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Unethical Behavior in the Anambra State Civil Service of Nigeria

Info: 8158 words (33 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tagged: International StudiesPoliticsPublic Sector




This chapter includes an in-depth literature review on service delivery in public organizations, and particularly, the incidences of unethical behavior in the Anambra State Civil Service of Nigeria. Civil service ethics is more than the mere definition of actions complying or not complying with the law, legislation defines the minimum criteria of civil service ethics, and this ensures a high level of operations in the State administration (Ministry of Finance, 2000, p.5). Following a description of the research strategy, the literature review provides a comprehensive examination of the literature on public service delivery, followed by a contextual exposition of the origins of the Civil Service in the Anambra State of Nigeria, the systems theory approach and structuralism, and concludes with an examination of unethical behavior and the theoretical foundation of ethics in organizations.

Research Strategy

To begin, a review of research strategies will be presented to assist in locating articles for future reference. Google scholar Info was accessed using the general search terms “unethical” and “ethical” as the root of all inquiries. With these terms, other search words such as “official” “civil service,” “services,” “delivery”  “society” were used to narrow the search. “From articles found through these search strategies a review of references of previous authors were utilized and was conducted to locate additional resources the general search did not discover.” Walden University online library provided many of the needed articles for this review. Also, the University of Toronto Library, and the Toronto Public Library provided an additional source to locate articles not found online. The remaining contents of this literature review will highlight seminal research that is evidence of various scholar views and perspectives on unethical behavior. It will provide a better understanding of unethical practice in the Anambra State Civil Service. This review will also shed light on the experience of officials concerning the services the Anambra State Civil Service provides to the general public. Finally, a review of the impact of unethical behavior attempt to provide insight into the civil service officials departure from ethical roles of the civil service administration

Review of Literature

This review identifies several streams of thought from diverse scholarly works concerning public service delivery. The notable authors of these works include Tommasoli (2012), Omar (2009), Achimugun (2013), Oyedele (2015), Awoyinfa (2010), and others who have variously described their perspectives on the subject of public service delivery.  In a similar view, Tommasoli (2012) describes service delivery as a set of principles, standards, and policies used to guide development and services delivered to the citizenry. Reacting to this assertion, Omar (2009) criticized the poor services delivery system in Nigeria, noting that the communities lack good drinking water, disposal systems, poor healthcare, inadequate housing, schools, and recreational facilities. Understandably, a public service delivery system is the necessary condition for achieving national socioeconomic development. In the case of Malaysia, the government has made public service delivery part and parcel of national development.   Raliannan, Raman, and Dorasamy (2007) stated that in the last decade (2000-2010), concerted efforts were undertaken to provide a stronger platform for Malaysia’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy. The expectations are high, and the citizens now expect services to be equally accessible and convenient. Xu (2013) believes that the provision of public goods is crucial to development; access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation, transport, healthcare, and schooling not only increases individual well-being but also serves as an input for aggregate production.  Following this discourse, Huhne (2013) affirms that the civil service should matter to anyone who believes ineffective government and management of the public space; if the State doesn’t work, it can’t deliver change. Huhne (2013) again opined that the U.K.’s civil service needs reform for government to work better, stating that David Cameron is dead against an inquiry into the civil service because he believes Francis Maude’s reform plan is enough. Despite these widely accepted views, public service in Nigeria is characterized by poor service delivery in the area of healthcare, power supply, roads, drinking water, sewage, disposal systems and so forth. The seminal work by Achimugun (2013) evaluates how the…government performs in Nigeria with regards to its internal workings and service delivery). The findings, according to Achimugun (2013) were underperformance caused by corruption, inefficient administrative processes and the people’s input being left out. Hammer and Champy made the same contention (1993), stated that one of the worst things that can happen to a system is to re-engineer through the unneeded process. In doing so, time and precious resources are unnecessarily consumed. That being the case, Oyedele (2015) maintains that the public service of any country stands out as the major machinery of government for the formulation and implementation of public policies.

The public service is the prime mover of the socioeconomic development of a nation; and has the potential to enhance democratic process by promoting fairness, civic responsibility, and social cohesion (Awoyinfa, 2010). The unsolved problem in Nigeria’s Civil Service is the inability of the masters, not servants to realize that they are undoubtedly responsible for promoting the role of administration in the public service delivery system. In Service Delivery and Ethical Conduct in the Public Service: The Missing Links. Lues (2007) paid attention to legislative and ethical mechanisms that are in place within the South African Public Service as a directive for service delivery. The article recognized the statutory framework for improved service delivery as a basis of support for ethical conduct.  Roy and Langford (2008) holds the view that integrating the delivery of services to citizens and businesses across federal and provincial governments is far more challenging than integrating these services at each level of government, because the Canadian public sector is a political federation that grants sovereignty to both the federal government and the provinces to embark on the task.

