The concept of integrity

Integrity is not a simple concept to define. Many overlapping and distinct definitions are used. The term integrity is derived from the Latin in-tangere, meaning untouched. It refers to virtue, incorruptibility and the state of being unimpaired. Integrity is closely related to the absence of fraud and corruption, but it also entails common decency. In this context, it is a positive and broad concept related to ethics and culture. The SAINT tool uses a broad and positive definition of the term integrity.

Integrity means more than simply observing rules and laws. The law provides a lower limit and a minimum moral starting point. An integrity policy calls for a combination of repression and prevention. On the one hand, an organization must adopt measures to take if its staff act inappropriately (repression). On the other, it must do all it can to remove temptations that might induce civil servants to act inappropriately (prevention). Priority should be given to prevention. Not only is it is more effective, but on balance the investment is many times smaller than the cost of repairing damage caused by inappropriate behavior.