Common values and ethical foundations for state employees

The university is a knowledge organization based on academic values, but it is also an authority and thus a part of the Swedish public administration. Our activities must be characterized by, among other things, objectivity, impartiality and everyone's equality before the law. Public administration is governed by laws that contribute to openness and transparency, such as the public access to information, freedom of expression and whistleblowing.

As an employee at Linnaeus University, you are a state employee - regardless of which position / title you have. Everyone who works for the state is subject to a set of common values and ethical foundations for state employees.It is a basis for your professional role. Democracy is the superior principle, and the citizens are thus your ultimate commissioners. This means a special responsibility towards the citizens, but also that certain laws and regulations affect your everyday working life.

The ethical foundations of the state can be summarized in six basic principles that should characterize our activities (Source: The Swedish Agency for Public Management):


As state employees, we work on behalf of the citizens. We ensure that the decisions taken by Parliament (the Riksdag) and the Swedish Government (Regeringen) become a reality in fact. Basically, this means that as state employees we must behave in a manner that assists in building and maintaining a state administration that everyone can have confidence in. This policy is comprehensive and summarises the essence of the ethical foundations of the state.


Legality is a key value in a democratic state. All state employees must be familiar with, and comply with, the laws and regulations that are applicable to our activities. The principle of legality means that the activities the state authorities engage in must have their support in by laws and regulations. Irrespective of the political majority in power at any given time, a citizen must be secure in knowing that the state authorities follow the rules.


Everyone must be able to trust that, as state employees, we act objectively and impartially. Therefore, we are on the alert to recognise and call attention to the conflicts of interest that may arise. The principle of objectivity deals with maintaining confidence in the state authorities and national government.


As a fundamental rule, everyone has the right to knowledge of what the state authorities are doing. Transparency and freedom of expression are the cornerstones of democracy. Citizens should be able to communicate with the state authorities, parliament and government, and have knowledge of its activities. That is simply due to the fact that, because we are exercising state authority, we are not allowed to do this in secret.


We treat everyone equally and with respect. This means, among other things, that we do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender, age, ethnicity or physical disability. This principle also means that we continually work to combat all forms of discrimination. This applies in every situation, including in the workplace with each other and when we interact with citizens.

Efficiency and good service

In the activities and services provided by the government, we have the objective and obligation to combine efficiency of service and accessibility. We inform and provide guidance in a simple and understandable manner and as promptly as possible. We also carry out our tasks efficiently and conserve resources.

The set of common values and ethical foundations for state employees is formulated at an overall level. Therefore, it is important that we concretize what the principles mean for us so that you, as an employee, get guidance on how to act. The different principles may sometimes conflict with each other. What should you choose: legal certainty or efficiency? What can and should you as a state employee publicly say? We need to reconsider this kind of conflicts in our workplaces in order to handle different situations in everyday working life.