What is Integrity?


A strategy based on integrity holds organisations to a more robust standard. While compliance is rooted in avoiding legal sanctions, organisational integrity is based on the concept of self-governance in accordance with a set of guiding principles. From the perspective of integrity, the task of ethics management is to define and give life to an organisation’s guiding values, to create an environment that supports ethically sound behaviour, and to instil a sense of shared accountability among employees. This includes aspects like the establishment of a code of conduct or ethics code.


The EU Expert Group on Good Governance mentioned integrity as one of the core principles to improve good governance in sport, stating that: “Sports bodies should develop a code of ethics binding on all members, stakeholder, participants, staff and volunteers. It should embrace a range of ethical practices and inform the conduct and culture of the organisation as a whole by instilling values of integrity, equity and transparency and an appreciation of acceptable conduct, (…) This code should incorporate the general ethical values of the sports body, but also address specific areas of risk for example by making express provision for the disclosure and registration of gifts and/or acceptance of hospitality and setting suitable financial limits.”


These provisions are perfectly in line with the IOC’s vision of the importance of integrity principles. Indeed, the rule 22 of the Olympic Charter describes the setting-up and the role of the IOC Ethics Commission. The IOC launched its own code of ethics, updated on a regular basis by the executive board, with a specific part dedicated to integrity. Recommendation 32 of the Agenda 2020, “strengthen ethics” is an illustration of the commitment of the IOC for the issue of integrity.  


The entire organisation should be characterised by an atmosphere that enables, supports and encourages ethically correct behavior. The need to obey the law is viewed as a positive aspect of organisational life, rather than an unwelcome constraint imposed by external authorities.

Additionally, there are high expectations regarding the moral integrity of the people who work for the organisation. This is especially true for the so called "decision-makers". A respected personal qualification shall ensure qualified decision makings as well as effective risk management.



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