The Many Faces of Integrity

Business Ethics Quarterly 16 (1):3-21 (2006)
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Abstract

Integrity is a central topic in business ethics, and in the world of business it is quite possibly the most commonly cited morally desirable trait. But integrity is conceived in widely differing ways, and as often as it is discussed in the literature and given a central place in corporate ethics statements, the notion is used so variously that its value in guiding everyday conduct may be more limited than is generally supposed. Two central questions for this paper are what work the notion does and whether it does any ethical work that is not done better by other concepts. In pursuing these questions the paper explores the most plausible range of understandings of integrity found in recent literature, considers in what sense it is a virtue, and proposes a strategy of clarification and interpretation that can facilitate both ethical reflection and the guidance of moral conduct in business.

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