How do people lose their integrity

Integrity: essential for trust

Most people consider certain values ​​to be important when asked. For example, counts integrity in addition to respect, sincerity and humanity among the qualities that are valued. Nevertheless, it can be observed again and again that the actions of some companies, politicians or individuals are evidently not based on such values, but rather are shaped by the pursuit of profit and corruption. When it comes to scandals about contaminated food or falsified emissions, the outcry is justifiably high. But how do we think about it ourselves - do we always follow what is right and decent? Why integrity is essential for trust ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what does integrity mean?

Integrity integrity) is a term with many faces. It comes from the Latin of integritas, which means as much as intact, intact or complete.

In computer science, for example, one speaks of integrity when the completeness or freedom from errors of data is meant. Or it's about territorial integrity, if you have the Inviolability of a national territory has in mind.

Even medicine knows integrity as the intactness (in the sense of an intact immune system) of the body. In common parlance we mostly use this term as it is in the ethics is understood.

There it is a requirement of philosophical humanism to act in such a way that a greatest possible match exists with one's own values ​​and ideals.

So integrity refers to the integrity of character, that is, someone is innocent. Synonyms for integrity are:

Integrity as a personality trait

What does integrity mean specifically in relation to the individual? Often you can hardly separate the individual values ​​from one another, because a personality with integrityunites many of it in itself.

The best way to know a person's integrity is through their behavior. Under a personality of integrity we imagine someone who true to yourself remains. For example, if a vegetarian announces that he is a vegetarian because he considers factory farming to be reprehensible, then he does not resort to bratwurst at the next best opportunity.

So his actions correspond to his personal value systemthat he credibly represents not only to himself but also to others. It is irrelevant where he derives these values ​​from.

Some people derive their values ​​from religious beliefs, others from philosophical or humanistic and still others orientate themselves on political models or peer groups.

What does integrity behavior depend on?

Nobody lives in a vacuum. Your own value system usually develops from a mixture of different role models, especially since there are overlaps. Generally one assumes in the sociology that the training of these values ​​by and large with Late twenties is completed.

Integrity is therefore also an attitude that is exercised by the personal living conditions, Experience and others is dependent. Those who struggle for bare survival will probably not be able to afford to respect noble ideals such as the property of others: in some societies theft is an expression of lack and less of non-integrity.

On the other hand, even the small things are glossed over, twisted and cheated when it comes to the own advantage goes - for example in the case of illegal work.

At the same time, border crossings affect the own identity and self-image. Anyone who has always represented certain values ​​to the outside world and suddenly violates them will either be very ashamed if they are convicted.

Or he becomes one for himself Strategy of justification Find:

  • That was just the one / first time.
  • It doesn't hurt at all if some money is missing.
  • They earn enough anyway!
  • Nobody saw it.
  • It doesn't happen anymore either.
  • The others do it too!

Who has always been tax evasion as a form of personal enrichment without specific need as completely legitimate will probably not make a 180-degree turn. An example of this are psychopaths. They are pathological liars and often have amassed considerable criminal records in their youth.

Integrity in the world of work

The American economic and organizational psychologists Michael Palanski and Francis J. Yammarino established integrity in 2007 on the basis of the following characteristics:

  • There is a correspondence between words and deeds.

    Does a person just say certain things about himself or do he act accordingly? Some people can lie the blue of the sky without blushing and make promises that they never intend to keep. If words do not follow actions, they are hollow chatter.

    Even worse: if the moral index finger is raised, but at the same time contrary to the (allegedly) own maxim, there is bigotry. So for integrity, words and deeds must be in harmony. Palanski and Yammarino speak of here "Word / action consistency".

  • Integrity is characterized by individual morality.

    The above-mentioned characteristic characterizes a person of integrity, unfortunately the reverse does not work: Just because a person acts consistently and consistently does not necessarily mean that they have decency. Power-obsessed, corrupt managers may act logically and consistently in the context of their interests - but that in no way makes them personalities with integrity.

    The second essential characteristic, therefore, is that a person acts responsibly and fairly. As a manager, this means not only keeping an eye on your own interests, but also those of your employees. The second characteristic of individual morality is what Palanski and Yammarino call "Morality / ethics".

  • Your own values ​​survive the test.

    What are your own principles worth if they are thrown overboard at the next best opportunity? Not much. The third characteristic of integrity is about defending one's values ​​against resistance. In English, from "Consistency in adversity" the speech.

