Universally many organisations, public and private, are being killed by corruption and often the leaders are at a loss as to how to increase their integrity meter and raise awareness.

According to Aljazeera, a corruption pandemic is raging in the African continent. From Malawi to South Africa and Zimbabwe, from Angola to Mozambique and Namibia, in countries across Africa high-ranking civil servants and their relatives, in cahoots with industry and business leaders, seem to have long been shamelessly stealing from the long-suffering masses.

South Africa, for instance, has recently been rocked by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s final instalment of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and found that the ruling African National Congress party, under Zuma, “permitted, supported and enabled corruption and state capture”. He also criticised current President Cyril Ramaphosa, who served as vice president under Zuma, for hesitating “to act with more urgency” to resist the emergence and establishment of state capture.

Private companies have been a big part of the corruption and organisations need to learn that one decision maker, not acting with integrity, can negatively impact productivity, the company’s name, and reputation.

It can be as small as not keeping one’s word, poor delivery or saying something, promising another and doing something else. We all want to trust the people we do business with and trust is part of integrity.

Integrity is the most misunderstood word. Organisations love to use it as part of their values; however, even though people may understand it, they don’t know how to practice it. Add ethics into the equation, and it gets confusing.

Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conduct of an activity. Ethics can also be defined as the rules and regulations that have been created for organisations to allow employees to work following moral principals

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and doing the right thing. Ethics is more external (rules, regulations, code of conduct), whereas integrity is more internal (the individuals decide whether they will uphold the ethics of an organisation).

Ethics can be enforced, but you won’t be ethical, and, more simply put, ethics happen externally, whereas integrity occurs internally. Professions have a code of ethics to which their members are bound. These codes were adopted to put forth the type of conduct that is and is not acceptable to these professionals. Ethics principles are found everywhere, but their shared purpose is to set standards for what is and is not considered moral behaviour. So, for example, as psychologists and counsellors, we have a code of ethics that we can’t have outside relationships with the people we counsel; however, if we don’t have integrity, we won’t uphold this code.

Ethics is not a choice, and integrity is a personal choice. Ethics can be imposed on employees, but integrity cannot be imposed on them. This is why it is so important to do preventative integrity training awareness because the individual decides each day whether to act with integrity and do the right thing or not.

The integrity of a business affects all customer groups and every area of business operations. This is why it is essential to incorporate ethics and integrity into the core fabric of the organisation, and today more than ever, people need to understand that it does not matter whether you work from home or in the office or remotely, their integrity impacts on the ethics of the business. 

You decide whether you have integrity and contribute to the company code of ethics to help the company develop and, in turn, develop you.

Please contact us if you want to develop the level of integrity in your organisation.

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