In Civil Reform in Developing Countries: Why Is It Going Badly?” presented by Shepherd (2003) at the “11th International Anti-Corruption Conference in the Seoul Republic of Korea.” The author observed that “civil services of the developing countries tend to be large, underpaid and politicized, and senior cadres lack professional depth and often fail to provide any chain of continuity in the government over the longer term, and delivery of public services tends to be inefficient and, often, beset by corruption.” Shepherd (2003) noted that “many developing countries have, often with the help of the donors, sought to promote merit-based reforms along the lines of the richer countries.” The public sector organization is where the ethical conduct should portray public service officers as models for the behavior of individuals working with them.

The Origin of the Civil Service in Nigeria

      The colonial government established the civil service as the hub of an organization as quasi in content and quasi in structure. Bayo (2012) noted that “the history of the civil service in Nigeria can be traced to the history of colonialism and the development of capitalism in Nigeria” (p.4).  Bayo (2012) also implies that the “history of the civil service in Nigeria can be attributed to the history of modern Nigeria.” (p.4).When the British first came to Nigeria in 1861 as an imperial power to govern the people from coast to coast, the clans, empires, and kingdoms were all living as separate entities with little or no contact.  Colonialism refers to the activities of the European colonizers during their conquest and rule (Ekeh, 1983; Paki & Edoumiekumo 2011).  It was in 1862 that the colonial government introduced its blueprints for the administration of the territory of Nigeria, which led to the creation of the “civil service.”  The creation of the “civil service” in Nigeria was intended specifically to enable the survival of colonial capitalism.” It prompted “the British government to establish different hierarchical civil service positions such as Governor, Chief Magistrate, Colonial Secretary, Senior Military Officers, Offices of the Private Secretary to the Governor, Auditor of Public Accounts, Chief Clerk, and Collector of Customs” (Bayo, 2012, p.4). The new era of nationalist Nigerian administrators came about in the 1940s and 1950s. The British colonial administrative design in Nigeria was gradually beginning to display signs of past, present, and future negative nationalism in the disparity of the people.

Departure of the British and Corruption in the Nigeria Civil Service

The genesis of the government’s corruption is rooted in the way “the civil service sprang up from the carefree manner in which the British took over, administered, and abandoned the government and people of Nigeria” (Ademoyega, 1991, p.1). The British administrators did not make an effort to weld the country and unite the heterogeneous groups.  It does not imply that the British administrators did nothing good in Nigeria; far from it, many things stand to their credit, and it is clear that the present day Nigeria owes certain achievements to the spade-work of the British administrators (Ademoyega, 1991). Nonetheless, there was one -evil-that outlived the British administration, namely, political non-advancement. When the British came, they forcibly rubber-stamped the political status-quo of the ethnic groups of Nigeria and maintained that status-quo until they left; upon their departure nearly a hundred years later, the people resumed fighting for their political rights (Ademoyega, 1991).

According to Adebayo (2013), civil service is designed to accomplish the tasks of the government; but it can also find itself involved in the formulation of policy and generally advising on policy matters. In Nigeria, the civil service was not the result of a formal agreement between two equal parties, but rather a decision of the State that civil servants be appointed by decision of an authorized public institution by the civil service law (Ademoyega, 1991). The question of bribery is perceived to be universal, but in the case of Nigeria, the situation is alarming. Uwak &Udofia (2016) observed that corruption is a recurrent decimal in Nigeria and has contributed in no small measure to the underdevelopment of Nigeria. The emerging pattern in the contemporary Nigerian civil service reformation is not a move away from the traditional British civil service system; rather, it is a reinforcement of it, meaning Nigeria is stuck (Ademoyega, 1991).

Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria

The “general strike of September 27, 1963, in Nigeria put pressure on the government and resulted in the emergence of the Morgan commission to address “agitations of trade unions for increases in wages.” At that time, the “Morgan Commission revised salaries and wages of junior staff of the federal government” (Anazodo, Okoye, & Chukwuemeka, 2012, p.18.). In 1966, the Elderwood Commission was directed to determine the deviation from the standard “regarding grading and situations of the Public Service” of the federal government (Collins, 1980).  In 1971, “the Adebo Commission was impaneled to review the existing wages and salaries at all levels in the public services as well as statutory corporations and State-owned companies” (Okotoni, 2004, p.108). The Adebo Commission’s proposal resulted in the setup of the Udoji Public Service Review Commission. Do their recommendations change anything in the civil service?  In 1972, the Udoji Commission was introduced to overhaul the entire Nigerian civil service; to “ensure development, optimum utilization of manpower for efficiency and effectiveness in the service” (Okotoni, 2004, p.110).

The civil service changes under the Udoji Commission were focused on the organizational structure (Anazodo, Okoye, & Chukwuemeka, 2012). In 1988, “civil service reform decree No.43 was issued; it was the idea of General Babangida’s regime” and was intended to reposition “the civil service without input and democratic discourse from the public.” Retired General Babangida setup the Dotun, Philips Reform Commission, “to review the composition, structure, and methods of operation to determine their capacity “to cope with the demands of government in the 1980s and beyond” (Omoruyi, 1991 cited in Okorie & Onwe, 2016, p. 20).  On November 10, 1994, the Ayida Review Panel was created to review 1988 civil service reforms, and the “Ayida Panel reports criticized the 1988 reforms.” The 1999-2007 reform of the civil service by the civilian-rule government of the president-elect Olusegun Obasanjo intended to reform the civil service, and expunge extant rules, procedures, and regulations that frustrated effective service delivery consistent with modern systems in the civil service”.  Salisu (2001) noted that in spite of these avalanches of reforms, civil service is still considered stagnant, inefficient, and incapable of reforming itself.

Contemporary Civil Service in Nigeria

 Ezeani (2005) noted that the civil service is a store of knowledge of past government decisions and procedures. The contemporary “civil service in Nigeria was rooted in the colonial pattern of administration (Adebayo, 2013). The blueprints, stratagems, and program structures constitute the function of public administration. The impact of bureaucratic diversity on public service delivery in this context is not obvious ( Rasul & Roger, 2015, p.1). One might argue ideally that the perceived predicament of the civil service in Nigeria is the failure of the British to include 250 diverse ethnic groupings in the government plans. Nigeria is a milieu of sharp divisions among its people, with a split marked by a system dominated by majority ethnic groups over minorities which leads to endless economic and class struggle. The civil service is led by “the Executive Chief of the State. The Secretary of the State Government Office and Ministries and Non-Ministerial Departments consist of state departments, local government, audit departments, and the board of internal revenue. The state bureaus consist of the following: the Bureau of Lands, Survey and Town Planning, the Public Utilities, Rural Development Bureau, and the Civil Service Commission; the State Judicial Department includes the judicial service committee (Baura, 2003) cited in (Madumere & Okegbe, 2016, p.4)

Systems Theory

Von Bertalanffy’s (1968) view of systems theory posits that systems operate in a recursive relationship, integrating philosophy and theory as knowledge, method, and application as action. Systems inquiry, then, is knowledge action. Von Bertalanffy (1968) outlines systems inquiry three major domains: philosophy, science, and technology. In his work with the Primer Group, Banathy (1987) generalized the systems into four integral domains of systemic inquiry. Systems theory aimed to explain observable phenomena by reducing them to the interplay of elementary units to be investigated independently of each other. The problem of organization is that phenomena are not resolvable into local events. The dynamic interactions manifest in different behavior of parts when isolated or in a higher configuration (von Bertalanffy, 1968). Systems of various orders are not understandable by investigating their respective parts in isolation.

Systems Elements Structuralism

In many cases, isomorphic laws hold for certain classes or subclasses of systems, irrespective of the nature of the entities involved (von Bertalanffy, 1968).There appears to be in existence a general system of laws which apply to any system of a certain type, irrespective of the particular properties of the system and the elements involved. The systems approach analyses a system structural function. Structuralism focuses on relationships of contrast between elements in a conceptual system (Gidden, 1984, p.1).The relations between many different parts are intrinsically connected for harmony. Structures at different place and time perform different functions. Almond and Bingham Powell Jr. (1966) view this approach from a structural perspective, observing that structural function analyzes the performance of a functional system.  All systems, according to these authors perform two basic functions: an input function and an output function. The input function includes political socialization, interest articulation, interest aggregation, and political communication; while the output function includes rulemaking, rule application, and rule adjudication. Nwachukwu` (1988) noted that Structural function tries to shift the focus of analysis from the observable institutional political mechanism to any area where the actual performance of the functional requirements of the system are located (p.86).These perspectives invariably indicate the system mechanisms, which, regardless of their types and political systems must perform a specific set of tasks if they are to remain in existence. Systems cannot be defined as such if their constituents’ parts are not functionally interdependent, and these parts can only be understood as performing functions if they belong to a complete system (Almond & Bingham Powell Jr.1988). Every system, be it a developed or an underdeveloped system, always performs a particular function. A goal is attained when a system performs positively, and failure occurs when the system is misdirected.


