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The Integrity Dividend

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The Integrity Dividend

Leading by the Power of Your Word


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

You can improve your firm’s financial performance and still have integrity. Really.

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  • Applicable
  • Engaging


Leadership expert Tony Simons identifies and quantifies how keeping promises benefits a manager’s reputation and a company’s financial performance. His study of 76 Holiday Inn hotels examines their profitability in light of their employees’ assessments of the managers’ integrity; the only variables were employee perception and financial results. Simons explores the nature of integrity – a prized but elusive quality in leaders – and explains how to practice the values you and your company preach. getAbstract recommends this absorbing analysis to leaders, managers and staffers who aim for better results with honor.


“The Dollar Value of Your Impeccable Word”

In 2005, “integrity was the single most looked-up word on Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary website,” which defines it as “firm adherence to a code of values” – that is, total honesty and sincerity. Such traits form the core of leadership excellence but often aren’t apparent in day-to-day business practice. As a manager, you must understand and manage other people’s opinions of how your actions match your words. The better you follow the precepts you set forth, the more you’ll reap substantial rewards.

Leadership expert Tony Simons studied 76 US and Canadian Holiday Inns owned by Bristol Hotels and Resorts to determine the impact of integrity on financial performance. He used extensive, carefully designed employee surveys to measure hotel workers’ trust in their supervisors’ and managers’ behavioral integrity. An increase of only “one-eighth of a point difference between two hotels in integrity ratings” manifested in a 2.5% (or 2.5 cents per dollar) annual revenue improvement. For a typical hotel doing $10 million in yearly revenue, a one-eighth-point gain translated to an additional $250,000 in annual revenue. Some of the better...

About the Author

Tony Simons is an associate professor of management and organizational behavior at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

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