What is integrity

Public or organisational integrity is the set of characteristics that justify trustworthiness and generate trust among stakeholders. Integrity creates the conditions for organisations to intelligently resist corruption and to be more trusted and efficient.

Integrity Action takes integrity to be the alignment of four factors:

Accountability

Competence

Ethics, and

Corruption control

Accountability is both the ability of key stakeholders to check that we do what we say we do, and responsiveness to legitimate internal and external claims. Public  institutions have to be held to account.

Competence is the ability to do something well. If an organisation doesn’t deliver good infrastructure, healthcare or education for example, it would not, ultimately, be acting with integrity. 

We define Ethics as behaving with honour and public purpose. Engaging with values and issues such as the environment, access to justice, public infrastructure is intrinsically bound to the question of organisational integrity.

The final factor that undermines organisational integrity is corruption. The abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Eliminating corruption requires dedicated resource and institutional mechanisms that must be complemented by other institutions.

Integrity Action’s approach to integrity is this formula:

Integrity = Accountability + Competence + Ethics - corruption