Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a meaningful framework for the classification of the integrity trait in the moral context (ethics), offering an understandable conceptualization of a notion that although identified as central in the literature has is not been defined in a clear and conventional way. Design/methodology/approach – Grounding ideas on the person‐situation historical debate, and drawing on the insights of Luhmann's General System Theory, this paper develops a multileveled framework that categorizes the view of integrity. Findings – The integrity framework presents three categories (levels) of integrity: personal integrity, moral integrity and organizational integrity (OI). This classification serves as a bridging mechanism when trying to link different academic areas (e.g. psychology and ethics) since it provides some agreement on the different meanings and perspectives of the concept of integrity present in the literature. Practical implications – Practical application of the framework is foreseen within the organizational context, where managers could use it for articulating some of the more intangible aspects that compose their organizational cultures, and which in turn, impact their employees' behavior. In addition, the framework is useful to detect possible/future conflicts of interests that may arise due to different personal (employees) and organizational (company) views of integrity. Originality/value – This paper alerts scholars and practitioners to the need of a sound classification of the concept of integrity, plus an agreement on its meaning, scope and uses. Consequently, it develops a multileveled framework to show an understandable conceptualization of the trait, paving the road for multidisciplinary research on the topic.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 16, 2007
Keywords: Ethics; Personality; Business ethics; Organizational culture; Employee behaviour