Unethical Behavior

All persons, whether in business, government, a university, or any other enterprise are a concern with ethics (Harold & Weihrich, 1988, p.611). In developing countries, what is considered unethical behavior and very serious misconduct among government service officials is not taken seriously in developing countries because of deficiencies in code implementation, lack of exemplary leadership, ineffective reward and punishment system, and unsupportive public service organizational culture (Sakyi & Bawole, 2009, p.1). For instance, serious ethical issues in the Western world are non-issues in the Third World countries like Nigeria. Unethical behavior among officials according to Adebayo (2014) is deliberate deception in the workplace which includes taking credit for work done by someone else, calling in sick in order to go to the beach or go partying, and sabotaging the work of another person (p.1). Other instances of unethical behavior among politicians in government would be using the “Internal Revenue Service to target groups that a politician does not like by auditing them or refusing to give them tax-exempt status; obtaining private tax information about political opponents from Internal Revenue Service and using that information in political campaigns; a politician knowingly telling lies about his political position or the political position of an opponent just to get elected; using a position of power to coerce lobbyists into buying expensive gifts for the politician and his wife.” For more on unethical behavior, see http://examples.yourdictionary.com.examples-of-unethical-behavior.html

Theoretical Foundation of Ethics

Cooper (2006) defines ethics as the attempt to state and evaluate principles by which ethical problems may be solved. Ethics have been described as the study of standards of right and wrong, the part of science and philosophy that deals with moral conduct, duty, and judgment-systems of conduct or behavior (Gage Canadian Dictionary, 2003). The Ministry of Finance (2000), in its paper on ethics, stated that it was of the view that “ethically justified action requires that the individual have the ability to consider different alternatives and to place himself in the position of the other person empathy.” That a “moral philosophy usually makes a distinction between descriptive ethics, normative ethics, and meta-ethics.” While “descriptive ethics means a description of ethical ideas without the presence of an opinion on their rightness;” and provided “an example of this as the statement that in the opinion of civil servants, it is wrong to take a bribe.

 Normative ethics, or morals, presents guidelines and rules, which require a commitment to a certain ethical system. An example of this is the statement “that taking a bribe is wrong because it weakens the confidence of citizens in the impartiality of administration.” In this respect, meta-ethics, on the other hand, examines the meaning of the concepts of ethics. The lack of knowledge concerning ethical concepts, norms, and understanding to enforce rules of universal application for uniform behavior leads to “weak moral, poor remuneration, and efficiency, competence ditched and merit abandoned”(Kagara, 2009 cited in Olusanya, 2013. p.1). Ethics is one step removed from the action. It involves the examination and analysis of the logic, values, beliefs, and principles that are used to justify morality in its various forms (Cooper, 2006, p.2). When an administrator is confronted with a problem over what he should do in a given situation, he is experiencing the need to define his responsibility in the administrative role. Whitton (2001) stated that ethical culture should support professional responsibility, self-discipline, and the rule of law. Covey (1990) stated that the basis of a person’s character creates an empowering center of correct maps from which an individual can effectively solve problems, maximize opportunities, and continually learn. Dukor (2010) noted that the overriding role of ethics, religion, and the supernatural in the formulation and application of the principles of justice was one distinctive characteristic of African philosophy.


Functions of Ethics and Responsibility

The functions of ethics and responsibility are complementary to one another. In concord with Koontz and Weihrich’s (1988), templates of ethics for government service, responsibility defines the scope of accountability and obligation in contexts of law and a common culture (Cooper, 2006). The code of ethics reiterated that government workers are obliged to show greater ownership, conduct, and responsibility for the job they perform for the interest of the entire civil society. Esomonu (2012) affirmed that civil servants are members of the civil service, a branch of government administration. Public administrators, according to Cooper (2006) tend to dominate the practical problems of getting the job done. Anyone engaged in ethical reflection takes on the task of analyzing and evaluating the principles in various alternatives for conduct and social order” (p.2). Clarinval and Biller-Andorno (2014) proposed a framework of principles, procedural steps, and organizational resources to ensure that the decision-making process is consistent and fair and that humanitarian actors can work through these issues in an argued and efficient manner. The view of ethics from deontological and teleological points of reference makes sense because deontological ethics places special emphasis on the relationship between duty and the morality of human actions. On the contrary, the concern of teleological ethics is the consequences of one’s conduct, while normative ethics studies ethical actions arising when considering how one ought to act. The virtue ethics of Socrates describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior

