The term ‘integrity’ emanates from the Latin adjective integer which means intact or whole. Against this backdrop, integrity signifies ‘wholeness’ stemming from the certain aspects of honesty as well as consistency of character. This means that one may determine whether other people have integrity by examining whether they behave in line with the beliefs, principles, and the values they claim to hold. From the foregoing one can conclude that integrity is the aspect of adherence to ethical and moral principles such as sound moral character and honesty. It is a person’s the ability to make choices that are predictable, consistent and uncompromising in honor of moral and ethical principles.
Taking the ethical perspective, integrity may be understood as being able to practice honesty, accuracy, and truthfulness. As such, integrity is perceived as being the opposite to acts of hypocrisy in the sense that judging from the perspectives of integrity, internal consistency is seen as a virtue. Consequently, people possessing within themselves seemingly inconsistent values should vary their beliefs or make up for the seeming inconsistency. The actions of a person can therefore be said to have met the integrity test if they are premised upon internally consistent framework of values. As such, integrity in the perspective of ethics examines aspects of morality, behavior and the element of being incorruptible.
On the other hand, integrity through life experiences can be explained in the perspectives of a great tower, honesty, skill, training, and as a guiding principle. With regard to integrity as a great tower, it is something that develops and grows during the life of a person. It can be considered as an element in the behavior of humans that originates from when one is young. The foundation of integrity is usually laid by the parents or guardians as well as other leaders such as religious and educational leaders. It is through such persons that a young person is able to learn and nurture certain aspects such as transparency and other traits that are associated with integrity.
In the context of skill and training, integrity is depicted as an inherent concept that people must learn as rules and exceptions in order to grasp the concept. As a skill, integrity and is characteristics must therefore be learnt by repeating related traits over and over. The training, practice, and exposure to various aspects of integrity nurture a person of integrity. Integrity is therefore not inherent but rather emanates from learning over a lifetime.
As a guiding principle, integrity is basically a point of reference or a benchmark that people consider before making decisions that entail truth and honesty. As such, every action is subjected to integrity as a guideline and judged in view of that. This means that in order to maintain in one’s actions, a person must always remember to consider truth and honesty in every thought, decisions, actions, and reactions. As such, form a guiding principle prospective persons who wish to maintain integrity in their actions have no option but to refer to truth and honesty in each of their endeavors.
In academic circles, integrity is usually seen to incorporate normative aspects of ethics, morality, and legality. The term is therefore discussed in the context of whole and complete, unhindered, and in perfect form. This approach looks at increased groups, individuals, societies, and organizations performances (Jensen 16). As such, this line of definition defines integrity in by determining the connection between integrity and value-creation, improved performance, and quality of life.
Jensen, Michael, Karen Christensen (Interviewer). "Integrity: Without it Nothing
Works". Rotman Magazine: The Magazine of the Rotman School of Management, 2009 pp. 16-20.