Enhancing an Ethical Culture in Government Departments through Purpose-Driven Leadership for Delivering Improved Service to the Public: The Case of South Africa


  • Nirmala Dorasamy
  • Ravinder Rena


Unethical Behaviour, Purpose Driven Leadership, Public Service


This article argues that unethical behavior in the public service has a great impact on the quality of service delivery to the public and that ethical and purpose-driven leadership becomes the driving force in delivering what is to be achieved. The fundamental purpose of creating government departments is to provide satisfactory services to the general public. An ethical culture underpinning purpose-driven leadership is viewed as an effective approach that will promote the broader interests of society in respect of service delivery to the public. A review of literature and reports by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the media suggest that quality public service delivery has been badly affected due to a lack of ethical culture within a purpose-driven leadership. Public leaders must therefore use the organizational purpose as a frame of reference in the execution of their responsibilities so that public needs can be best achieved, without compromising ethical behavior. By adhering to the purpose, the principles of public service delivery beyond personal aspirations and ambitions can be prioritized.