Working in the Civil Service: Ethical Challenges

  Challenges always accompanied by a related action that makes an individual want to apply what he/she has learned to the job. A challenge for an employee is to focus on his/her knowledge of the rules of ethical code of conduct. According to Sam-Duru (2012), in 1975, “civil servants were compulsorily retired for opposing policies that were against the development of the workers and nation, and the outcome was that people avoided taking up jobs in the service because being known as a civil servant was synonymous with being abused (p.1). The military government “committed sacrilege against the civil servants” (Sam-Duru, 2012, p.1). The errors of the civilian government’s administration were fewer compared with the military regime. The specific roles of civil servants in governance include “the workforce of government; the brain-box and institutional memory of the public sector; the bridge across administrations and the guardian of public interest.” On the contrary, in an interview about his book; The Civil Service in Nigeria: Evolution and Challenges, Omoyele (cited in Sam-Duru (2012) stated that “civil servants are usually accused of stealing public funds, this is damaging to the image of the civil servants whose major interest is to serve.” The civil servants are facing challenges about the demands that the administration has placed on their knowledge, skills, and professionalism. The challenges in the civil service have affected the functions of civil servants in a constitutional democracy. There is a lack of effective coordination of work of administration, capacity and integrity challenges, and a culture that does not recognize outstanding performance or address low productivity.

Violating Ethical Standards

A code of ethics in an organization relies on every employee’s awareness of and commitment to the code. It can be viewed as either an administrative formality with no practicality or a dynamic, comprehensive guideline for making organizational decisions (McShane & Von Glinow, 2003). In Western culture what constitutes unethical behavior is not the same as in Third World countries. Greed to meet societal demands leads official workers into soiling their hands to acquire wealth. For instance, men and women who have made their money through fraud throw their money around on every occasion. The relationship ties are part of the factors that coerce brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, friends, mothers, and fathers working for the government to grab anything they can lay their hands on. Valente (2014) has this advice, always be ethical by acting within certain moral codes by the accepted code of conduct or rules, because it is always safe for an employee to play by the rules, with a clear moral conscience. Ethical values should always take precedence over nonethical values. Personal moral values are important in shaping ethical behavior. According to Koontz & Weihrich (1988), to make ethical codes effective, provisions must be made for their enforcement. Unethical managers should be held responsible for their actions. It means that privileges and benefits have to be withdrawn and sanctions have to be applied (p.615).

Conflicts of Interest

 The civil service has been the place for conflict of interest among diverse ethnic groups, and the disagreements are causing negative reactions among civil service workers. Conflict of interest is a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible; this is very common between elected officials and corporate lobbyists, who are in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity. It is against this background that Doucey (2011) stated that an understanding of the causes of conflict and its psychological dimension is crucial for building sustainable peace. The OECD (2003) published guidelines to address conflicts of interest, which include ensuring that the integrity of government decision-making is not compromised by public officials’ private interests and that effectively managing conflict of interest requires balanced, effective procedures to resolve conflict-of-interest situations.


Civil Service

The term civil service refers to a branch of government service in which individuals are employed by professional merit as proven by competitive examinations or the body of employees in any government agency apart from the military, which is a separate extension of any national government.  A civil servant is a person in the public sector employed for a government department or agency. “Many consider the study of civil service to be a part of the field of public administration.” Management policies are the functions that coordinate the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives by using available resources efficiently and effectively. Norman (2013) noted that “management involves identifying the mission, objective, procedures, rules, and manipulation of human capital of the organization.” It implies effective communication of an enterprising environment, as opposed to a physical, mechanical mechanism (Norman, 2013). Fayol (who was born in 1841) considered that management consisted of six functions: forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling” (For more on Fayol, see https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/henri-fayol.htm)


