Personal Integrity

The tensions aroused by competing ethical claims jeopardize personal integrity, that is, keeping oneself integrated and whole, in balance, and ethically sincere. The car- toon shown in Figure 1.5 makes the point that the core of personal integrity is ethical values, not self-indulgence.

Supporting authentic, unbiased convictions—holding the high ground—is a measure of a manager’s administrative skill. In President Kennedy’s pointed formulation, people of integrity “never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them . . . whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust”. A manual for local administrators-magistrates in seventeenth-century China advises, “An official’s first consideration is maintaining his integrity”.

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J. Patrick Dobel  offers an inclusive view of ethical integrity that suits managerial realities in public service. “The ideal of personal integrity describes a condition where individuals can hold multiple realms of judgment in tension while keeping some coherence in their actions and lives.” Integrity is more like a web than a hierarchical structure, which is “too static and rigid to account for the way individuals live their lives and keep moral coherence”


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