Working Ethically

Subject PADM90009 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

September, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 28-Aug-2016
Teaching Period 05-Sep-2016 to 18-Sep-2016
Assessment Period End 20-Oct-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 29-Aug-2016
Census Date 14-Sep-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 07-Oct-2016

This subject will run from 9am until 5pm on each scheduled day.

Note: During the pre-teaching period, students will be required to access the LMS and the readings provided in order to prepare for the first assessment task, which is due prior to the start of face-to-face teaching. Students will be able to contact the subject coordinator for support during the pre-teaching period.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: This subject is comprised of seminars and workshops delivered as an intensive over 3 days (approx 24 hours total)
Total Time Commitment:

Total 170 hours


Admission to the Master of Public Administration program and successful completion of the following subject:PADM90007 The World of Public Administration

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Previous study in public policy, political science, management, law, business, economics, international relations, non-profit management or cognate area.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Daniel Halliday


Subject Overview:

Working Ethically is one of the core subjects in the Melbourne Master of Public Administration. The Melbourne MPA is an interdisciplinary, globally-focused degree program for managers that work within or with government. This subject is one of three professionally-oriented subjects and it builds on the World of Public Administration and the core discipline subjects to develop the professional skills of participants with a particular focus on ethics.

The course provides students with an advanced understanding of ethics as they apply to the individual in their managerial role, but also in the design and implementation of public outcomes more broadly. This subject situates these challenges in their social, theoretical, historical and disciplinary contexts to provide participants with a strong foundation for their application in practice. The subject draws in particular on key ideas from philosophy to guide participants in working ethically as individual managers and leaders, but also more broadly facing the ethical dilemmas that managers confront in complex policy and governing environments. It will place a particular emphasis on the complex relationship between scientific advancement and the challenges this poses to policy makers and public managers.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • Understand key ethical challenges facing managers in practice and develop an appreciation of how to address them;
  • Acquire knowledge of the social, theoretical, historical and disciplinary factors that underpin ethics in practice;
  • Learn to recognise the distinction between ethically designed institutions and the ethics of action made within given institutional realities;
  • Appreciate how to make decisions and provide advice in complex policy and governing environments.

Assessment Task 1: Practice application paper of 1000 words where students write up a practical issue related to key themes in the subject (20%), due in the first week of the teaching period (note: this is prior to face-to-face teaching)

Assessment Task 2: Syndicate project (1500-word equivalent per individual) (30%):

  • Group presentation (500-word equivalent per individual), scheduled during the third week of the teaching period.
  • Group paper exploring a key aspect of the group presentation (1000-word equivalent per individual), due three weeks after the teaching period.

Assessment Task 3: Professional reflection paper of 2500 words where students apply key concepts from the course to the practical issue from assessment task 1 (50%), due one month after the teaching period.

Hurdle requirement: Hurdle requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 100% of classes in order to pass this subject and regular class participation is expected.

Prescribed Texts:

Participants are required to read the following prior to commencement of the subject: Jonathan Wolff (2011) Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry, Routledge, New York.

All other readings will be provided via the LMS

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have:

  • A sound understanding of moral theory and applied ethics and their implications for public management processes and decisions;
  • A high-level ability to combine moral and political theory and professional practice in a meaningful way in order to generate responses to both ethical and managerial challenges;
  • The skills and capabilities to reflect upon professional practice in order to meet ethical challenges at the individual and institutional level;
  • The ability to draw upon an extensive repertoire of advanced professional skills and to apply these skills with an awareness of the ethical implications of strategies and decisions.
Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Specialist Certificate in Public Administration

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