Contribution of ethics education to public administration students’ moral competence development

Everton Silveira de Souza, Maurício C. Serafim, Lais Silveira Santos


Moral dilemmas permeate the public sphere, inasmuch as a solution rarely is explicit in books or in codes of ethics. Therefore, it is fundamental that public managers embrace yourselves with the capacity to deal with these complex situations. Moral competence is an ability that can support the administrator in dealing with moral dilemmas, given that such capacity is susceptible of being influenced by educational processes. The primary goal of this research is to analyze how the ethics education can nurture the development of moral competence. To that intent, this paper analyses the influence of the discipline of ethics in public administration on moral competence (score C) of students, measured by the Moral Competence Test (MCT). From the quantitative perspective of this research, the mentioned discipline did not influence the development of the moral competence of the students. Notwithstanding, qualitative data indicates that students had a positive impact over their theoretical repertoire, as a result of the teaching of moral theories, used as a basis for formulating arguments. In order to effectively raise students' moral competence, it’s highly recommended to conduct the discipline of ethics from an active teaching methodology, suggesting the inclusion of debates about moral dilemmas in the classroom.


moral competence development; moral competence test; teaching of ethics; public administration


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Copyright (c) 2019 Everton Silveira de Souza, Maurício C. Serafim, Lais Silveira Santos


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