ELITE ETHICS: What is Valued Most by Politicians, Bureaucrats and Business Managers? |

ELITE ETHICS: What is Valued Most by Politicians, Bureaucrats and Business Managers?


The major role that moral norms and values seemed to have played in the last two U.S. elections, but also in the latest Dutch, German and French elections, has recently intensified the debate on which values and norms should guide societal, political and administrative conduct. As Geoffrey Nunberg, a Stanford-based expert on language and politics has pointed out: “Everybody is using the ‘V word’ now.” This goes for modern-day business discourse as well, with corporate social responsibility as a key concept and the current global financial crisis as an accelerating force. All this enlarges the need for more understanding on what we are talking about when values are concerned and which values are actually important in different spheres of society. This seminar addresses the values and norms that should have weight in public and private sector conduct according to theory as well as the actual norms and values that dominate administrative and corporate decision making, based on van der Wal’s empirical research. Attention is also attributed to studies on values and norms of the prospective elite in both sectors: MPA and MBA students in the Netherlands and abroad. The last part of the seminar will have as its topic the international comparative research project, elite ethics, which will run from 2009 until 2012, in the US, the EU and the Pacific region. The project aims at answering the following central research question: Which personal, institutional and public values and motives drive and guide political and bureaucratic leaders in Western democracies?

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Zeger van der Wal, Assistant Professor, Department of Governance Studies, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tuesday, 12 January 2010
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 2-1
Level 2, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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