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Integrity and its counterfeits: implications for economy, business and management

Editors: Dr William Sun (Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility, Leeds Beckett University, UK), Professor Simon Robinson (Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University, UK), and Dr  Paweł Łukasz Polowczyk (University of Gdansk, Department of Social Studies, Poland).

Scope: The theme of integrity has been theoretically explored by great thinkers and scholars ranged from ancient Greek philosophers to the modern and postmodern philosophers and ethicists. However, its varied applications into business practices and its effects on the formation of business worlds in financial capitalism have received little attention in research. As a result, we rarely know clearly what role integrity has played in business practices and economies, and in leadership. It is noticeable that as a key concept in the new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement and social enterprises, integrity has been favourably used by many companies and business practitioners to refer to their ethical stances and social performances. Yet, just like CSR that has been criticised as a public relations instrument and a “window dressing” fashion in business realities, integrity has seen its various counterfeits in business practice. The counterfeits have become rampant that we are often uneasy to identify whether it is a real or pseudo integrity. The counterfeits have imposed risks on the reputation and original dignity of integrity, and suppressed business leaders’ motivations towards business integrity. In learning lessons from the 2008 global financial crisis, we urgently need to explore integrity and its counterfeits in business practice. Issues of integrity are related to the individual level, the level of individual businesspersons; institutional level, the level of particular business institutions; and the systemic level, the level of social systems, forms of capitalism and alternative social systems. This collection aims to make a contribution towards filling the gap between the abstract concept of integrity and its application into business practice.