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Ethics, parliaments and members: learning to think ethically
Monash University.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Division of Visual Information and Interaction. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computerized Image Analysis and Human-Computer Interaction.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3806-5216
2014 (English)In: Challenges of contemporay governance, Montreal: The International Political Science Association , 2014Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Parliamentary democracies are conceptualised as complex evolving socio-political systems in which the parliament is the apex institution through which the community determines the rules and standards applying to individuals, executive government, business, other organisations and relationships within the community and across its borders. As the apex institution, assessing the failings of the parliament provide an opportunity to examine the functioning of the system as a whole. A key factor affecting parliament’s reputation, effectiveness and legitimacy is ethical conduct by its elected members. Whilst members of the political Executive bear heavier responsibilities, all members of a parliament have a duty to behave in ways that enhance rather than detract from the parliament’s performance of its roles and its legitimacy. Compliance with accepted ethical standards of conduct relies on a culture of acceptance and compliance, detection of breaches and sanctions for wrong-doing. The realisation of the prospects of detection and of sanctions facilitates a culture of compliance. A culture of compliance reduces the transaction costs of social exchanges, leaving more resources available to the institution of parliament and its elected members to fulfil the roles of the institution. Accordingly, it is in the long-term interests of both the parliament and its members that individual members practice high levels of ethical competence in the conduct of their parliamentary responsibilities. The paper reports research findings in an international study of formal induction and further development programmes in representative parliaments. Information was collected from members of national parliaments and trainers through surveys (including an innovative measure of ethical competence) and via interviews. Approaches to training relating to ethical conduct were found to vary widely, with some parliamentary induction programmes giving it considerable attention whilst others eschewed the topic. The paper concludes with comments on further research into how elected office holders (such as members of parliament) acquire, develop and sustain ethical competence, including the effectiveness of learning techniques focused on ethical behaviour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Montreal: The International Political Science Association , 2014.
Keyword [en]
ethics, politicians, parliamentarians, competence, learning, education, moral
National Category
Ethics Philosophy Political Science Educational Sciences Psychology
Research subject
Human-Computer Interaction
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-238367ISBN: 978-2-924444-01-06OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-238367DiVA: diva2:770964
IPSA, 23rd Congrss of Political Science
Available from: 2014-12-11 Created: 2014-12-11 Last updated: 2014-12-17

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