.Ethics in Pulbic are very different from the ethics in our private lives. Its very important for an administrator to understand the concept and differences of  public Ethics  and ethics in private relationships. this topic can also help the UPSC aspirant to deatl with the case studies Questions in the UPSC Mains Paper GS 4 Paper Ethics paper. So the aspirants should properly understand the topic and make notes out of It.


  • Ethics in Public Relationships
  • Ethics in Private Relationships




Ethics in private relationship are generally directed by individual virtues, universal human values, religion, social norms and law of land. Therefore they comprise limited influencing factor. Ethic makes for action that one can defend publicly and comfortably. These actions are those that not only owns oneself but also the community can live with. Ethics in private relationship are also checked by private religious law. Individual familial and community obligations have long been written into law and supported by serious sanctions from ancient time to today’s inheritance divorce, marriage and other law. In India, along with moral codes, religious institutions and constitution provision governs ethical issues in private relationship

Characteristics of Private Relationship

Love and care: These emotions are the bedrock of private relationships and also sustain them. Such relationships are not driven by rules or quid pro quo but by human emotions. For instance, one can always find family by their side regardless of the circumstances.

Confidentiality: Private relations require secrecy and privacy, as opposed to public relationships. It is required to maintain sanctity of the relationship. For example, politicians in India shy away from disclosing their personal lives to the public and keep it separate from professional life.

Truthfulness: Private relations are based upon truth and trust. Since there are no rules and regulations, trust matters the most. Trust also strengthens the bonds in private relationships. For instance, husband and wife expect each other to be truthful to each other above all else.

Responsibility: Our private life often creates responsibility for us towards different people. This is because people have some emotional or practical expectations from each other. For example, spouses, friends expect certain kinds of behaviour from each other. In some private relationships, there are social responsibilities which must be fulfilled. For instance, parents are responsible for the upbringing of their children.

Perseverance: We must ensure stability and harmony in our private relations. This often requires persistent effort by both parties during the times of discord. For instance, spouses often get into fights after which they are expected to cooperate to preserve the relationship.


Public relationship are more instrumental such as organizational colleagues, politicians, strangers, and other outside of one’s relatively narrow circle of intimacy. Public Relation is a management function that engages monitoring and evaluating public attitudes and maintaining mutual relations and understanding between an organization and its public. Public could include shareholders, government, consumers, employees and the media. It is the action of getting along with people we constantly come in touch with. Public relation officers guarantee internal unity in the company by maintaining a clear communications network between the management and personnel. Its major objective is to improve channels of communication and to establish new ways of setting up a two-way flow of information and understanding.

Public relation is often understood as an occupation that is always working behind the scenes, gliding in and out troubled situations. But Public relation is also often considered to be a corporate conscience which fits well with the business ethics of social responsibility.

Ethics in public relations can come into play at:

  • Social Ethics – tolerance towards other sections, peace and harmony etc.
  • Political Ethics  – constitutional ethics, national interest etc.
  • Organisational Ethics – impartiality, honesty, hard work, efficiency, corporate governance etc.
  • International Ethics – ethics in diplomacy, respecting international treaties etc.

Characteristics of Public Relationship

Openness: Public relationships require transparency in their dealings. All parties are expected to provide complete information on all matters to each other for the sake of fairness. Openness also increases confidence of parties in each other. For instance, companies are expected to publish their annual reports with all their financial details for the shareholders.

Honesty and integrity: It is expected that true information will be provided in public dealings without any errors or deception. Parties are also expected to remain true to their word and not break promises. For instance, in politics, promises given by politicians to people or other politicians must be kept or otherwise, they lose their credibility.

Respect: Due respect and courtesy is expected in public relationships in accordance with conventions, code of conduct For example, we should behave politely and respectfully with our neighbours, strangers on the road etc. in order to ensure a stable and harmonious social order.

Rule of law: Parties in a public relationship must mutually abide by the law of the land and conduct their dealings accordingly. Rule of law is necessary to ensure equality and fairness among different entities and also to ensure justice in case of wrongdoing. For example, relationship between a consumer and seller is regulated by the Consumer Protection Act 1986.

Equality and uniformity: In public relationships, one must treat everyone equally and uniformly. This is necessary to ensure a level playing field, fair competition, quality service etc. For example, civil servants must treat all individuals equally irrespective of their caste, class, religion etc.

Accountability: In public dealings, we must hold ourselves accountable with same standards as we expect from others. Accountability is essential to enforcing the norms of public relationships. People want their administrators, politicians, industries to be accountable to them.

The above articles gives detailed explainations of what is required in Ethics regarding Public and personal life. All IAS Aspirants should be well aware of these ethics requirements as these qualities will make them an excellent administrator . to read more on Ethics topic Click here