Integrity as a Core Value in Organizations

Integrity as a Core Value in Organizations

Gillian Griffin (Flinders University of South Australia, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-510-6.ch019
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In recent years, the teaching of ethics in business schools has become more common. However, despite positive interest and the quantity of literature, there remain serious shortcomings and incidents of unethical behavior by corporations. Unfortunately, rules, principles, values and virtues are usually presented in a fragmented fashion, often confusing ethical theories. Rarely is the role of character and virtue in moral reasoning considered and little has been written to illustrate moral judgment as integral to practical reasoning in ethical decision making. This chapter defines the strengths and weaknesses of duty and organizational values and illustrates the interconnectedness of rules, values and virtues. Unless the crucial element that character plays in organizational ethics is considered, it becomes a simple philosophical comparison of ethical theories. An integrated component of duty, values and virtue provides a clearer definition of virtues and their relationship to personal development, the professional role and the public good.
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The Organization As A Community

A person's character traits are not developed in isolation, but rather within and by the communities to which he belongs. As people grow and mature, their personalities are deeply affected by the values that their communities prize. The moral life, then, is not simply a matter of following moral rules and of learning to apply them to specific situations. The moral life is also a matter of trying to determine the kind of people we should be and of attending to the development of character within our communities and ourselves.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Virtue Theory: Helps us to understand how we develop the means by which we make moral decisions.

Integrated Moral Theory: Describes how rules, values and virtues are interconnected and how Integrity therefore draws upon all these ethical facets.

Integrity: Is moral consistency that reflects the attempt to do what is right for the organization and for the public good.

Business Schools and Courses: Seek guidelines to assist them in helping students to develop the knowledge and reasoning skills that can be applied to moral dilemmas.

Business or Organizational Ethics: Refers to the branch of ethics that deals specifically with ethical issues in Business Organizations.

Ethics: Is a discipline that attempts to examine and understand decision making where issues of right and wrong are involved.

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