Chaired by Professor Carl Marc Lazaro Ramota, this session focused on ethics. The presenters for this session are the following: Mr. I Made Bram Sarjana, Ms. Audrey Legodi and Mr. Puguh Prasetya Utomo.
In the presentation entitled Questioning Decentralization System iun Managing Public Sector Integrity in Indonesia, Mr. Sarjana provided a critique of public sector ethics under a decentralized government set-up. He discussed how trust is an important element in ensuring public sector integrity - since it is a precursor of participation and development. Unfortunately, in his review of literature of decentralization - Mr. Sarjana revealed that decentralization was used as political tool to serve certain interests and for different motives (e.g., serving interests of colonial authority, consolidation of government powers, shortening of chain of command). He provided a brief narrative on the case of Indonesia's decentralization. In the end, he did not offer a definitive solution in his paper, but left the problem-solving aspect for the policymakers and political officials to consider.
In Contributing Factors for an Optimized Advisory Role by South African Municipal Audit Committees (AC) - An Exploratory Approach, Ms. Legodi's preliminary study looked into the performance of ACs and the various factors that affect their effectiveness to hold government officials to account for the exercise of authority adn use resources. Ms. Legodi argued that municipalities are supposed to provide quality services and promote socioeconomic development, and yet, this is not the case with most municipalities in South Africa. Ms. Legodi’s study is largely exploratory, with Ronald Coase’s theory of the firm as an overarching framework for analysis. In her preliminary findings, Ms. Legodi found that there are actually several factors on top of compliance to audit recommendations that affect municipal audit committees. She related that she will be conducting an empirical study to verify and support her initial findings.
Lastly, Mr. Utomo presented Heterogeneity of Resistance Strategies: The Absence of Discretion and the Role of Organizational Attribute Combinations. His presentation mainly dealt with the institutional response of selected local schools in Indonesia to conflicting demands and policies that govern student admissions. Gleaning from contemporary institutional theories, Mr. Utomo’s study considered the backdrop of institutional complexity, characterized by contradicting and overlapping institutional demands and policies. He argued that organizations respond to complexity in various ways, i.e., compromise, avoidance, deviance, and manipulation, among others. Among the many findings, the study revealed that schools indeed showed different levels of resistance. Based on this, Mr. Utomo underscored the importance of structuring organizational development and change management approaches to eliminate or at least reduce resistance. He also emphasized that the focus of these strategies need to be organizational identity.