A New View of Integrity: A Life-Changing Model

59 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2015 Last revised: 22 Feb 2016

See all articles by Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard


Michael C. Jensen

Harvard Business School; SSRN; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Harvard University - Accounting & Control Unit

Date Written: November 4, 2015


There is far too much concern today about the conflicts of interest between people; for example, agency theory (the conflicts of interest between agents and owners) -- a favorite topic of Jensen -- and not enough attention paid to the damage caused by an individual's conflict of interest with himself or herself.

We argue here that a large amount of the damage inflicted on people and organizations is caused by actions of individuals that are not in their own self interest. That is, people consistently impose costs on themselves, their loved ones, friends, associates, partners, employers and the public by actions that are not in their own self interest.

In this presentation we focus on the integrity issues that cause huge problems in the lives of most individuals and to every one we come in contact with. These slides draw on the work on a new model of integrity that is available at:

http://ssrn.com/abstract=920625 http://ssrn.com/abstract=1542759 http://ssrn.com/abstract=1511274

We present a positive model of integrity that, as we distinguish and define integrity, provides powerful access to increased performance for individuals, groups, organizations, and societies. Our model reveals the causal link between integrity and increased performance, quality of life, and value-creation for all entities, and provides individuals and organizations access to that causal link. Integrity is thus a factor of production as important as knowledge and technology, yet its major role in productivity and performance has been largely hidden or unnoticed, or even ignored by economists and others.

Keywords: Integrity, Workability, Whole and Complete

Suggested Citation

Erhard, Werner and Jensen, Michael C., A New View of Integrity: A Life-Changing Model (November 4, 2015). Barbados Group Working Paper No. 10-02, Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 10-068, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2516603 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2516603

Michael C. Jensen (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field
Negotiations, Organizations & Markets
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=ovr&facId=6484

SSRN ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://ssrn.com/author=9

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels

Harvard University - Accounting & Control Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics