Governing is inherently normative work. Most public leaders face difficult moral dilemmas during their tenure—from deciding whether to grant an extremist group a permit to demonstrate, to choosing where to cut budgets in times of austerity, to determining whether and when to take a moral stance and speak out on a community conflict.
This set of materials is designed to help leaders understand and evaluate challenges with highly sensitive moral dimensions. Each of the cases focuses on a city leader forced to make a particular moral choice.
These cases can be used sequentially in a curriculum or as standalone cases for specific learning objectives.
The aims of these cases are to help students and practitioners:
Recognize the need for public leaders to grapple with moral dilemmas from a:
- Personal perspective (personal values and identity);
- Professional perspective (role obligations and opportunities); and
- Political perspective (community norms and stakeholder interests).
Use a conceptual framework to explore the tensions among these perspectives and guide moral reasoning and decision-making for public leaders.
Deepen their understanding of key concepts in:
- Moral philosophy (deontological vs. consequentialist orientations);
- Public administration (discretionary authority and role obligations, permissions, and prohibitions); and/or
- Leadership theory (adaptive leadership and leading change).
Reflect on their own reasoning and decision-making with regard to prior, current, or anticipated moral dilemmas and leadership challenges.
By Gaylen Moore, Christopher Robichaud, Jorrit de Jong, and Kimberlyn Leary
By Gaylen Moore, Jorrit de Jong, Kimberlyn Leary, and Christopher Robichaud
By Gaylen Moore, Christopher Robichaud, Jorrit de Jong, and Anna Burgess
By Gaylen Moore, Christopher Robichaud, Kimberlyn Leary, and Jorrit de Jong