Integrity: The virtue of compromise

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Abstract

In this article, I develop a novel interpretation of integrity that I believe ought to be of special interest to business ethicists. According to a traditional understanding, integrity is the virtue of holding fast to one’s principles in the face of temptations. Against this, I suggest that integrity is the virtue that governs rather than forbids compromise. In other words, integrity does not just forbid compromise; it sometimes demands it. This virtue will sound paradoxical to some, and I spend much of the essay arguing for its plausibility and locating it within the larger philosophical tradition. In the second half of the essay, I try to connect this virtue to the essential aims of business as understood by shareholder theorists. If my argument is correct, it may explain why integrity is of such central concern for business ethicists. This article is published as part of a collection on integrity and its counterfeits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16085
JournalPalgrave Communications
Volume2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

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