The rule of ethics knows no boundaries and has no exceptions, but, both junior and senior workers in the State Civil Services have broken ethical rules in one way or another. In the government, people talk about ethical character and transparency. The practice to make it realizable in public organizations is difficult to maintain, the assault on ethics has not ceased in developing societies. Ukeje (1975) noted that the basic objectives of good organizations are to provide a framework for the adequate coordination of functions. Many scholarly works on the various aspects of ethical problems in the civil service in Anambra State in particular and Nigeria, in general, appear to have left out or given merely a snappy treatment to the role of ethics in the socioeconomic development, and service delivery of an organizational system. This lapse has constituted a missing link, and this study will fill in that gap to enrich and give greater value to the study of ethical problems in the Anambra State Civil Service in Nigeria. Chapter 3 of this dissertation proposal examines in detail the methodology of this study, and also the procedures and processes for generating data.  It looks at the design of and the justification for applying a case study approach; the ethical issues involved the sample and population, the method of data collection, data management and analysis, the quality issues, and my role as the researcher.
























The two previous chapters provided a detailed analysis, and perspective concerning unethical behavior in the Anambra State Civil Service of Nigeria.  This chapter outlines the research methodology chosen for this study.  A case study approach will be used to collect and analyze data that will serve as evidence for this study.  This chapter outlines the qualitative methods used to understand the key concerns and experiences of government officials relating to unethical conducts in the Anambra State Civil Service.

Research Methodology

This research employs a case study which allows the exploration and understanding of complex issues. This approach is widely recognized in social science studies, especially when in-depth explanations of social behavior are sought; and the role of the case study method in the research becomes more prominent (Gulsecen & Kubat, 2006). In a related study conducted by Kayode, Adagba, and Anyio (2013), the authors noted that globally, corruption had been identified as one of the major problems that have negative consequences on the socio-economic development of many nations. Adebayo (2014) stated that officials, individuals, and organizations must be devoted to guarding the continuity of an ethical behavior and environment. A case study is organized and carried out through an exploration of variables relating to behavior that impacts organizational systems such as the Anambra State Civil Service of Nigeria. This study unveils the unethical behavior construct and describes how it can undermine an organizational system performance.

Research Design

The research design of this study is “grounded in the qualitative tradition.” Creswell (2007) cited in Okagbue, 2012) strongly opined “that a qualitative case study strategy enables a researcher to gain a profound understanding about the phenomenon being studied” (p.19). The research design refers to the overall strategy that a researcher chooses to integrate the different components of the study coherently and logically, thus ensuring that the study effectively addresses the research problem. It also constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement, and analysis of data. Similarly, Yin (2003) noted that a case study design should be considered (a) when the focus of the study is to answer “how” and “why” questions; (b) to ensure that the researcher cannot manipulate the behavior of those involved in the study; (c) to cover contextual conditions because they are relevant to the phenomenon under study

Participants of the Study

This study will employ a purposeful sampling technique. Purposive sampling is virtually synonymous with qualitative research (Given, 2008). The strategy for purposeful sampling dictates that the “researchers select the participants and sites based on their ability to inform an understanding of the research problem and central phenomenon in the study” (Creswell, 2007, p.125). This sampling strategy is common in a qualitative study (Creswell, 2007) and has a profound effect on the outcomes, given that it focuses on a few selected items instead of an entire unit of or a larger numbers of items. The rationale for a sample population in research is to conclude (Berg, 2009). The participants for this study will be 30 officials recruited from the Anambra State Civil Service departments: Personnel, Education, Agriculture, Account, and Works. The study population should be based on accessibility (Trochim & Donnelly, 2008). The participants, each of the participants, has to be actively working in the Anambra State Civil Service. The recruitment will entail making arrangement meeting with the potential volunteers to discuss what the study is all about. The participants will be women and men currently working with the Anambra State Civil Service.  Recruiting participants will be equitable and appropriate in this study. The participants will be recruited from the Anambra State Civil Service, using these methods, Letters, and Flyers. A written letter to the Head of Departments notifying/informing them about the study and participant’s recruitment, and also flyers will be distributed/handout to the civil service officials as a means of soliciting for participant recruitment. To select participants, the study will use purpose or purposeful sampling in choosing participants who fit the characteristics the researchers wish to study such as being a civil service staff, age, gender, and location. Data come largely from the documentation, archival records, interviews, direct observations, participant observation and physical artifacts (Yin, 1994). A letter describing the proposed study will be sent to potential volunteers via the Head of Departments (HOD). This letter can be found in Appendix A.


