Codification and Ethos of Office: Contextualising a Codex-solution Introduced in the Danish Central Administration

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In this chapter, we contextualise an ethical codex introduced in the Danish Central Administration. As a management tool, the codex is intended to curb a mounting distrust induced by a number of political-administrative scandals. This is attempted via a revitalisation of classical bureaucratic duties. At the same time, the codex’s attempt at restoring trust is challenged by a number of obstacles. Launching our exploration from an ethos of office-perspective, we contextualise the codex in three dimensions: an organisational dimension, a semantic dimension and a training dimension. From this three-pronged analysis, we show how a number of historical and contemporary obstacles work counter to the codex’s stated attempt to revitalise the ethos of the civil servants. Building on these analyses, we discuss the tensions between official and private selves in particular ethical training exercises as well as the implications the codex brings with it, including a possible obscuring of political-administrative responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBureaucracy and Society in Transition
EditorsHaldor Byrkjeflot, Fredrik Engelstad
Number of pages21
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9781787432840
ISBN (Electronic)9781787432833, 9781787439221
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Codes
  • Codification
  • Ethics
  • Public service
  • Office-holding
  • Organisation
  • Bureaucracy

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