bring Ethics Back into Public Administration and Management
Public administration and management scholars focus much attention on the dynamics of the state; its moving shape, scope and scale, and the ideological and political pressures that catalyze change We explore how the role of the state has changed, and how the increasing fragmentation and disarticulation of the state raises new issues, and reshapes old ones. As more of what governments want to achieve is carried out by others, however, we have not fully grasped the ethical and philosophical challenges that confront us.
By focusing so much on the big structural questions of government and governing, or the practical challenges of managing in this changing environment, public administration and management scholars have allowed important ethical issues to be marginalized. Over time the ethical issues emerging from a more fractured and disarticulated state have accumulated and now pose major challenges for state practice, and for scholars thinking about them. Through an exploration of her current work on the changing role of the state and the creation and evolution of markets for misery and misfortune, Professor Janine O'Flynn will start to sketch out these issues, and the potential for us to shape future practice.
Janine O'Flynn is Professor of Public Management at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). Her expertise is in public management, in particular, reform and relationships. Her most recent major works are Evaluating Outcomes in Health and Social Care (with H. Dickinson, Policy Press 2016), and Crossing Boundaries in Public Management and Policy (with D. Blackman and J. Halligan, Routledge 2014). Her Rethinking Public Service Delivery: Managing with External Providers (with J. Alford, Palgrave 2012) was awarded the Best Book of the Year prize in the Public-Nonprofit Division of the United States Academy of Management in 2014. Her next book will focus on the creation and evolution of markets that trade in human misery and misfortune (Polity Press).
Janine is one of the Editors of the Australian Journal of Public Administration. She also sits on the Editorial Boards for Public Administration, Public Administration Review, Canadian Public Administration, Teaching Public Administration, and the Journal of Management and Organisation.
In 2017, she was part of a research team awarded the Louis Brownlow Award for best paper in Public Administration Review. This team was awarded both the Charles H Levine and the Carlo Masini awards at the Academy of Management conference in the United States and, in 2014, they were nominated for the Carolyn Dexter award at the same conference. These awards were based on a multi-year collaborative research project with the Australian Public Service Commission, Strengthening the Performance Framework, which focused on developing principles for a high performance public service and drew on the expertise of practitioners and scholars.
Since 2012, Janine has been an Executive Board Member of the International Research Society for Public Management and she was made a Fellow (Victoria) of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) in 2013.
Dr Alida Lancee, General Practitioner
Moral Dilemmas for Doctors and Society in End of Life Care
Alida Lancee is a Perth doctor currently under police investigation for murder after openly declaring her assistance to stop the suffering of a terminally ill woman with end stage lung disease.
She will discuss the moral dilemmas faced by every health practitioner in their care of a physically weakened suffering terminally ill patient who requires large doses of medication to relieve their suffering knowing that this medication may also hasten the patients death. The Criminal Code drafted in 1913 does not differentiate between this compassionate care and wilful murder. Once charged, it would be up to the doctor to prove the “doctine of double effect” was applicable thought the court of law.
Some questions that arise include:
- Is death always bad?
- Is the doctor obliged to relief suffering even if this hastens death?
- Is the relief of this suffering needed as quickly as possible or gradually with incremental dose increases over days to weeks? Who should make this decision?
- Is dying a medical matter or a personal normal human experience?
- Is the request of a suffering terminally ill patient, to help them to die quickly in order to stop their suffering, justification for a doctor to tempt the grey area in the Criminal Code and risk criminal charges?
- Is our society doing the best it can to allow the grey area in the Law to be used by some doctors or is clarification and end of life law reform needed?
- Why has our society rejected 51 assisted dying bills to date?
- Are there morally right answers to these questions?
Alida will explore some of these questions using illustrations of her decisions in her care of terminally ill patients, her decision to challenge the 1913 WA Criminal Code, what she has learned since that challenge and her philosophy on the human experience.
Alida Lancee graduated medical school at UWA in 1990. She underwent post graduate training to attain fellowship of the Royal Australian College of GP’s. She set up a general practice in a semi-rural town offering cradle-to-the-grave medical care to local families for over 25 years. She is married and has four daughters.
She undertook further education in palliative care and was able to provide community based end of life care allowing many of her patients to achieve a “good death”. This was achieved through open communication, support, symptom control and above all by giving the patients and their families control over all health care decisions. Silver chain hospice services were invaluable in their support to the patients and families.
Alida stopped providing end of life care when a nurse threatened to “alert the authorities” about Alida’s intention to provide increased sedation and painkillers to a dying patient in a nursing home because the initial dose proved insufficient to control her suffering. The nurse refused to administer this increased dose, because “it might kill her”. The consequence was that the patient suffered for another 48 hours before she died.
Stopping such needless end of life suffering is what fuels her determination to promote end of life law reform.
Democratic Business Ethics, or, Why Business Ethics is Too Important to Be Left in the Hands of Business
There is an established body of politically informed scholarly work that offers a sustained critique of how corporate business ethics is a form of organizing that acts as a subterfuge to facilitate the expansion of corporate sovereignty. This paper contributes to that work by using its critique as the basis for theorising an alternative form of ethics for corporations. The paper theorises an ethics that locates corporations in the democratic sphere so as to defy their professed ability to organize ethics in a self-sufficient and autonomous manner. This ‘democratic business ethics’ is one where citizens and the institutions of civil society hold corporations to account for their actions, and in so doing disrupt corporate sovereignty. This ethics finds practical purchase in forms of dissent that redirect power away from centres of organized wealth and capital, returning it to its democratically rightful place with the people, with society.
Carl Rhodes is Professor of Organization Studies and Head of the Management Discipline at UTS Business School in Sydney, Australia. His research critically investigates ethico-political dimensions of organisations and working life, with a special focus on justice, equality, resistance, dissent and democracy. Carl’s most recent books are The Companion to Ethics and Politics in Organizations (Routledge, 2015 with Alison Pullen), and Organizations and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2012 with Simon Lilley). He is currently working on a new book, The CEO Society (Zed, with Peter Bloom) which will be published in 2017. Carl sits on the editorial boards of the journals Gender, Work and Organization, Human Relations. Journal of Business Ethics, Organization, and Organization Studies.