Friday, May 19, 2006

Perception and Integrity

Today the subject of integrity is constantly in the news. Words used to describe news events provide a perception to the public and sometimes the words used do not match the facts when all is said and done. Perception is involved in every evaluation of an individual, company or organization. When a person makes statements the perception can be that he is for or against a specific issue or has certain principles. However, actions and documentation to support the statements made must accompany the words. Initial perceptions can be deceiving and may not be based on facts but sometimes this is intentional. Companies want to project certain images to the public and make statements that may be in agreement with public opinion. However the perception we see must be matched by documentation for us to retain the perception generated.

People who give the perception of having integrity in their words may in some instances be giving a false impression. One example is where people many times want to give a positive perception of being good and honest when the facts state otherwise. If actions do not match the words, the perception is that they did not mean what they said. This provides an opinion or perception that they cannot be trusted. This affects people as individuals and it affects the organizations to which they are a part. Companies do not want to give the perception that their words are meaningless but sometimes this occurs if the wrong perception is generated through actions of their employees and management.

There are many examples, which are in the news where people are investigated for violation of the ethics principles they are to follow. Sometimes the investigation concludes that no violation existed. The perception caused the investigation to be initiated as the conditions gave the appearance or perception that a violation had occurred. It is also important to note that perception can be or is a key point in the opinion others have of us as individuals and the organizations to which we are a part.

In operating a business the public perception of the products or services a business has can or will affect the profit or loss of the company. Companies and individuals within them must take actions to publicize what you or your organization is about so current and potential customers may form the correct opinion. The key again is that any statements made must be met with action by management and employees.

The perception of a company can be created or impacted by coverage of company decisions in the news. If all the facts are not presented the public opinion of the company or individual will be affected. We as individuals also form opinions of companies and individuals based on our interaction with them. With regard to personal experiences our opinion can be impacted on how we are treated by a member of an organization or company. If we receive bad service or have a bad experience with a product, our opinion or perception of a company or individual will be negative. This usually translates into finding other resources for the product or service provided.

People want to be treated fairly when dealing with individuals and organizations. At the same time we want to project that we are responsive to doing business with organizations that respect their customers. If we feel we are treated fairly and that the business operates in an environment of integrity, we are more likely to continue to do business with them. The right perception is important as the public will make decisions based on the perception the company or organization transmits.

Politicians regularly try to project that they are looking out for the public good. Perception affects us all by the way we talk and the actions we take. This again is how opinions are formed of us as individuals. We must remember to match our words with our actions and thus provide a positive perception.


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