Integrity as personality style: Better not like Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg?


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Text comes from: Menschen entschlüsseln: Ein Kriminalpsychologe erklärt, wie man spezielle Analyse- und Profilingtechniken im Alltag nutzt (2015) by Dr. Jens Hoffmann, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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Integrity is not a personality style, but an indication of what ultimately we are able to do with our personality and why not. This is shown by the example Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

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Dr. Jens Hoffmann Jens_HoffmannDr. Jens Hoffmann is a criminal psychologist and profiling expert.

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What is integrity?

Integrity itself is a combination of different factors. This includes:

  • reliability
  • conscientiousness
  • Motivation

It is therefore a psychological dimension that is composed of different psychological aspects.

Whoever lies ...

What's interesting is that whether a person behaves aggressively in the workplace, for example, or does not take his time off the pauses - whoever shows just one such unethical behavioral pattern has a much higher chance of still having it has other non-integrity behaviors.

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It seems that the term integrity is the answer to the question of how much a person is willing to cross boundaries - or how little he cares about what the consequences of his actions are for others. People with low integrity do not care if others are harmed.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

A very good example of a person described as an occasional snatcher is Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg - the former German Minister of Defense, who stumbled upon the plagiarism scandal in connection with his doctoral thesis and subsequently lost his post. The fact that Guttenberg had the urge to be special was already evident in interviews with him - he did not hide it very discreetly.

There was about a visit to Afghanistan, which was staged almost like a TV show and some media logically referred to as Guttenberg show. The baron did not just fly to Afghanistan and talk to the troops. One of them was television presenter Johannes B. Kerner, who was allowed to ask the minister to talk on a specially constructed stage between military helicopters and airplanes.

Of course, one has to admit that Guttenberg had a very charismatic appearance for a politician. Above all, however, was not least by the show in the Hindu Kush that external impact for Guttenberg had a very high priority.

The plagiarism scandal as an example of lack of integrity

When, at the beginning of the year, 2011 publicly discussed the suspicions regarding his doctoral thesis, he initially denied everything. This turned out to be catastrophic in terms of crisis management.

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Because his external impact was so important to him, he always expressed himself in the form of rationalizations. In psychology, this term stands for the fact that what has been experienced is subsequently attributed to reasonable explanations.

In the Guttenberg case, this was expressed in such a way that he declared the plagiarism alleged against him to be such that he had used different data carriers in different places and in the end had simply gotten confused about which contents came from him and others.

Rights and rules apply only to others?

In addition, his family had put a lot of pressure on him. All together, this is an example of massive rationalization attempts, which presumably represent an integrity dimension of his personality. At the same time, he expressed his conviction that he had certain special rights.

The case clearly shows how someone is capable of believing that everything is in place and that rights and rules apply only to others - but not to him. The pronounced narcissism alone would not be sufficient in the Guttenberg case as an explanation. Added to this were rationalization strategies with regard to one's own actions, such as trivializing and justifying.

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