This is Steven Mintz's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Steven Mintz's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Steven Mintz
United States
My ethics knowledge and wisdom gives me a unique perspective on accounting and business ethics, fraud and whistle-blowing, societal and workplace ethics issues.
Interests: Reading, writing, blogging, ethics advice, traveling, eating, sports
Recent Activity
Should Women have a more prominent role as CFOs? Women should be given a more prominent role to play in top management especially when it comes to the CFO position. That is the proposition I am putting forth in this blog. If we take a look at the organizational structure... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
The Substance of Netanyahu's Speech has been lost over Concerns about Form I’ll start this blog expressing my opinion why Bibi’s Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on March 3 is justified, needed, and should be a wakeup call to all Americans that Israel faces an existential threat. Many groups have vowed to destroy and obliterate Israel over the years and recent threats by ISIL make it all the more real. So, the issue is whether the global importance of the speech outweighs any issues about how it was setup by the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Ron Dermer, Israeli... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Ethics Sage
Spotting the Red Flags is Key to Fraud Prevention and Detection All companies are vulnerable to fraud, but small businesses are particularly vulnerable because decision-making and other responsibilities are often concentrated in a few key positions. Small business owners tend to be overly-trusting of employees, especially those in sensitive financial... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Why is American Sniper such a Phenomenon? The debate continues whether the movie The American Sniper portrays a real American hero, Chris Kyle, or a racist who was out to kill as many Iraqis as possible without regard for the value of a human life, with hatred in his heart, and with nothing resembling a moral compass. The movie has become an American phenomenon in the one month since its release and now is the highest grossing war movie since Saving Private Ryan. The support for the story of Chris Kyle is compelling. The underlying reason, I believe, is the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Basic Standards of Behavior in the Workplace Lagging the Influence of the Internet and Social Media Are manners and civility missing from the workplace? According to a recent survey by Kessler International, the answer is a resounding yes. This comes as no surprise to me because today’s workers grew up... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Civil Discourse is an Important value in the Academy This is the third of a three-part series on the ethics of academics. My blog on February 4 dealt with politically correct speech on college campuses. On February 9, I examined Harvard University's ban on sexual relationships between professors and undergraduates. Today I look at civility on campus. I feel fortunate to be teaching at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where a culture of ethics and civility permeates activities on campus and relationships with colleagues. The tone is set at the top and, for me, it is the ethical tone that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2015 at Ethics Sage
FLA: Thanks for choosing my blog to write about. I agree with most of what you say about loyalty. You do not, however, identify the stakeholders who are affected by this kind of action a company might take that is illegal -- i.e., misappropriation of assets and financial fraud -- and how these stakeholders are affected. Stakeholder analysis is an important component of ethical behavior. Such actions can lead to a financial crash down the road if and when the fraud is detected and publicly reported. Companies may be sued for large amounts thereby squandering shareholder resources. Employees may lose their jobs. Such actions also harm the public interest and, as we learned during the great recession, bring down the stock market. Also, ethical legalism points out that even if an action is legal that doesn't mean it's ethical. This also contributes to a higher ethical standard than your response implies. In short, if it's not a whistle-blower who acts to stop the fraud, who will and protect the public interest? It is true one's motivation to blow the whistle might be questioned from an ethical point of view (bounty award incentive), but the greater good is served by making the award available to stop the criminal act. Whistle-blowers like Cynthia Cooper at WorldCom were essential to stop that fraud and honor the public trust. For her actions she was named one of Time Magazine's Persons of the Year so that indicates a respect for the action itself regardless of loyalty to one's employer. To me, loyalty is a secondary ethical value because if not, then all sorts of improper actions can go unchecked and rationalized all in the name of loyalty. Steve Mintz
Harvard Policy does not go far enough This is the second of a three-part series on the ethics of academics. My blog on February 4 dealt with politically correct speech on college campuses. Today's blog looks at Harvard University's recently announced ban on sexual relationships between professors and undergraduates. On February 11, I will look at civility on campus. Today's blog is done in a tongue-and-cheek way built on a cynical belief about Harvard's new policy. The University announced last week that it will ban such sexual relationships but the ban does not seem to include graduate students in Master's... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at Ethics Sage
