Word integrity comes from Latin word integer which means complete or whole. Concept of integrity is disambiguated, however mostly it is used in relation with ethics. In ethics integrity is defined as truthfulness, honesty or accuracy. When they say that somebody has integrity it is understood that this person acts according to his or her beliefs, moral and ethical values. Integrity has opposite meaning of the word hypocrisy. Generally concept of integrity is used to describe whole system of individual values and believes of person but, when people refer to integrity mostly they mean single “absolute” morality.
Fields and disciplines, which are mostly interested in integrity include: management, politics, medicine, science and many others. Popular psychology identified four types of integrity. These are individual, professional, artistic and intellectual integrities.
Individual integrity term refers to person’s individual values and beliefs, which he/she tries to fallow. Individual integrity also means that someone, who has this quality, is honest, accurate and truthful and is descent member of society.
Professional integrity measures person’s dedication to his professional activity. We can bring an example of managerial integrity, which is extremely important for the outcome of the company and happiness and satisfaction of company employees.
Artistic integrity is referred to artists, for example, who work just for expressing themselves instead of working for profit and day by day are working to improve their talent. They do not think about profit they will have.
Intellectual integrity means being honest with others, with yourself, recognizing this need of having high level of morality and acting according to these beliefs.
Now we will discuss what impact has integrity on individual happiness and life satisfaction. For this reason we have to examine what is needed for happiness and satisfaction with life. We need to discuss general idea but among individuals happiness can be understood very subjectively and for every individual, happiness can be something different. For generalizing it we have to use scientific approach and we can use Maslow’s pyramid of needs.
Maslow believed that human happiness can be measured and it is more, when more milestones in hierarchy of needs are satisfied. On the diagram we can see Maslow’s pyramid which represents this hierarchy of needs and we can see that moral is on the top of this pyramid. Life satisfaction is also increased when people surrounding someone have high moral beliefs and act according to these beliefs.
Now let’s discuss professional integrity. We have already explained this term above in this essay and now we will deepen understanding of this concept by some examples. These examples and methods of expressing integrity in professional area can be also applied to individual integrity and ethical action in general. Let’s discuss example of managerial integrity at the workplace. From outside many companies look like having strong organizational code and moral and ethical background, but only in few of them this high level of moral communication exists among staff members and management. This is caused by lack of professional integrity, in this particular example, lack of managerial integrity. It is known that main duty if manager is to use as much physical and mental potential of staff members as possible, but people can become highly dedicated to their work when they feel that managers really care of them. Otherwise they try to cheat at the workplace and as little as possible. This can be explained psychologically, people generally do what they see and when they see that manager is acting unethically and treats them bad they do the same.
Let’s bring an example, Sarah works in marketing department of a big company. She could not finish her project in time because her kid was ill and she took him to hospital. When she comes to her work and explains to head of marketing department this situation and boss accuses her in law professionalism and poses her to the threat of losing the job she feels frustrated in morale level of manager, who does not understand her hard situation. She begins working on her project in a hurry to finish it in time and can make some mistakes or just make project that will work badly and cannot bring expected income to the company. There could be other situation, let’s imagine that Sarah’s boss is a person with high moral, personal and professional integrity. He would give her one more time to take care of her kid and also praise her work. She would be very grateful and pleased with his integrity and understanding. She would feel moral obligation to make highest quality project for the company because her problems are brought to heart and understood. She would feel happy and dedicate herself to this job.
This was an example of integrity concept as an overall moral level. Now we can explain other meaning of integrity, which is dedication to something, for example dedication to work, or dedication to moral beliefs. We can observe such kind of integrity in doctors who are travelling around the world and curing people in poor countries. They are getting smaller salaries than others who are working near to their homes and families and in much better professional conditions, but they feel that their help is needed and without them will not be possible to save a lot of lives in some poor regions. Such people have high level of integrity; they are following their moral beliefs and dedicate themselves to something they think is right.
We can also bring an example of artistic integrity which is also referred to people dedicating themselves to their works, but in different way. Example of such people can be writer who knows that his work can never be published and he might never get any dollar for the book he writes but he is doing this to express himself in his masterpiece. If artistic not artistic integrity we would never hear masterpieces of music created by Beethoven, Mozart or Bach. We would never see painting of Picasso and many other artists. Many of such people of art were not recognized during their life, but after few centuries people understood their genius.
In conclusion we can say that concept of integrity played one of the key roles in scientific and cultural development of humanity and it plays great role in satisfaction with life and happiness. It also impacts scientific progress and economical growth, but the problem is that not everyone can have high level of moral, however we are just people and difference always exists among people and characters.
Integrity. (n.d.). Is the U.S. In Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia.
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrity
Cox, Damian, La Caze, Marguerite and Levine. (2008,08 09) Integrity. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/integrity
Reworking Maslow’s Pyramid. (2010,07 16) The New York Times. Retrieved from http://ideas.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/revising-maslows-pyramid/