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Integrity

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Integrity

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to uphold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.[1]

In ethics, integrity is regarded by many people as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy,[2] in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete.[3] In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

A value system's abstraction depth and range of applicable interaction may also function as significant factors in identifying integrity due to their congruence or lack of congruence with observation. A value system may evolve in a while,[4] while retaining integrity if those who espouse the values account for and resolve inconsistencies.[5]

Contents

  • Testing 1
    • Scientific method 1.1
  • In ethics 2
  • Political integrity 3
  • Psychological/work-selection tests 4
  • Other integrities 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • External links 8

Testing

One can test a value-system's integrity either:

  • subjectively — by human constructs of accountability and internal consistency, or
  • objectively — via the scientific method

Where the measures of the test are consensual only to the party being measured, the test is created by the same value system as the action in question and can result only in a positive proof. Thus, a neutral point of view requires testing measures consensual to anyone expected to believe the results.

Scientific method

The scientific method assumes that a system with perfect integrity yields a singular extrapolation within its domain that one can test against observed results. Where the results of the test match the expectations of the scientific hypothesis, integrity exists between the cause and effect of the hypothesis by way of its methods and measures. Where the results of the test do not match, the exact causal relationship delineated in the hypothesis does not exist. Maintaining a neutral point of view requires scientific testing to be reproducible by independent parties.

For example, Newtonian physics, general relativity and quantum mechanics are three distinct systems, each scientifically proven to have integrity according to their base assumptions and measures, but all three of which produce different extrapolated values when applied to real world situations. None of them claim to be absolute truth, but merely best value systems for certain scenarios. Newtonian physics demonstrates sufficiency for most activities on Earth, but produced a calculation more than ten feet in error when applied to NASA's moon landings, whereas general relativity calculations were precise for that application. General relativity, however, incorrectly predicts the results of a broad body of scientific experiments where quantum mechanics proves its sufficiency. Thus integrity of all three genres is applicable only to its domain.

In ethics

In ethics when discussing behavior and morality, an individual is said to possess the virtue of integrity if the individual's actions are based upon an internally consistent framework of principles.[6][7] These principles should uniformly adhere to sound logical axioms or postulates. One can describe a person as having ethical integrity to the extent that the individual's actions, beliefs, methods, measures and principles all derive from a single core group of values. An individual must therefore be flexible and willing to adjust these values in order to maintain consistency when these values are challenged; such as when an expected test result fails to be congruent with all observed outcomes. Because such flexibility is a form of accountability, it is regarded as a moral responsibility as well as a virtue.

An individual's value system provides a framework within which the individual acts in ways which are consistent and expected. Integrity can be seen as the state or condition of having such a framework, and acting congruently within the given framework.

One essential aspect of a consistent framework is its avoidance of any unwarranted (arbitrary) exceptions for a particular person or group — especially the person or group that holds the framework. In law, this principle of universal application requires that even those in positions of official power be subject to the same laws as pertain to their fellow citizens. In personal ethics, this principle requires that one should not act according to any rule that one would not wish to see universally followed. For example, one should not steal unless one would want to live in a world in which everyone was a thief. The philosopher Immanuel Kant formally described the principle of universal application in his categorical imperative.

The concept of integrity implies a wholeness, a comprehensive corpus of beliefs, often referred to as a worldview. This concept of wholeness emphasizes honesty and authenticity, requiring that one act at all times in accordance with the individual's chosen worldview.

Ethical integrity is not synonymous with the good, as Zuckert and Zuckert show about Ted Bundy:

When caught, he defended his actions in terms of the fact-value distinction. He scoffed at those, like the professors from whom he learned the fact-value distinction, who still lived their lives as if there were truth-value to value claims. He thought they were fools and that he was one of the few who had the courage and integrity to live a consistent life in light of the truth that value judgments, including the command "Thou shalt not kill," are merely subjective assertions.[8]
— Zuckert and Zuckert, The truth about Leo Strauss: political philosophy and American democracy

Political integrity

Integrity is important for politicians because they are chosen, appointed, or elected to serve society. In order to be able to serve, politicians are given power in their positions to make, execute, or control policy. They have the power to influence something or someone. There is, however, a risk that this power will not be used by politicians to serve society. Aristotle said that because rulers have power they will be tempted to use it for personal gain.[9] It is important that politicians withstand this temptation, and that requires integrity.

In the book The Servant of the People, Muel Kaptein describes that integrity starts with that politicians should know what their position entails, because integrity is related to their position. Integrity also demands knowledge and compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the written and unwritten rules. Integrity is also acting consistently not only with what is generally accepted as moral, what others think, but primarily with what is ethical, what politicians should do based on reasonable arguments.[10]

Furthermore, integrity is not just about why a politician acts in a certain way, but also about who the politician is. Questions about a person’s integrity cast doubt not only on their intentions but also on the source of those intentions, the person’s character. So integrity is about having the right ethical virtues that become visible in a pattern of behavior.

Important virtues of politicians are faithfulness, humility and accountability. Furthermore, they should be authentic and a role model. Aristotle identified pride (megalopsuchia, variously translated as proper pride, greatness of soul and magnanimity)[11] as the crown of the virtues, distinguishing it from vanity, temperance, and humility.

