Career – Behavior Models
Every elected, appointed, and career official must exercise judgment and discretion in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of office. Society depends upon their conscientious judgment and skill to provide the foundations of public order. A theory of public integrity can guide these public officials in exercising judgment and discretion.
By public official it means any individual who holds any position at any level of government or public authority. Obviously effective discretion, obligation, and responsibility associated with public office vary immensely. As a general rule the level of discretion increases directly with an office position in the hierarchy of authority, although street-level bureaucrats can also possess immense discretion. Discretion, along with the directness of accountability, also expands tremendously if an official is elected. Yet the moral structure of discretion remains essentially the same for all officials because they are all charged to obey and implement the law and respect legal process in exercising their power and judgment
Three models have traditionally been offered to resolve the conflicts between public discretion and liberal, democratic life.
The legal institutional model emphasizes the public official, subordination to legal and institutional authority, which has been refined by popular participation model argues that personal responsibility should the personal-responsibility be incorporated in judgments of public officials.
The effectiveness or implementation model it depends of the inescapable discretion and political dimension of all judgments made by public officials, even those in the middle ranks and at the street level; this model posits the need to use power to be flexible, and to act effectively in general each model accentuates one set of standards at the expense of others.
The question of public discretion and judgment can be thought of as an inquiry into what standards and considerations individuals in office should use to frame their judgments. Each model identifies one crucial domain of reason to good public judgment.
However that none of the models covers the entire range of moral resources that public officials need. Additionally, each domain by itself can generate abuses inherent in its logic and abuses can be avoided only by ensuring that each domain reinforces and checks the other two.
A theory that will frame the exercise of official discretion and judgment must meet several standards it should be compatible with the moral and constitutional foundations of liberal and democratic government and should do justice to the legal and political warrants of office. It should and public discretion in a way that plausibly connects and supports official authority without “checking” value personal integrity offers.
Last it should be true to the reducing to political demands of effectiveness and prudence without expediency. Because one of the above models alone meets all three standards, initiative and psychological state that anchors personal responsibility and judgment. As its root meaning suggests, integrity flows from the capacity to integrate different parts of oneself into a whole or completeness. Individuals achieve integrity when they make sense of their multiple obligations or roles in a manner that creates coherence or wholeness across the different aspects of their life.
People of integrity possess the capacity to hold the triangle of judgment and its three domains in a productive tension and to resist obstacles in living up to their obligations. They also have the capacity to change their commitments and actions after reflective judgment.