Beyond the Integrity Paradox - towards 'good enough' governance

Mark Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This article understands integrity in public administration as a metaphor for the crafting of accountable, transparent, competent and responsive public administration underpinned by the concept of public value. It further argues that the design of effective integrity agencies requires a broad understanding of the obstacles to the achievement of integrity in public administration, the options for integrity reform and the appropriate strategic framework for implementing them. It concludes that integrity in public administration provides a methodology for achieving 'good enough' governance - a relative, evolving and culturally defined aspiration - otherwise known in mature democracies as representative, responsible and accountable government. It observes, however, that the achievement of integrity in public administration is as much a behavioural challenge as a problem of institutional design. Over the past two decades there has been a fascination with responding to integrity problems either through structural reform and the proliferation of integrity policy and processes to reinforce workplace integrity or by creating new institutions. These are often layered over existing institutions without due reflection on roles and responsibilities creating a crowded and inefficient policy and operational environment. Public organisations consequently spend a great deal of time, energy and resources on meeting compliance obligations rather than embedding integrity values in the hearts and minds of public servants. The removal of this integrity paradox remains the central challenge for integrity reform in Australia and has strong cadences in other Westminster style democracies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-113
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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