Managing Organisational Integrity Risks


Organisational integrity defined as an organisation functioning in a manner consistent with the purposes and values for which it created (Six & Huberts, 2008).

Effectively managing integrity risks involves identifying and mitigating the causes that contribute to them.

The view among organisational members that unethical conduct is routine and commonplace poses a serious threat to organisational integrity.

When people believe that others are engaging in unethical conduct, it can take on a contagious nature which can make them more likely to behave unethically themselves (Ariely, 2013).

Among other, people have a strong need for social acceptance and are therefore likely to go with group norms (Zimbardo, 2007).

Once others believe that “everybody is doing it,” unethical behaviour may become an informal norm and contribute to an unethical environment.

For that reason, tolerating even petty acts of unethical behaviour can undermine the ethical climate because it leads to the view that such behaviour is common and acceptable.

The way performance managed in the organisation can also pose risks to organisational integrity. Unrealistic performance goals and pressure to achieve those goals at any cost send a signal that ethical conduct is a low priority in the organisation.

In addition, performance bonuses can create perverse incentives to match the system to reach goals.

In effect, performance management systems signal what the organisation considers important through what it measures, rewards, and disciplines (Trevino & Nelson, 2011).

When there is a strong pressure to meet performance goals without consideration for how those goals gained, people may do whatever is necessary to meet them.

An organisational integrity system incorporates compliance-based tools and values-based tools.

Compliance-based tools focus on control instrument that used to ensure legal compliance through upholding codes of conduct, overseeing employees, reporting procedures, and perform disciplinary measures.

Values-based tools directed toward ensuring the organisation’s core values reflected in the day-to-day activities of the organisation.

Effectively managing organisational integrity risks needs using the right combination of compliance-based and values-based tools.

A key facet of effective integrity management consists of constant communication about standards and procedures through an effective training program.

When new members join the organisation provide them with an outline of its standards and procedures, as well its values and culture.

Employees, however often overwhelmed with information at orientation so training should continue regularly.

This can be most effective when executive, mid-level, and frontline managers collaborate in the training because their involvement show a commitment to integrity-related practices at all levels of the organisation.

A strong organisational culture can mitigate the risks associated with gaps in an organization’s integrity system because it helps to ensure that key values permeate the environment and are part of everyday decision making.

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