Discussion Papers

Integrity and the moral compass

By
John Ross
,
on
December 4, 2019

How important is integrity to your business?

The successful launch and implementation of an integrity risk program involves many elements for businesses. For a start there needs to be up to date policies, procedures, registers and reporting tools put in place.

However, equally important, there also needs to be the engagement of the senior management and directors or business owners in order for the employees to also become engaged.

The initial catalyst for a business to implement an integrity risk program may in many ways have been based on evolving legislative requirements, changes in societal expectations, or even a specific integrity risk event occurring. However, before a business embarks on the development of an integrity risk program, there also needs to be a clear decision by the management team and directors on the role that integrity has in the long term for their business.

The “moral compass”

The following quotation from a blog written by Peter Collins nicely talks about this by using the analogy of the “moral compass” -

“Organisations, like people, are moral agents with a moral compass. A small deviation can have a massive effect. Long term integrity has to start with an organisation defining its sense of purpose and its moral compass. In doing so, organisations can put in place an intricate system of measures that ensure the organisation is capable of acting with full integrity” * Peter Collins, Director of the Centre for Ethical Leadership based at Ormond College at the University of Melbourne.

Perhaps all business leaders and company directors would find value in examining the importance of integrity within their business and determining in which direction their moral compass should be pointing.

It is then that an integrity risk program to steer the business in the desired direction can be developed. This will also enable the business leaders to more easily express to their whole organisation why integrity is important for everyone.

In that way, the engagement of the business leaders will be the example for everyone in the business to follow.

John Ross Co-founder Startware Global and Corethix

* From the blog “Going for Integrity” written by Peter Collins for the Blavatnik School of Government Oxford University, May 2018. http://blogs.bsg.ox.ac.uk/2018/05/21/going-for-integrity/