Peter Bowden

Research interests

Moral philosophy; teaching/ training in ethics, institutional & organisational ethical practices; codes of ethics; public interest disclosures (whistleblowing).

Contact details

Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney
Postal address: 6 Teakle Street, Summer Hill, NSW, 2130;
Phone: (h) 02 9797 6459 | (m) 0418 166 577
Email: |


  • BE with credits, University of Sydney;
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management, Securities Institute, Sydney;
  • MSc with distinction, in Politics and Administration, London School of Economics;
  • PhD, Monash University (on institutional monitoring and evaluation).

Current work (2003 – now)

  • Research Associate, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney;
  • Lecturer in ethics, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sydney;
  • National Secretary, Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.

Peer reviewed publications (recent)

  • 2014. “Why I am Still a Utilitarian” Australian Ethics.
  • 2013. “A Comparison of Whistleblower Effectiveness – The US, the UK and Australia” Conference Proceedings; Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.
  • 2012. “Building Ethical Behaviour”. Australian Ethics.
  • 2012. Strengthening Ethical Practices. Conference Proceedings; Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.
  • 2011. “Do politicians have ethical obligations?" Australian Ethics.
  • 2010. "Stopping Corporate Wrongs - The effectiveness of Australian whistleblower reforms" Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics. Vol. 12 Nos, 1 & 2.
  • 2010. "Evolution in the teaching and practice of ethics" Australian Ethics.
  • 2010. "Teaching Ethics to Engineers – A research based perspective " European Journal of Engineering Education Vol 35, No 5.
  • 2009. "Whistleblowing: The ethical priority". Australian Ethics.
  • 2009. "In Defense of Utilitarianism" Refereed paper, Annual Conference Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.
  • 2009. with Vanya Smythe, “Ethics, Good Governance and Whistleblowing,” in Contemporary Issues in International Corporate Governance. Suzanne Young Editor. Tilde University Press.
  • 2008. "Institutionalising Ethical Behaviour "Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics Vol 10 Nos, 1 & 2.
  • 2008. with Vanya Smythe "Making Codes of ethics effective", Keeping Good Companies,/ Journal of Chartered Secretaries, Australia.
  • 2009. “Priorities in Teaching Ethics” 4th.Asia-Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity University of Wollongong.
  • 2009 “In Defense of Utilitarianism”. Conference Proceedings: the Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, on CD, Charles Sturt University, Goulburn NSW.
  • 2008. with Abbas El-Zein, David Airey, and Henriikka Clarkburn, “Sustainability and ethics as decision-making paradigms in engineering curricula” International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education ‘ Vol. 9, No. 2 pp. 170-182.
  • 2008. with Vanya Smythe, “Codes Of Ethics” Keeping Good Companies. Journal of Chartered Secretaries, Australia. Vol 60, No. 10 pp. 584-588.
  • 2008. with Vanya Smythe, “Theories on Teaching Ethics” Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, Vol.13, No.2 pp.19-26.
  • 2007. “Institutionalising Ethical Behaviour” Conference Proceedings: Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, RMIT University.
  • 2006. “Underpinning a discipline-specific ethics course” Conference Proceedings: Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, University of NSW.
  • 2006. “A Comparative Analysis of Whistleblower Protections” Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics. Vol. 8 No 2.
  • 2005. “Virtue Ethics, Aristotle and Organisational Behaviour”, Conference Proceedings; Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.

Books and book chapters

  • 2014. In the Public Interest. Protecting Whistleblowers and Those Who Speak Out, Tilde University Press, Melbourne.
  • 2012. “Harm to Others” Chapter in “Applied Ethics .Remembering Patrick Primeau” Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations .Vol 8 Emerald Publishing.
  • Editor , Applied Ethics, April 2012, Tilde University Press.
  • “Codes of Ethics” Chapter in Corporate Ethics, Krishna C S (ed.) ICFAI University Press, (Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India) Hyderabad, 2010.
  • “Ethics, Good Governance and Whistleblowing” Chapter in Corporate Governance, Suzanne Young (ed.), Tilde University Press, 2009.
  • “NGOs, Governments and the Development Agencies”, Chapter in Education and Development, J. Lynch, C&S Modgil (eds.), London, Cassell, 1997.
  • With W.J. Byrt, Public Management, Sydney: Macmillan, 1989.
  • National Monitoring and Evaluation, London: Gower, 1988.
  • Organisation and Strategy, Sydney: McGraw Hill, 1985;
    (used on several MBA programs throughout Australia).

