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  • 24 Aug 2022 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions

    Day 45: What are the five ethical characteristics that can be used to predict a civil servant's effectiveness? Explain why they belong in the matrix. (150 Words)

    • Start the answer by writing about ethics and need for ethical training for civil servant.
    • Explain ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant.
    • Also justify their inclusion in the matrix (ethical traits needed for civil servants).


    Ethics can be defined as a set of “moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conduct of an activity”. Ethics relates primarily to the nature of ultimate values and standards set by society.

    For a civil servant, acting ethically is of utmost importance. A civil servant is supposed to possess the virtues of objectivity and impartiality. The five ethical traits – Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Objectivity, and Selflessness – form the ethical foundation of a civil servant and other values like nonpartisanship, tolerance, responsiveness can emanate from them. A matrix of ethical traits is discussed below, which is beneficial in performance evaluation of civil servants which human actions can be judged. Ethics are a subjective standard of rights and wrong.


    • Important for elimination of corruption.
    • Leadership quality to act as a role model for others.
    • Best utilization of public resources and pursuit of professional excellence.


    • An element of Emotional Intelligence.
    • Self-motivation to work for the weak and brings empathy towards them.
    • Outcome and effectiveness orientation.


    • Makes administration transparent and public oriented.
    • Builds public trust and deters unethical conduct.
    • Makes civil servants answerable for their conduct and decisions.


    • Decisions based on merit without personal bias.
    • Makes a civil servant impartial and non-partisanship.
    • Fairness in action and tolerance towards opposing views.
    • Efficiency orientation.


    • Prevents misuse of entrusted public resources and authority.
    • Helps in resolving conflicts of interest, countering nepotism and cronyism.

    These traits ensure that a civil servant fulfills his professional obligation even in adverse situations. The ideal training programme for a civil servant should be a mix of ethical traits, procedural rules and practical situations.

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