Leading with Integrity: a fundamental principle of integrity and good governance
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Abstract The assessment of 'Integrity Systems', sometimes referred to as 'Ethics Regimes', has generally focused on national perspectives, whether the right institutions, policies and procedures exist to achieve an effective national integrity system. The recently released Australian National Integrity System Assessment report highlighted the importance of mapping integrity systems and analysing whether the various elements have the resources to do their job (capacity), how they interact (coherence) and whether they are yielding the desired results (consequences). However, no matter how sound an integrity system may be, without the right human capital operating within it, such a system can achieve very little. In practice, it is people, primarily leaders at all levels, who drive organisational direction, create and sustain an ethical climate and provide major incentives or disincentives for organisational and employee ethical behaviour. This paper attempts to extend this framework beyond a systems and national focus to more fully recognise the interplay of complex human relationships within individual organisations. In this context the quality of the leadership is a critical dynamic as it deeply influences the predictability of the behaviour of people in organisations. Therefore, the development of ethical leadership skills, underpinned by sound ethical decision making, is fundamental to creating organisations in which people 'Lead with Integrity'. This paper examines some of the relevant and recent literature on ethical leadership, focusing on the key issues surrounding ethical leadership roles and how these might be better understood, assessed and enhanced, not just as valuable qualities in their own right, but as a key to organisational integrity. The paper then presents some recommendations for actions within organisations to ensure and sustain ethical leadership. Finally, the paper recommends further research to assess the current standing of ethical leadership and ways in which it can be measured for improvements over time.
World Ethics Forum 2006 Conference Proceedings
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