Original Research

Co-constructing integrity: A conceptual framework

Annelize van Niekerk, Michelle S. May
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1498 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1498 | © 2019 Annelize van Niekerk, Michelle S. May | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 2017 | Published: 22 January 2019

About the author(s)

Annelize van Niekerk, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Michelle S. May, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa


Orientation: The use of an integrity framework can positively influence the impact senior management has on middle management’s experience of integrity and subsequently contribute towards creating a positive work environment and establishing healthy relationships between these two groups.

Research purpose: The aim of this research is to obtain insights from psychology practitioners about the potential application of, and the value added by, a particular integrity framework within organisations.

Motivation for the study: Establishing a positive work environment and organisational culture that upholds integrity and that is conducive to behaviour marked by integrity, requires investment into the development of leadership integrity. Utilising an integrity framework will enable psychology practitioners and organisational leadership to create an environment in which healthy relationships can be established between all stakeholders, in particular, between senior and middle managers, allowing integrity to flourish.

Research approach/design and method: A hermeneutic, qualitative study was undertaken and convenient sampling was used. Participants included industrial and counselling psychologists. A listening post was convened and the data obtained were analysed using thematic analysis.

Main findings: The findings indicate organisations can use the framework effectively by customising it according to their specific needs, organisational strategy, vision and mission.

Practical/managerial implication: The framework will enable senior management to influence follower behaviour positively regarding their integrity within the organisation. The framework will assist middle managers in gaining a better understanding of the impact senior management has on their experience of integrity.

Contribution/value-add: The study also highlights the important role organisations play in creating and establishing an ethical work climate that will ensure corporate integrity. This will enable organisations to provide value to their corporate stakeholders and to society at large.


integrity; thematic analysis; listening post; organisational psychology; qualitative research


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