CA Master Plan for Higher Education is at Risk Having taught in the California State University System for almost thirty years, I was surprised to learn of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to allow two-year community colleges to offer four-year degrees. Paving the way for one of the largest community college... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
CUNY Ban of “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” and “Ms.” Is Academically Insulting Mr,” “Mrs.,” and “Ms” are being shown the door at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. “Allowing students to use their preferred name and eliminating the use of pronouns and official correspondence is a necessary step toward protecting the rights, privacy, and safety of students,” said Dominique Nisperos, co-chair of the Doctoral Students’ Council at CUNY, adding that the DCS has been battling marginalization and working specifically to support gender nonconforming students for several years. At CUNY, school staffers have been advised to refrain from using... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Laura, I agree with your basic analysis that builds on the ethical principle of justice/fairness. Yes, all employees should be treated the same and with respect in establishing any drug testing policy. And, privacy issues are a main concern. There is a responsibility issue for employers to insure a safe working environment and one that contributes to productivity and efficiency in operations. Establishing the most ethical drug policy also should consider the rights of all stakeholders including non-drug-using-employees who might be affected by drug users with respect to the aforementioned points. Thanks for choosing my blog to respond to. Steven Mintz
Harry, you make some good points but I some recent study by AMANET supports what I said about monitoring employee emails and taking action against an employee if he/she violates company policy, for excessive use, and other inappropriate uses. Here are some of those results: E-Mail and Internet-Related Terminations The 28% of employers who have fired workers for e-mail misuse cite the following reasons: —Violation of any company policy (64%) —Inappropriate or offensive language (62%) —Excessive personal use (26%) —Breach of confidentiality rules (22%) —Other (12%). These are offenses that should not be overlooked by an employer regardless of the reason given by employees for the use of personal email accounts on company time. Thanks for choosing my blog to write about.
Ethically, Romney did the Right Thing So Mitt Romney told his supporters last Friday that he won’t run for President in 2016. He made the right choice from an ethical perspective, at least in my opinion, because he has done nothing the past four years of his life to qualify him to run again. As far as I can tell, Romney has done virtually nothing to convince me he has the public interest at heart. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t held a job like forever. His main “accomplishment” since losing the 2012 election to Barack Obama was... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Cultivating an Ethical Climate in the Workplace It's not easy to maintain an ethical posture in some businesses that routinely expect their employees to leave their ethics at the doorstep once they join the organization. In some cases the philosophy of top management seems to be that there is a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Are Business Schools using the Best Approach to Teach Ethics? The other day I reflected on a lecture I gave to my ethics students on how to apply philosophical reasoning methods to teach business ethics. I wondered whether my students were grasping the difficulties that exist in making one’s voice heard when faced with ethical dilemmas in the workplace. While I truly believe even business students should be exposed to philosophical reasoning methods to analyze conflict situations in business, I do worry that their learning may stop at applying the methods but fall short on taking the ethical action needed... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Tim, you may have misunderstood my points in this blog. I do not support quotas for women because I do not believe they are necessary. Women are more capable on their own to increase representation on the board. In fact, I said "I believe it would be a mistake to impose quotas. It implies women are not qualified on their own merits and need a push to break through the glass ceiling. In fact, a 2010 Mckinsey study found that across all industry sectors, companies with the most women on their boards of directors significantly and consistently outperform those with no female representation: by 41 percent in terms of return on equity and by 56 percent in terms of operating results." I also said, "I believe the relative lack of women in the boardroom threatens to stifle innovation and growth in business. Women are increasingly involved in the workforce; they now comprise about 50 percent. Women have attributes that add value to decision-making and that can help deal with ethical dilemmas. They bring a sense of intuitiveness and emotional connection with difficult issues that enables them to deal more effectively with challenges that may have a right and wrong component to it. Let’s face it, it is the men who have ruled corporate America and Wall Street for far too long and who were at the helm of a variety of financial crises, the most recent of which was the meltdown of the system in 2008."
