This article aims to provide clarity on the contextual confusion that exists
between ethics, integrity and its associated terminology. A review of public
administration theories related to ethics and integrity is traced back to
early philosophers’ thinking, after which the social contract is discussed.
Countries have developed and implemented codes of conduct and
frameworks for preventing and managing ethics and integrity in the public
service. The article analyses the context and effectiveness on both the
preventive and management fronts using qualitative research methods to
present an overview of ethics, integrity and related concepts, the changing
and growing nature of ethics and integrity in public administration, ethics
frameworks and whistle-blowing as a means to clamp down on corruption.
As act-focused interventions fail to address ethical and integrity issues, the
article argues that actor-based approaches focused on public servants present
a robust complementary approach to curb vices. The article concludes
by presenting possible areas for future research on ethics and integrity in