    Noble intentions and ideas are fine, but they are not enough. A person of integrity is also willing to accept the consequences, however uncomfortable they may be. If, for example, it emerges that a company that is always committed to social engagement uses child labor to produce its products, this can lead to a person with integrity that they quit.

The last point in particular can be a enormous challenge represent. For example, when it comes to their own workplace, some people buckle when faced with injustices. A classic example of this is employee bullying.

It is not uncommon for this to happen in the knowledge or even with the participation of the superior. Not all colleagues have the guts to be purposeful against a supervisor to use to protect another colleague.

The possibility of immediate disadvantages is palpable and may involve parties involved into a conflict of conscience. Because integrity requires that a person ...

  • has the backbone to defend itself against resistance.
  • can make this decision as independently as possible: If other people (such as family members) are dependent on it, this can affect behavior.
  • has the self-confidence to be able to get out of the unpleasant situation (e.g. unemployment).

Corruption as the opposite of integrity

Someone who shows integrity lets himself be drawn from his or her values ​​and beliefs not easily dissuaded, he shows loyalty to principles, is incorruptible. The opposite of integrity, the antonym, is corruption. Those who are susceptible to this do not allow themselves to be guided by their own values, but fall prey to external or internal temptations or influences.

Personal integrity depends to a not inconsiderable extent on how a society deals with missteps: Exists one functioning legal system, in which rule violations are punished, has favored the rule-compliant behavior. The majority's sense of justice ensures that everyone keeps themselves in check, so to speak.

This can even be seen in social networks such as Twitter, when it is required that adults naturally stop at the red light, especially when children observe their behavior. If, on the other hand, violations of the rules are sanctioned extremely lax Laws bent into shape, social morale falls more sharply overall.

Euphemisms like “let five be straight” testify to this. The There are no role models and some then resort to the above justifications to legitimize their behavior after the fact.

With corruptible people, the personal advantage outweighs more. Incidentally, this also applies if there are no temptations but threats that make someone collapse. These do not have to be threats that pose a threat to life and limb, but rather threats that may pose a threat Loss of face mean.

Of course, a certain amount of this must be achieved beforehand dishonesty be preceded, so again the opposite of integrity. A change in values ​​in itself is nothing unusual: in the law in particular, changes can be observed that are certainly welcomed by the majority, for example there is no longer any clan liability.

That no longer fits with that today's understanding of the fact that not the entire environment of an individual can be held responsible for the deed of an individual.

How companies gain trust through integrity

Integrity is a social responsibility and therefore also affects working life. It is often complained that there is a lack of role models. Sometimes it affects the personal environment, but not to be underestimated Exemplary character of peoplethat stand in public life. This affects politicians, but companies with their top managers are also very important here.

Integrity should be part of the Corporate philosophy be. However, this is only guaranteed if the values ​​are lived by all employees, employees and managers. A company itself can through its Personnel selection and corporate culture Promote integrity, but it can never be with integrity - that is a human quality.

A lack of integrity on the part of an employee can become critical for a company if he consistently acts against the employer's goals and values. Especially when it comes to people who are in public life, that can Reputation of a company suffer from it.

So it is always in a company's interest to ensure that the own employees are of integrity. In some cases, suspicion of a lack of integrity is enough for an employee to be released.

Integrity ensures that employees, business partners and customers Trust in the brand and in the products. Both experiences and expectations one has of the other have come true. This can be seen, for example, in this behavior:

  • Error culture

    The company admits its own mistakes and deals with them offensively. Internally, this means that employees do not have to fear that their heads will be torn off if the slightest offense occurs. A good error culture can be seen externally if it is not covered up. Instead, solutions are being worked on.

  • communication

    It is communicated transparently with customers and employees. On the company side, there is both problem awareness and appreciation.

  • quality

    The company keeps its product and service promises, for example if it says "bio", it should also be "bio".

This behavior contributes to success, because it binds customers even in times of crisis and leads to identification with the company. Employees who can identify with the company values ​​are much more motivated. All of this is possible when a company is transparent and honest, but above all communicates and acts coherently.

It becomes difficult when water is preached but wine is drunk. Companies that are committed to sustainability, but at the same time stand for the deforestation of entire primeval forests neither honest, still authentic or with integrity.

The same goes for organizations that are particularly high moral values seem to be represented, for example aid organizations or church institutions. Anyone who pays dumping wages and employs their employees under difficult conditions shows a rather strange understanding of integrity.

What other readers have read

[Photo credit: REDPIXEL.PL by]