Integrity and wrongdoing

Professional commitments can easily, yet gradually and unthinkingly, become compromised by personal needs such as earning a living, acquiring wealth, gaining power and authority, and maintaining prestige. Explanations of wrongdoing assist in understanding the nature of wrongdoing. Social explanations use structural features and outside pressures, which maybe systemic as in MCOs or episodic due to the nature of the job, whereas character explanations relate to personal faults, which are not all bad or all good, and can change overtime. The latter can be sorted into:

  • Bad preference which are morally harmful intentions and undesirable desires, either choosing to do the wrong thing or perversely believing it is right.
  • Lack of rational self-control Due to weakness of will (moral weakness) where temptation overrides doing what is right or moral negligence (thoughtlessness, carelessness or lack of due care)
  • Moral indifference due to lack of concern for other (or self) which could be amorality (refusal to apply moral principles) or moral detachment (having moral principles, but failing to apply them)

This section is composed of various sub-topics. You are free to explore any of these topics but should probably not try to write something that encompasses all of them. While there is little evidence of wrongdoing among South African physiotherapists it is still important to understand what it means to conduct yourself poorly.

  1. Sexual harassment
  2. Substance abuse
  3. Fraud
  4. Whistle blowing


Hoffmann, W.A. & Nortjé, N., 2015, ‘Ethical misconduct by registered physiotherapists in South Africa (2007–2013): A mixed methods approach’, South African Journal of Physiotherapy 71(1).