Ethics in Private and Public Relationships

Administrative Ethics

Ethics in Public relationships refers to those ethical/moral standards which are required to followed by an individual (or civil servant) when dealing with the public while performing his/her duties.

Salient features:

  • They are governed by a code of conduct/code of ethics
  • They include values like honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, selflessness etc.
  • They have an influence on a large number of people.
  • They are formal in nature.
  • They are based on rules and regulations and do not involve any conditions.
  • They involve both responsibility and accountability.
  • In case of violation, there can be legal, social, and professional implications.

Ethics in Private relations:

It refers to those ethical/moral standards which are to be followed by an individual (or civil servant) in his/her personal/ private life. It involves the relationships of a person with his/her spouse, children, parents etc.   

Salient features:

  • They have influence on limited number of people.
  • They involves more intimacy.
  • They are governed by love, belief, feelings and emotions.
  • No punishment for violations but there can be social implications eg. loss of social prestige.
  • They are subjective in nature.
  • They are based on values like love, affection, sacrifice, forgiveness etc.

Ethics in public and private relations are not two separate spheres i.e they coincide with each other and no relation is either fully public or private.


Now a question comes which should be given priority if there comes a conflict between public and private relations.

To deal with the above situation a person should give importance to the role which he/she is playing in that particular situation. Let’s say if a person is holding a public office then he/she should give importance to public relations.

How Public and Private Relations affect each other 

  • There can be elements of privacy in public relations as well like an officer can feel an emotional attachment to his subordinates.
  • Private relations also affect public relations like if the family relations of a person are tense, it will reflect in his/her work and he/she will not be able to perform duties effectively.
  • If a person gives more importance to public relations and very less importance to private/personal relations, then his/her personal life will be disturbed which in turn may affect his/her public relations or performance on work.
  • A person learns values like love, care, belief, empathy etc. which can be helpful in public life as well. 
  • Values of public relations like honesty, integrity etc. can be implemented in private relations as well.

There should be harmony and balance between the public and private relations to live a happy and peaceful public and private life because both can affect each other positively and negatively.    

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