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  • Sj. (Sjoerd) Vredenberg

Integrity, where does your organization stand?

Author: Sj. (Sjoerd) Vredenberg

The time when the subject of Integrity was hardly discussed or was exclusively associated with running off with the cash, no matter how serious, is behind us. Today, a broad spectrum of areas determines acting with integrity. Managing integrity starts with knowing where the organization stands in the 'integrity universe'. Only then it will be possible to maintain a solid position in the dynamic world of integrity issues.

No container concept

The growing interest for scandals surrounding undesirable behavior has contributed to the fact that the term Integrity currently 'resonates' with almost everyone. To ensure that it is not a catchphrase that is used inappropriately, and to be able to get grip on integrity, we propose a demarcation.

For tis article we will define integrity as the perception that exists about sincerity, honesty and reliability.

Integrity concerns: being transparent about intentions, speaking the truth and practice what you preach.

Integrity domains

Given the definition above, the universe in which integrity violations can occur is enormous. Much more extensive than just undesirable behavior... It helps us breaking it down into seven domains:

Environment: in this domain we look at the organization's outside world. First of all, your own organization can end up in an outside world that lacks integrity due to its own actions. But it can also be the other way around: the outside world, consciously not acting with integrity, that (unnoticed) enters your organization and'abuses' your staff, processes and reputation. Finally, we also consider damaging the outside world through one's own actions as part of this domain. Think successively of supplying 'non-contaminated' parts to a 'contaminated industry', interference/undermining and causing damage to climate and environment.

Communication and data: this relates to informing people and organizations involved. This includes also data quality and security. Examples are misleading and spreading of disinformation and even incitement. N this domain we also include privacy, protection and reliability of data here.

Governance: in this part of the pie we include what contributes to, or detracts from the sincerity, honesty and reliability of management and the transparent demonstrability and verifiability thereof. Consider: management style, remuneration, participation and supervision.

Social: this fourth domain concerns how people interact with each other, as a result of which sincerity, honesty and reliability can be compromised. Topics such as inclusivity, equality, discrimination, (social) manners and a safe working environment are examples of this domain.

Products and services: there should also be no doubt about what the organization produces or delivers if it concerns sincere intentions, honesty and reliability. Examples include: non-performing insurance products, an inappropriate service, an unsafe or defective product and misleading advertising

Financial: sincerity, honesty and reliability of the organization's financial conduct are important in this domain. Topics such as fraud, bribery and money laundering are examples.

Competition: in this domain, integrity can be compromised by choices made for one's own competitive or market position. Abuses such as cartels and market manipulation are examples.

Risk profile

Managing integrity starts with the organization's risk profile awareness: how vulnerable is the organization in each of the seven domains, what are the themes and which factors and indicators play a role?

Once the risk profile of the organization has become clear, defining the risk appetite is an organization-specific next step, depending on own considerations. From that moment on we could talk about the 'moral compass' of the organization. So, determining the starting point for good integrity management, is about 'customization'!

Standard risk profiles and turn key solutions will not help, but a structured approach and analysis will!

Integrity management starts with knowing your own risk profile, weighing your own integrity themes and knowing their concrete factors and indicators.

Integrity Risk profile Identification – IRI

Lakatos is continuously working on (the improvement of) the Integrity Risk profile Identification (IRI) methodology with the associated measurement and analysis tool. With this structured approach and technology we are happy to support you with the first step, Risk profile!

For the print version of this article, click here.


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