The purpose of this study is to identify unethical behavior that affects the delivery of service in the Anambra State Civil Service, like corruption, fraud, embezzlement, kickbacks, and ghost workers. This action falls outside of what is considered morally right or proper for a person working for the common good of the society. Unethical behavior can either be current or have occurred at various departments of the State Civil Service. Likewise, Denzin and Lincoln (2003) point out that a researcher is considered an instrument of data collection, and that data has mediated this instrument. Also, Trochim & Donnelly (2008) note that “the interviewers have vital roles to play to get high-quality information from interviewees and “locate and enlist the coordination and cooperation of the respondents” (p.112). For this study, thirty respondents have been chosen to participate. Those that agree to participate will be interviewed face-to-face, at a site to be determined, which is secure and convenient. The interviews questions for the first of two interviews are listed in Appendix B. Examples are shown below:

  • What is ethics in your definition?
  • How would you describe an ethical person?
  • What motivates your interest in the Anambra State Civil Service?
  • What challenges are you facing in your position in your department?
  • How would you rate your department services from the scale of 1 to 10?

Ethical protection of participants

The participants chosen for this study will be adult males or females from the Anambra State Civil Service. As is common in qualitative studies involving human subjects, the research process will ensure that all individuals who participate are protected from any harm that might arise as consequence of their participation in this study (Babbie, 2007). The participants’ will be assured that their involvement is completely voluntary and will not to be used against them in any way (Okagbue, 2012). The participants will follow proper protocol and be asked to sign an informed consent form before engaging in this study. International Research Board Standards will conduct the interview itself. The volunteers ought to be typically protected from any “unwarranted physical or psychological injury” (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). In the course of participating in this study, nothing will be hidden for the participant, and everything will be laid bare for them so that they have proper knowledge of what they are participating in (Babbie, 2007).In similar fashion, consistent with Okagbue, (2012), “the study participants must freely volunteer to be part of the study and that they are to be duly informed about the nature and the purpose of the study and of their right to drop out from the study at any time.” And in concert with Leedy and Ormrod (2005), “research participants should be given the option to participate or not to participate and that they should be informed of their right to withdraw anytime if they want to do so.” ‘Each member will complete a consent form and confidentiality will be protected.” “Files, audiotapes, and transcripts will be stored in a locked cabinet in the researcher’s home office.” “Only the researcher and those selected to assist in validating results will have access to the transcripts.”  “Information transcripts identified before data validation will be removed.” Copies of the Consent to Audiotape and statement of Confidentiality are located in Appendix C.


Data collection in qualitative research within the frame of case study paradigms normally emanates from different sources. McNabb, (2008, cited in Okagbue, 2012) posits that “the degree of these data exists in some narrative form” (p.108). Yin (2003) also noted that “case study researchers may draw their evidence or data from documents, archival records, interviews, direct observation, participation-observation, and physical artifacts” (p.83).  There are other sources identified “as interviews, simple observation, and analysis of internal and external documents, often used in public administration” (McNabb, 2008, cited in Okagbue, 2012, p.108)”. The sources of data employed for this study will be drawn from interviews and documents of which the main source will be interviewed”.  The application of the data to the case study’s events are often derived from an intensive exploration with participants; “the aim of data collection in qualitative methods of research is to provide evidence for the phenomenon it is investigating” (Polkinghorne, 2005, p.138). Participants will be interviewed to find out how unethical issues affect the functioning of the Anambra State Civil Service as well as service delivery to the general public. The data obtained from the interviews will be compared against data obtained from government documents that either provide evidence of unethical practices or show where performance and productivity in the delivery of services to the Anambra State were hindered as a result of unethical behavior.  This data source triangulation process will serve to unearth patterns in the data that will become evidence for the findings.

Data Collection

The primary method of data collection chosen for this study is the standardized open-ended interview. Face-to-face interviews have long been the dominant interview technique in the field of qualitative research (Opdenakker, 2006).  Probing is seen to be the part of the research process that differences the in-depth, unstructured interview from an everyday conversation (Klenke, 2008, p.129). From various perspectives regarding interview techniques, scholars like Potter (1996) cited in Polkinghorne (2005) stated that “an interviewing technique is a means of gathering data from humans by asking questions and getting them to react verbally” (p.142). Leedy and Ormrod (2005) succinctly stated that “interviewing can yield a great deal of useful information” (p.146). Remarkably, Agee (2009) contends that part of the process of question development is to reflect on…issues related to participants: how the questions will affect the lives of the participants and how those questions will position the researcher about those participating (p.293). Much attention should be directed towards the collection of the data required that could help researchers achieve their inquiry goals” (Wertz, 2005, p.171). Sampling focused on particular characteristics of a population that is of interest and will best enable the researcher to answer the research questions and achieve the goal of the inquiry. Creswell (2013) posits that the qualitative method explores issues, understands phenomena, and answers questions by analyzing and making sense of the data collected by open-ended survey responses. Yin (2003) affirmed that interviewing is an important source of garnering information in a case study. In-person interviewing techniques grant the researcher more flexibility regarding questions and answers. Qualitative interviews are the researcher’s compass. Mayers et al., (2009) describe it as “night goggles” (p. 3).

Data collection, Stake (1995), discusses “the use of exclusive qualitative data gathering tools such as interviews, observation, and document reviews.” Stake (1995), “does not propose an exact starting point for data collection and analysis.” In this regard, collecting data for this study would adopt individual techniques of face-to-face interviews. “Face-to-face interviews have the advantage of being straight, and the interviewer can gain extra valuable information from the voices, tones, and nuances of the interviewee” (Opdenakker, 2006, cited in Okagbue, 2012, p.119). In spite of the funding and time constraints, all the participants in this study are to be chosen from the Anambra State Civil Service departments, and interviews will be face-to-face. The code will be used to categorize data collected from participant’s interviews.  Coding is thus a method that enables the researcher to organize and group similarly coded data into categories or “families” because they share some characteristics. When codes are applied and reapplied to qualitative data, it permits data to be segregated, grouped, regrouped and linked to consolidate meaning explanation” (Grbich, 2007, p.21). Bernard (2006) succinctly states that analysis is the search for patterns in data and for ideas that help explain why those patterns are there in the first place (p.452).

Data Analysis

A thematic analysis will be used in this study. It is the most common form of analysis in qualitative research. Braun & Clark (2013) noted that thematic analysis is essentially a method for identifying and analyzing patterns in qualitative data (p.1). As an analytical strategy, the thematic analysis will be applied to analyze data collected, organized, and to identify themes. Yin (1994) cited in Zucker (2009) noted that data come largely from the documentation, archival records, interviews, direct observations, participant observation and physical artifacts (p.1). According to Giorgi & Giorgi (2003), reading each transcript in its entirety and gaining a general sense of the information provided is the first step in understanding the meaning of the experience. Data analysis has multiple facets and approaches.

“Data analysis is a process of analyzing and interpreting data for better understanding of the phenomenon under study” (Fossey et al., 2002). Analysis of data brings meaning, structure, and order (Anfara et al., 2002, p.31). A typical case study gathers data from multiple sources, and the outcome is available for analysis (Benbasat et al., 1987). The case study approach is a systematic inquiry into an event or a set of related events which aims to describe and explain the phenomenon of interest (Bromley, 1990). “The connections of each participant are then clustered to provide a “composite description of the meanings and essences of the experiences, representing the group as a whole” (Moustakas, 1994, p.121). Braun &Clarke (2006) conclude by advocating thematic analysis as a useful and flexible method for qualitative research in and beyond psychology.

Verification of Findings

Data interpretation and verification is a process of making sense of the results. The researcher at this stage assigns meaning to the information collected and determines conclusions, importance, and implications of the findings. As Creswell (2007) cites in Okagbue (2012), “a qualitative case study data analysis involves detailed description and analysis of several data to establish evidence for the better understanding of the case” (p.118).

Likewise, (Stake,1995) cited in (Klenke, 2008), listed four types of data analyses and interpretations in a case study research: a “categorical aggregation, which entails drawing meaning on several pieces of evidence from the data”;  a direct interpretation which involves drawing meaning from a single instance” (p. 67); a pattern which involves “establishing correspondence or similarities between two or more categories and trying to draw meaning from them” (p. 67); and a “naturalistic generalization which involves reaching generalizable claims and conclusions that can be informative to other people.” Hence, “the paramount aspect is the ultimate analysis of research data which often download the realization that creates a storyline or “a narrative report and or discussion that presents the complex story of the data in a manner that is convincing and portrays dependability of the analysis” (Braun & Clarke, 2006) cited in (Okagbue, 2012, p.118).


The unethical behavior in the Anambra State Civil Service can be rooted out of the weak institutional structure inherited from the British colonial government. This “study’s narrative report will seek to capture the various viewpoints of the respondents regarding ethical problems in the Anambra State Civil Service. The narrative account will analyze and synthesize the findings from the data garnered and relate them to the research questions and the literature reviewed, regarding unethical behavior and its impact on service delivery for the people of the Anambra State.

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