Psychological/work-selection tests

The procedures known as "integrity tests" or (more confrontationally) as "honesty tests"[12] aim to identify prospective employees who may hide perceived negative or derogatory aspects of their past, such as a criminal conviction, psychiatric treatment or drug abuse. Identifying unsuitable candidates can save the employer from problems that might otherwise arise during their term of employment. Integrity tests make certain assumptions, specifically:[13]

  • that persons who have "low integrity" report more dishonest behaviour
  • that persons who have "low integrity" try to find reasons in order to justify such behaviour
  • that persons who have "low integrity" think others more likely to commit crimes — like theft, for example. (Since people seldom sincerely declare to prospective employers their past deviance, the "integrity" testers adopted an indirect approach: letting the work-candidates talk about what they think of the deviance of other people, considered in general, as a written answer demanded by the questions of the "integrity test".)[14]
  • that persons who have "low integrity" exhibit impulsive behaviour
  • that persons who have "low integrity" tend to think that society should severely punish deviant behaviour (Specifically, "integrity tests" assume that people who have a history of deviance report within such tests that they support harsher measures applied to the deviance exhibited by other people.)

The claim of such tests to be able to detect "fake" answers plays a crucial role in detecting people who have low integrity. Naive respondents really believe this pretense and behave accordingly, reporting some of their past deviance and their thoughts about the deviance of others, fearing that if they do not answer truthfully their untrue answers will reveal their "low integrity". These respondents believe that the more candid they are in their answers, the higher their "integrity score" will be.[14]

Other integrities

Disciplines and fields with an interest in integrity include philosophy of action, philosophy of medicine, mathematics, the mind, cognition, consciousness, materials science, structural engineering, and politics. Popular psychology identifies personal integrity, professional integrity, artistic integrity, and intellectual integrity.

The concept of integrity may also feature in business contexts beyond the issues of employee/employer honesty and ethical behavior, notably in marketing or branding contexts. The "integrity" of a brand is regarded by some as a desirable outcome for companies seeking to maintain a consistent, unambiguous position in the mind of their audience. This integrity of brand includes consistent messaging and often includes using a set of graphics standards to maintain visual integrity in marketing communications. Kaptein and Wempe have developed a theory of corporate integrity including criteria for businesses dealing with moral dilemmas.[15]

Another use of the term, "integrity" appears in the work of [16][17][18] According to Muel Kaptein, integrity is not a one-dimensional concept. In his book he presents a multifaceted perspective of integrity. Integrity relates to, for example, compliance to the rules as well as to social expectations, with morality as well as ethics, and with actions as well as attitude.[10]

Electronic signals are said to have integrity when there is no corruption of information between one domain and another, such as from a disk drive to a computer display. Such integrity is a fundamental principle of information assurance. Corrupted information is untrustworthy, yet uncorrupted information is of value.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Integrity: Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason. McGill-Queen's University Press. 2010. p. 12.  
  2. ^ John Louis Lucaites; Celeste Michelle Condit; Sally Caudill (1999). Contemporary rhetorical theory: a reader. Guilford Press. p. 92.  
  3. ^ "integrity". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Languagew (4th ed.). El- shaddai ØØØ. 2000. Retrieved 2009-05-13. ... from integer, whole, complete 
  4. ^ See for example Wiener, Yoash (October 1988). "Forms of Valubananae Systems: A Focus on Organizational Effectiveness and Cultural Change and Maintenance". The Academy of Management Review ( 
  5. ^ Compare  
  6. ^ Gerald Cushing MacCallum (1993). Legislative Intent and Other Essays on Law, Politics, and Morality. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 152.  
  7. ^ Krishna Pillai (26 February 2011). Essence of a Manager. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 163.  
  8. ^  
  9. ^ Aristotle (2000), Politics, translated by B. Jowett, New York: Dover.
  10. ^ a b Kaptein, Muel (2014). "The Servant of the People: On the Power of Integrity in Politics and Government". Social Science Research Network.  
  11. ^ The Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle, James Alexander, Kerr Thomson, Hugh Tredennick, Jonathan Barnes translators. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  12. ^ van Minden (2005:206-208): [...] deze 'integriteitstests' (dat klinkt prettiger dan eerlijkheids- of leugentests) [...] [Translation: ... these 'integrity tests' (that sounds nicer than honesty test or lies tests)]
  13. ^  
  14. ^ a b Van Minden (2005:207) writes “TIP: Dit type vragenlijsten melden koelbloedig dat zij kunnen ontdekken wanneer u een misleidend antwoord geeft of de zaak bedondert. U weet langzammerhand dat geen enkele test zo'n claim waar kan maken, zelfs niet een die gespecialiseerd is in het opsporen van bedriegers.” Translated: “TIP: This sort of questions lists mention in cool blood that they are able to detect when you give a cheating answer or try to deceive the test. You are step by step learning that no test could make true such a pretense, not even one specialized in detecting cheaters.”
  15. ^ Muel Kaptein and Johan Wempe, 2002 “The Balanced Company: A theory of corporate integrity” (Oxford University Press).
  16. ^ See abstract of  
  17. ^  
  18. ^ Jensen, Michael C.; Karen Christensen (Interviewer) (January 14, 2009). "Integrity: Without it Nothing Works". Rotman Magazine: The Magazine of the Rotman School of Management, pp. 16-20, Fall 2009 (Social Science Research Network).  

External links

  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
  • Werner Erhard, New Model of Integrity
  • Belyaev, Igor А. (May 2011, Vol. 4, Issue 5) "Human Being: Integrity and Wholeness". Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities & Social Sciences, pp. 633-643.
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