Integrity In The Boardroom Introduction - Corporate Governance and Business Ethics

Integrity is universally rated by directors as having the greatest impact on successful board performance. Yet, no shared meaning exists about what integrity means. This is because its meaning is dependent on one’s personal values. This chapter seeks to understand how the meaning of integrity varies by individuals’ different dominant values. By understanding the values and motives of directors, future research can give insight into what integrity really means in creating a passionate board: a board agenda (“the talk”) that resonates with directors’ integrity coupled by action (“the walk”).

The objective of this chapter is to investigating the link between values, integrity, and board engagement by:

  • examining data on individuals’ values and translating them into different interpretations of what integrity means to different value groups;
  • proposing the linkage between values and the board agenda and how it can be refocused for optimal decision-making and personal engagement by directors at the level of their values;
  • calling for further research into the personal values of the board.

First, a review of integrity’s role in the boardroom and leadership is provided. Next, a proposition is developed that is followed by empirical research into the value systems of UK society and its impact on respondents’ definition of integrity. Empirical research into European managers’ value systems are summarized with implications for future board-level research. Finally, a case for researching integrity, values, and the board agenda is made followed by limitations, future research, and conclusions.

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