Leadership and the three faces of integrity

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Recent scholarship in business and leadership strongly suggests that integrity is not fundamentally a moral concept. This paper presents an account of leadership integrity that defends its ethical meaning while identifying important cognitive structures that clarify the confusion surrounding integrity attributions. The paper begins with a brief review of historical, philosophical, and business discussions of integrity. Using the insights from these discussions, I argue that integrity is fundamentally, but not exclusively, a moral concept that supports the ethical claims of leadership theories. I then review current leadership theories and derive a definition of integrity as a moral concept. Using this definition, I explain how a leader's integrity is founded on identity-conferring commitments to values and then describe three types of leadership integrity to better understand these constructs. I conclude with a few research questions that seek to advance leadership integrity research with the goal of advancing our understanding of ethical leadership. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

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