The conception of organizational integrity: A derivation from the individual level using a virtue-based approach

Madeleine J. Fuerst, Christoph Luetge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper extends previous attempts at understanding the nature of organizational integrity and its increasingly important role for companies which, after all, bear a moral and societal responsibility. Interpretations of organizational integrity in business ethics literature incorporate aspects ranging from the behavior of managers and employees to corporate structures and incentive systems. We argue that virtue ethics builds an indispensable framework for understanding the origin of the concept of integrity and transfer these findings to an organizational level. Hence, we first define organizational integrity, and second operationalize it in a closed three-step process, consisting of morally sound corporate commitments, their transparent institutionalization within the company, and their implementation into actions. We consider the main goal of organizational integrity to be of a preventative investment nature. Organizational integrity is a company investment that translates into avoiding fines for potential violations of the law or ethical missteps, as well as an investment in the company’s reputation. In turn, organizational integrity can protect a company from disruptions that can threaten its existence. Defining and operationalizing the concept of organizational integrity provides the foundation for future scientific research and the basis for developing practical guidance for organizations and managers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalBusiness Ethics, Environment and Responsibility
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Apr 2023


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