Public Administration: The 4 Core Values

Public administrators must conduct themselves in a manner that shows the public that they are trustworthy. This means adhering to core values for the safety and good of the public. There are four core values established by the NASPAA: professional, democratic, ethical, and human. Take a closer look at what each of these public service values entails. They are all important if you wish to pursue a public administration degree.


Being a public administrator comes with a degree of prestige because of the public spotlight. Therefore, public administrators must always act professionally. Anything they do can damage their reputation. This is the first core value and means dressing appropriately and acting fairly to the public. Professional values incorporate character traits such as responsibility, dependability, efficiency, competence, objectivity, and confidence.


After professional values comes ethical values. Public administrators must act with integrity in all of their doings to earn public trust. Integrity means always being honest and fair, whether it is with neighbors, friends, or businesses. Everything a public administrator does and says can be looked upon by the public. Many public administrators have been caught deceiving the public or acting unethically, and it often ruins their careers. Public administrators must always show integrity and be mindful of laws and regulations. They must not use their power in the wrong way. If you want to become a public administrator, you must be willing to be under constant scrutiny by the public.


Public administrators are employed by the public and held accountable for their words and actions. Democratic values involve accountability and dependability. Essentially, this means being professional in all ways and doing what you say you’re going to do. Without accountability, public trust cannot be established. Additionally, public administrators need to ensure the public has access to information by being as transparent as possible. It is the goal of public administrators to serve the public, not keep secrets from them. All decisions must be diplomatic and with the public’s best interest in mind.


Objectivity is the last public administration core value. It entails respect, equality, and fairness. It doesn’t matter whether someone has money or not, they must be treated fairly. Discrimination plagues the world, and it is a public administrator’s job to make sure that the laws created do not infringe on any person’s rights. Everyone should be treated equally and with respect.

It is never ok for a public administrator to belittle anyone based on political, cultural, or religious beliefs because that is not acting professionally. It is ok to have opinions, but this core public administration value means that everyone should be treated fairly regardless of socioeconomic status.

Public service values are what shape a good public administrator. However, these core values are more than just beliefs and principles; they are motivations that incite actions. Public administrators must adhere to all the core values to earn public trust. You must learn them, too, if you want to be a public administrator.