Do we apply our knowledge in the interest of work?

In one of my earlier jobs, I worked in the HR section for a while. Apart from other things, we dealt with performance appraisals. Based on appraisals, annual character role entries used to be made in personal files of officials. These entries played a key role regarding decisions related to career growth of officials, particularly in matters such as promotion. Appraisal done by immediate supervisors located in different locations, used to be finally endorsed by the Managing Director.  I noted that all appraisals had to end with a remark ‘Integrity certified’.  Being the last remark, it meant a lot: other things/contributions meant nothing, if a person did not work with integrity.

Once we were getting the MD’s final remarks on annual character roles of officials. In case of an officer, known for his excellent knowledge of work and was vast experience, the MD wrote, “An excellent officer, very competent, but I did not find that he used his expertise in the interest of the organization. Therefore, integrity not certified”. This remark stays with me till date. What a good test of integrity of people at workplace!

We can watch actions and decisions of people at workplaces. If they reflect the interest of organizational goal and objectives, of stakeholders, of consumers…  they work with integrity. On the other hand, if self-interest is paramount, convenience is a motive of action/decision, application to address critical issues is not found, we can form an impression about integrity of people around us.  In this context, 360 degree appraisal makes more sense rather than appraisals only by the boss/supervisors. Colleagues see a person’s conduct on a daily basis. Smaller acts covey more about integrity rather than one-off decision/act, which may not give the real picture. 

I am sure my colleagues, particularly my Secretary, are the second best judge of my integrity. But I am the best judge. I know my intentions. I know what is driving my action/decisions. I know if I am truthful, honest and ethical.    

… we are the best judge of our integrity. The acid test still remains the same. Do we apply our knowledge/expertise in the interest of organization? A regular introspection will help find the answer, and of course the remedial action.




10 Responses to Do we apply our knowledge in the interest of work?

  1. s.m.mahzar says:

    dear afsar,
    you have defined integrity very well. apart from its certification by the superiors at workplace the character of the person concerned must prove it.

  2. DR ANURAG VERMA says:

    Honesty and uprightness in all spheres of life is a personal matter,because no one knows better than one own self about one’s own integrity.As for workplace, the assessor of your integrity should also be examined similarly by the assessee? PREPOSTEROUS all would holler.But fact of the matter is if ones conscience is clear and one has made an honest effort though not to the expectation of the organization,how is such a situation dealt.I have been doing what I felt right althrough without giving any thought to appraisals and through a score of heads, have got my due fairly enough. At times immediately the appreciations did not come ,eventually the overall view always prevailed.Accepting shortcomings,failures,a botchedup job and trying to improve is key to self satisfaction.One does not have to answer or prove his integrity time and again.

  3. Dr Vinayak Agrawal says:

    Integrity is not a matter of choice but a way of life and a foundation on which you build your life and deal with difficult situations which test you or in other words your integrity. You define your integrity and your integrity defines you.

    As for certification of integrity by someone else including your boss is a strange scenario. If integrity of an individual is questionable in private or professional life, then the person himself is questionable and its as good as telling him to pack his bags. However, an equally important question to answer is: is the organization you work for has integrity or not, which is mainly defined by the practices and concern of the owners or bosses concerning the employees. if the employer doesn’t exhibit integrity, then he may as well kiss goodbye to expecting a very devoted staff.

  4. s.m.mahzar says:

    Integrity, cetified by superiors at workplace is vital for promotions in job but the person’s conscience is the supreme authority to certify his/her integrity.

  5. Indrani says:

    This is a relevant issue. We have to pause and ask ourselves do we really apply our knowledge/expertise in the interest of the organisation. Integrity towards the organisation should omprise of being honest, committed, principled, fair, balanced and responsible. Some people are in a job only to gain experience for better future prospects or because they could not get the job suited to the activity of their choice/interest. Some people are simply bored in their existing job because they have not got a promotion or pay hike as expected. In these circumstances they do not give their 100%. But there is no malafide intention involved and scope for correction/improvement exists. But cases, where employees cheat on the organisation for ulterior motives or do not have a cooperative and helpful approach in public dealing jobs, are unpardonable and exhibit severe breach of integrity. Integrity is something personal and cannot be compulsorily enforced. The answer lies in being self aware and self reflective.

  6. vibha says:

    You have shared a very insightful piece Afsir. I think that everyday before going to bed we need to answer ourselves, about our intentions and acts.It could be standing up in front of the mirror or while placing head on the pillow. Istead of fearing the Boss or God, self accountability works better.

  7. DR ANURAG VERMA says:

    HT 31/01/09.WASHINGTON
    ETHICS!!! INTEGRITY????????????

  8. DR ANURAG VERMA says:


  9. Vivek Bhatnagar says:

    It is indeed a very interesting way of measuring integrity. In many cases, while the appraiser intuitively knows the integrity of the appraisee, he is unable to quantify his judgement.

  10. S M baqar says:

    very thought provoking piece!but a related issue is Do all employers provide such environment to draw maximum from the employee? probably not. In my current assignemnt I am seeing few of my colleagues want to do something different with extra hours of efforts but they are not being encouraged to do so. perhaps a Gandhian approach or an highest order of work discipline/ethics needed on part of employee to contribute fully using all his experience and wisdom in his or her duty in such situations.But employees must also understand that an honest and extra effort never go unrecognized.

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