“Accountability and the Evil of Administrative Ethics.” with Jonathan B. Justice.. ADMINISTRATION & SOCIETY 38 (2) May 2006:236-267.
Scholars of administrative ethics have recently been attentive to the problem of so-called administrative evil. The authors argue that evil can be understood as a socially constructed category of agents and acts specific to particular circumstances and moral communities, and the authors apply a framework of accountability to reflect the dynamics of that constructed reality. Selected examples of efforts to hold evil actors accountable or otherwise to account for evil acts illustrate a paradox: Responses to so-called evil may themselves be labeled evil in hindsight or by members of other contemporaneous communities. In light of this paradox and attendant ethical dilemmas, the authors argue that conventional ethical and behavioral prescriptions are necessary but insufficient protections against catastrophic mis-, mal-, or nonfeasance in and by organizations.