Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Integrity, First Edition

Integrity, First Edition: Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Pages: 214
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Integrity, First Edition
    Book Description:

    Drawing on her clinical practice and pioneering efforts in workaholism Dr Killinger describes the personality traits and psychological, philosophical, historical, and familial influences that help develop and maintain integrity. She also looks at how integrity is undermined and lost as a result of obsession, narcissism, and workaholism. Richly illustrated with personal stories, Integrity offers a positive "how to" perspective on safeguarding personal and professional integrity and on encouraging our children to develop this vital character trait. Killinger concludes that integrity is not possible without compassion and makes it clear that doing the right thing includes doing it for the right reason.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7563-9
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)

    Morality and ethics remain popular topics, yet relatively little has been written on integrity.

    A psychological approach to this subject makes sense, because integrity is an internal state of being that guides us towards making morally wise choices. In contrast, morality and ethics are externally imposed values consensually acknowledged by societal standards to be for the common good.

    “What got you interested in this subject?” an editor asks. Perhaps a poem written by Charlie Crocker on the occasion of my father’s forty-fifth anniversary at the London Life Insurance Company will reveal why integrity has played an influential role in my...

  5. Part One What Is Integrity and How Does It Develop?

    • 1 Integrity in a Dishonest World
      (pp. 9-23)

      How do we really know if someone has integrity?

      There’s much trauma and angst involved when integrity is lost, yet we rarely hear first hand about the sufferings of those who have experienced this personal tragedy. Before going on to explore the meaning and importance of integrity, let’s listen to the poignant private reflections of one individual. You may know someone like him.

      Somewhere along the path I’ve trod

      I’ve lost my sense of Self, of God

      I’ve lost the sense of who I am

      I’m empty now; a shell, a sham

      I vainly search my past to see


    • 2 Developing the Key Character Traits of Integrity
      (pp. 24-44)

      Conscience is the sense of right or wrong within each individual.¹

      To be conscientious means honouring personal commitments and obeying the rules that society has evolved for the public good.

      A more formal definition views conscience as “the awareness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do or be that which is recognized as good, often felt to be instrumental in producing feelings of guilt or remorse for ill-doing.”¹ Conversely, wrongdoing is unlikely to produce feelings of guilt or remorse.

      Like a sophisticated security system in our...

    • 3 A Philosophical Look at Integrity
      (pp. 45-58)

      For a deeper understanding of the underpinnings of integrity, it is helpful to explore some philosophical views on morality, ethics, and values. A short but somewhat ponderous description of this complex field inThe Oxford Companion to Philosophystates that philosophy is “rationally critical thinking, of a more or less systematic kind about the general nature of the world (metaphysics or theory of existence), the justification of belief (epistemology or theory of knowledge), and the conduct of life (ethics or theory of value)” (Honderich, 666).

      As a novice who has always been intrigued with philosophical questions, I began to read...

  6. Part Two Why Do People Lose Their Integrity?

    • 4 The Enemies of Integrity
      (pp. 61-75)

      A cynical and rebellious disdain for integrity comes across loud and clear in the words of some self-professed doubters. These people have been disillusioned by some toxic experiences that continue to colour their views on the possibility of wholeness.

      Chad, an ambitious stockbroker, responds, “I remember you once saying that you thought the loss of integrity was one of life’s great tragedies, that by choosing to ignore society’s moral and ethical standards we risk losing everything of real value. Well, I just don’t have that choice. In this crazy world, you can’t afford to do anything but look out for...

    • 5 Obsession: A Major Threat to Integrity
      (pp. 76-92)

      If I had to make an educated guess about who might eventually lose his or her integrity, it would likely be an individual who has become obsessively fixated on a thought, idea, or action. It’s not easy to make intelligentandwise moral and ethical decisions when everything else is swept aside to accommodate some narrowly focused pursuit, especially when it becomes an irrational one. When nothing else matters to us except getting to some sought-after goal, the excessive efforts required can be exhilarating but thoroughly destabilizing. This driving force to rush from Plan a to goal b could be...

    • 6 Why Workaholics Lose Their Integrity
      (pp. 93-108)

      A workaholic is a work-obsessed individual who becomes emotionally crippled and addicted to control and power, caught up in a compulsive drive to gain personal approval and public recognition.

      It is one thing when an obsessive-prone individual develops a disconcerting compulsion to keep everything spotless and insists that other family members measure up to some arbitrary standard. The obsession with work is made doubly problematic by an added component, the addiction to power and control. Its impact on the family is already tragic, but workaholism affects a wider circle of business colleagues and the institutions where these people work.


    • 7 The Corruption of Character
      (pp. 109-125)

      The psychology of why certain people commit criminal acts is beyond the scope of this book. Instead, our focus is on resisting everyday temptations by affirming our admirable traits and becoming more conscious of our character flaws.

      None of us can afford to remain naive when it comes to integrity. As Ernest Hemingway wrote in his posthumously published novel,The Garden of Eden, “all things truly wicked start from innocence.”

      Writers, philosophers, and scientists throughout the ages have tried to make sense out of how good can so easily be corrupted into evil. Albert Einstein described a poignant truth when...

    • 8 Dishonesty and Wilfulness
      (pp. 126-140)

      Dishonesty stems from a hesitancy to recognize or a refusal to admit wrongdoing in order to escape punishment and rejection.

      Whenever people want to avoid the suffering that guilt brings, they may find denial and distortion attractive alternatives to truth. This is especially true if they’ve found in the past that obeying rules, resisting temptation, or doing the honourable thing haven’t paid off.

      Let’s look at some of the seductive guises of dishonesty: bending the rules, wilful behaviour, lying, and self-deception.

      Dishonesty begins early, when children first decide to try out breaking rules. Testing limits within the family is a...

  7. Part Three Keeping Integrity Healthy

    • 9 Freeing Ourselves from Temptation
      (pp. 143-157)

      Temptation and seduction are ever present, so our integrity can’t be a fair-weather thing. When things are going well, we may accept the concept that half of life is positive and half is negative, but during difficult days it can be hard to see anything good.

      Two thousand years ago the philosopher Seneca said much the same thing: “The trip doesn’t exist that can set you beyond the reach of cravings, fits of temper, or fears. If it did, the human race would be off there in a body.”

      Integrity involves a slow transformation away from childhood’s naivety and the...

    • 10 Integrity Is Our Choice
      (pp. 158-175)

      InGeorge Grant: A Biography, William Christian quotes from a letter that philosopher George Grant wrote to a colleague in support of academic freedom and the importance of choice: “Equality should be the central principle of society since all persons, whatever their condition, must freely choose to live by what is right or wrong. This act of choosing is the ultimate human act … Our moral choices matter absolutely in the scheme of things” (213).

      While morality and ethics are imposed externally through societal dictates, integrity stems from an internal state of being. The personal attitudes and values that we...

    • 11 Safeguarding Integrity
      (pp. 176-194)

      InA Personal Record, Joseph Conrad stresses the role of the individual’s conscience in safeguarding integrity: “In that interior world where his thought and his emotions go seeking for the experience of imagined adventures, there are no policemen, no law, no pressure of circumstance or dread of opinion to keep him within bounds. Who then is going to say Nay to his temptations if not his conscience?”

      What has happened to good old-fashioned morality and ethics, the public face of private integrity? There’s rarely a day goes by that someone else with supposedly high moral credentials doesn’t fall from grace....

  8. Integrity: A Personal Quiz
    (pp. 195-196)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-200)
  10. Index
    (pp. 201-204)