Please note that the comments in your piece seem to imply that I wrote the blog in question. In fact, it was a blog written by a reader that I decided to post as a guest blog on my website. The comments in this blog do not reflect all aspects of my position. I certainly agree with your discussion of emotional intelligence of women.
Etiquette and Ethics Lacking in the Workplace and Society By age sixteen, George Washington had copied out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation. They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The first rule is: “Every Action... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Productivity Suffers post-Super Bowl: A Good Reason for a Holiday? Now that we know the Seattle Seahawks will play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, it is time to dust off the long-standing argument that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. What’s the point of going to work with a hangover and excessively-bloated feeling? Can we really be productive that day? Is it worth turning on the lights and paying the electricity bill to have millions of people fake their way through the day? You may be wondering what anyone of this has... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. You make some excellent points. My opinion is that quotas are not a good thing for women or any minority group based on the Justice Theory that posits equals should be treated equally; unequals, unequally. Of course, it all depends on how you interpret equally. For me, women are more than capable of competing with men for top management positions and on an equal footing without the help of quotas. The fact that they currently may be under-represented is more a function of years of having to work harder to get to that position. Things are changing and will continue to in the future, and more C-Suite jobs will become available for women. For example, women make up nearly half of the US workforce at 47%, according to the most recent data, and 51% of people employed in management and professional jobs. And while they still earn less than men — a woman makes about $0.78 for every dollar a man is paid according to a recent US Census Bureau report -- the gender pay gap is at an all-time low. Thanks so much for selecting my blog for your assignment. Steve Mintz
Jack, thanks for commenting on my piece. I understand your point of view. For me ethical decision-making can come down to one's perspective and competing actions can evoke different perspectives on ethics. I do not believe the ends of reversing the President's executive actions on immigration justify the means of attaching it to the DHS funding bill. I see these as separate issues. Also, since I think it's wrong to jeopardize DHS funding by adding amendments that will, in all likelihood, lead to a Presidential veto of the bill, the issue is two wrongs don't make a right. It is a complex issue to be sure and I value your perspective on this issue.
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2015 on Who Speaks for the American People? at Ethics Sage
Republicans in the House haven’t learned the lesson of the Mid-term Elections It’s business as usual in the Republican-led House of Representatives. Yesterday the House voted to overturn President Obama's immigration actions from last November -- and to unravel a directive from 2012 protecting immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children -- sending the bill to the Senate where it faces an uncertain fate. The House voted 236-191 to approve the legislation, which funds DHS through the rest of the budget year to the tune of $40 billion. But as part of that bill, Republicans added provisions to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Ethics Sage
From the Golden Globes to Foreign Bribery: Sony Pictures Embarrassed Again No one was surprised last Sunday night when the hosts of the Golden Globe Awards, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, took a swipe at Sony Pictures for the tasteless comments made by some executives that were released after a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Basic Principles of Ethical Behavior How do you know if you are an ethical person? Most of us would say it’s knowing the difference between right and wrong. But that’s not enough because a person of integrity acts on his or her convictions about right and wrong regardless of the consequences. There is a difference between knowing what the right thing to do is and doing it. Let’s assume you are being pressured by your boss to manipulate the financial statements. An ethical person refuses to go along because it violates honesty. But, does it make you disloyal to your... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Ethics, Cultural Values, and Effective Decision-Making in an Open Workforce Model One of the newly emerging structures in workplace organizations is the “open workforce” model, a trend that has been fuelled by globalization and digitization. Firms increasingly rely on external staff as well as their permanent in-house employees to meet... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice