Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

The Only Dedicated Platform for UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Day 57 – 1. What do you understand by civil service values? Are they different from one’s personal values? Examine.

1. What do you understand by civil service values? Are they different from one’s personal values? Examine. 

सिविल सेवा मूल्यों से आप क्या समझते हैं? क्या वे एक के व्यक्तिगत मूल्यों से अलग हैं? जांच करें।


Values are not just words; values are what we live by. They are about the causes that we champion and the people we fight for.

                                                                          —former US Secretary of State John Kerry

Civil services are an integral part of Indian democracy and considered as “Steel Frame” of governance. They play a great role in societal development as they have the responsibilities of both decision making and policy implementation. There are some foundational values which are must for better administration.


As per the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, the foundational values of the service are                 

TLP Phase 1 – Day 57 Synopsis

TLP Phase 1 – Day 57 Synopsis





Dedication to public service

Compassion towards weaker sections.

  • These foundational values ensure an effective civil service which functions honestly, impartially and efficiently.
  • These values empower the administrator to fill the gaps of trust deficit between the citizens and the Government. 
  • These foundational values provide lawfulness to the behavior of an administrator and make it more effective.
  • Since civil servants have discretionary powers the values are important to give them certain guidance to prevent abuse of power.

Are they different from one’s personal values

  • Values relate to the norms of a culture, but they are more universal and abstract than norms. In certain cultures, norms reflect the values of respect and support of friends and family. The source of values is an issue of substantial continuing debate in ethical philosophy and is similarly challenged in organisational theory.
  • Different cultures reflect different values, and so thus individuals. It is established that values mould and inform behaviour. Thus, they provide a basis for the achievement of organisational aims that cannot be achieved by simply steering according to those objectives alone, and are worthy of further consideration in the context of public service development.
  • For bureaucracies, adherence to high-level public service values can produce substantial public trust and assurance. On the contrary, weak application of values or promotion of incorrect values can lead to reductions in these essential elements of democratic governance, as well as to ethical and decision-making quandaries. 
  • Though a core set of public service values is necessary, it is also factual that different values apply to different parts of the public service. As values can differ within different parts of the public service. One of the principal tasks of managers and leaders is to synchronize, reconcile or cope with differing values between individuals or even between parts of the organisation. 
  • Also, there are a number of dynamics challenging traditional values in the public service. These include new modes of governance and the fragmentation of authority, market-based reforms, politicisation and political expectations, the growth in the use of agencies, decentralisation or relocation, changes in human resource management and recruitment, and the advent of new technologies and methods of information sharing.
  • Process is as important as outcomes and public trust is predicated on democratic values being represented at all stages in the decision making process. In an environment of doubts, and which is subject to frequent structural and functional change, values offer a compass for guiding activities. 
  • Though personal values can vary from organistaional values, it provides continuity to maintain high standards in public.
  • If the work of the public service is not based on or driven by proper set of values, it may lose the trust and respect of those who rely on it that is the public. 


Different stresses may be placed on different values according to the administrative and political priorities at a given time, but adherence to a set of broadly coherent and accepted values is vital for stability and consistency (Toonen 2003). As public administrators’ values are developed through an interaction of self, situation and society, it is important that values are therefore periodically re-examined and challenged to cater the interests of society at large and to achieve social, political and economic justice.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email