Research grants

  • 2004.
    Special Development Fund Research Grant, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry University of Sydney. Used to fund research into institutional aspects of ethics theory and practice.
  • 2005.
    Grant by the Faculty of Engineering University of Sydney to research, write and teach case problems in engineering ethics.

Articles in journals, magazines & newspapers; working papers

  • What is the key question for public sector ethics? Australian Ethics .April 2009
    “The Argument for more protection”, Canberra Times, December, 2008 (on public servants speaking out)
  • “Concerns about workmanship head ethics challenges” Engineers Australia March 2006
  • “Not in the Public Interest “, Federal Gallery, Journal of the Association of Former Members of Parliament, March 2006,
  • “A Practical Role for Philosophy”, Philosophy Now, Aug/Sept. 2005
    “The Ethics of Whistleblowing”. The Whistle, Whistleblowers Australia, January, 2003,
  • “On Lies” Living Ethics Forum, The St James Ethics Centre, Summer, 2003
    “The Failure of Ethical Philosophy”, Living Ethics, The St James Ethics Centre, Sydney, Winter, 2002
  • “Health through Theatre in the Pacific”, Development Bulletin No. 50, October 1999,
  • “NGOs in Asia. Issues in Development”, Public Administration and Development, Vol 10 (1990).
  • Training Materials Handbook, 1991, Economic Development Institute of the World Bank: Washington, DC, as below:
    • The Appraisal of Management Effectiveness, in French and English, Document 285/007, Shelf No. EO 269, World Bank, Washington DC,
    • Central Monitoring and Evaluation, in French and English, Document 580/005, Shelf No. EO 608, World Bank, Washington DC,
    • Problems of Implementation, in Chinese and English. Document 605/010, Shelf No. EO 623, World Bank, Washington DC.
  • “Institutional Assessment: A Framework for Analysis”: World Bank, Washington DC,
    Country Economics Department Working Paper, July 1989 (mimeo).
  • “Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship: What We Know”. Working Paper,
    Department of Management, University of Newcastle, 1986.
  • “Problems of Implementation” Public Administration and Development, Jan. - March 1986.
  • “Problem Oriented Training”, Training and Development, March,1986
  • “Strategy in the Service Industries” The Practising Manager, March, 1985.
  • “Papers on Development Administration”, Australian Development Assistance Bureau, Department of Management, University of Newcastle, 1985:
    “National Economic Planning”, “Budgeting in the LDC’s”, “Program Budgeting”,
    “Assessing Budget Priorities”, “The Central Evaluation of Development Programs”,
    “Project Management Systems”.
  • “Graduate Education in Public Administration”, Teaching Public Administration, University of Manchester, Volume 4, No. 1, Spring 1984.
  • With M. McCracken (Eds.) “Lobbying: The Persuasion of Government”. Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Management Systems Council, Monash University, December 1982 (mimeo).
  • “Developments in Program Budgeting”, Department of Administrative Studies Working Paper, Monash University, November 1982. (The research for this paper was partially funded by the World Bank for the 1983 World Development report).
  • “The Management of Development Programs” (2 vols.), Department of Administrative Studies, Monash University, 1981, funded by the World Bank.
  • Have also undertaken Radio Interviews (5); Newspaper commentary(3); Appearances before parliamentary inquiries (4); Public talks and presentations (7); Training courses (many); Book reviews (3); Reviews for Academic Journals(3); Commentaries On Line in; Case problem research and documentation (about 20)

Book Reviews

  • Ethics in Practice. Moral Theory and the Professions Andrew Alexandra and Seumas Miller, UNSW Press, 2009, in Australian Ethics, May 2010.

    Right & Wrong, How to decide for yourself, Hugh Mackay, Sydney, Hodder Headline , 2004.
  • On The Ethics Network
  • Corruption and Anti-Corruption, An Applied Philosophical Approach. Seumas Miller, Peter Roberts, and Edward Spence: New Jersey, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004 also on The Ethics Network

Community Work

Earlier work history

  • 1985 – 2003 Research and advisory work on institutional strengthening with the international agencies - World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations, and particularly the UNDP, as well as directly with governments and private sector organisations. Included are two Fortune 500 companies, a number of smaller companies and perhaps 80 government agencies and departments. Assignments undertaken in close to 40 countries (including pre-1985 work)
  • !977 - 1985 Professor of Administrative Studies at the University of Manchester and prior to that, Lecturer and Coordinator of the MBA program at Monash University.
  • 1973 –1977: World Bank, Washington ,DC Senior Planning Advisor
  • 1967 – 1973: Director, Stanford Research Institute in Australia, undertaking research work in institutional and organisational systems directly in Australia and liaising on behalf of SRI researchers working for Australian organisations.