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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
Differences in Ethical Values Between the Two Countries I just returned from several days in Japan and noticed a marked difference in how Japanese people carry themselves in public and ethical values that differ from those in the U.S. Traveling in Japan one notices right away how respect is deeply ingrained into all segments of society starting with the traditional bow of the head, a sign that a person is important to the Japanese. It is very noticeable in shops and on public accommodations including traveling their excellent subway system and by rail and bullet trains. For years we in... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Ethics Sage
Dan, thanks for your comments. You might like to read a blog I wrote on Wells Fargo in my "workplaceethicsadvice" blog. Here is the link: Steve
Ethical Organizations Should Value Employees as an End in Itself, Not a Means to an End The ethical leader understands that positive relationships are the gold standard for all organizational effort. Good quality relationships built on respect and trust—not necessarily agreement, because people need to spark off each other—are the single most important determinant of organizational success. The ethical leader understands that these kinds of relationships germinate and grow in the deep rich soil of fundamental principles: trust, respect, integrity, honesty, fairness, equity, justice and compassion. Early last century the German philosopher and theologian, Martin Buber, described these successful relationships... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Ethics Sage
Diversity of Thought in the Workplace is an Ethical Value I have recently blogged about political correctness on college campuses. Today's blog addresses possible effects on workplace diversity of an environment that controls where and when ideas can be expressed. Imagine you have recently graduated from college and have begun... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
Thanks, Mark, for the comment and a good point on the beauty table.
Is Sexual Assault Too Easily Dismissed by Campus Administrators? Brock Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer who spent three months in jail after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, registered as a sex offender in western Ohio a couple of weeks ago. While Turner is required to register as a sex offender for life, it doesn’t explain why he was given only a three-month sentence. Also, the registry is somewhat of a joke because while his name is on the online listing of offenders, the only additional protection for the public is a postcard that will be sent... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Don’t Believe Anything They Say or Do In my last blog I addressed why “political ethics” is an oxymoron so I found it informative and confirmatory to watch the candidates and their surrogates the past two Sundays on the morning talk shows. Interviews with Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates and their surrogates reinforced why so many Americans hate politics and politicians. It’s more than not trusting the candidates themselves, we can’t stand politicians and surrogates who answer questions from a set of talking points emailed by the campaigns. We loathe those who answer a question about the behavior of their... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Public Policy Must Be Guided by Ethical Principles The International Encyclopedia of Ethics defines “political ethics” as the practice of making moral judgments about political action, and the study of that practice. As a field of study, it is divided into two branches: the ethics of process and the ethics of public policy. The ethics of process focuses on public officials and the methods they use while the ethics of policy concentrates on judgments about policies and laws. Regardless of how they are defined, political ethics is at a low point in the U.S. because of self-serving decision-makers in our... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Corporate Compliance and Governance Failures at Wells Fargo How can we explain why a bank allowed its employees to open more than 2 million unauthorized accounts, sticking customers with almost $2.5 million in fees? The answer is Wells Fargo has a corporate culture that enabled its employees to put their... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far? Universities are learning communities that should value and protect students’ First Amendment right to exercise free speech. As students return to their colleges and universities for the new academic year, it is a good time to reflect on the recent free speech movement on campuses that some would say stifles free speech. A troubling development on many campuses is that designated spaces are being used to direct the speech in ways that put the interests of one group over another. What are ‘Safe Places’? Designated areas on campuses called “safe places” are gathering areas... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Employee Protections & Workplace Harassment Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in legally protected activity. Retaliation can include any negative job action, such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or job or shift reassignment. However, retaliation can also be subtler, as explained by the legal... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Pokemon Go Craze Enhances Social Interaction Who would have thought it? A game played on electronic devices can be good for your overall psyche and mental health. It gets the home-bound youngsters dependent on their smart phones and tablets for entertainment and engagement out of the house and into a more desirable social environment. These cute characters are visually appealing and challenges one's imagination. Twitter is flooded with stories about Pokemon Go’s impact on players’ anxiety and depression, with thousands of people singing its praises for getting them off their butts and making it easier to meet friends and strangers... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Is it Time for the 49ers to ‘Sack’ Kaepernick? In ethics we say there is a difference between what a person has a right to do and what the right thing to do is. This is the question raised by Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the playing of our National Anthem. No one denies Kaepernick has a right to sit rather than stand. However, were his actions justifiable? The San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand for the National Anthem in last Friday’s pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers because he was protesting “black oppression” in the United... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Questions about Business Ethics in Pricing the EpiPen Last Wednesday it was reported that the price of EpiPen, a life-saving injection device, had increased by 671 percent between 2007 and 2010. The public outcry led Mylan, the company that produces the EpiPen, to announce it would develop a generic brand... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Costs and Benefits of Uber versus Taxicabs Is it possible that the Uber ride-sharing app is worth between $60 billion and $70 billion as has been reported? Can Uber’s market valuation be higher than that of the automobile companies that make the cars its drivers use? To put it into perspective, Ford and Honda are worth about $60 billion, while GM has a market value of around $55 billion. Yes, the valuation seems ridiculous but so did Facebook’s $104 billion market value the day it went public in May 2012. Four years later, Facebook is now worth about $300 billion.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Why Government Employees Should Take a Required Course in Ethics What should we make of the apparent ties between the Clinton Global Initiative (Clinton Foundation) and the Clinton State Department? Some of the reports I've seen allege over 50% of the people that met with Clinton donated to the Foundation.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Ethical Failings: Unprincipled Behavior and not Accepting Responsibility The only thing Ryan Lochte is sorry for is getting caught. The 12-time Olympic medalist in swimming disgraced the U.S. and disrespected the people of Brazil when he concocted a story about being robbed at gun point with the gun held to his head. His disgraceful behavior included pulling down a sign at a gas station, urinating behind the station, lying about the incident, and playing the victim game. His actions demonstrate a lack of character that should lead to being banned from further Olympic competition, fines, and a loss of endorsements... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Mike: These are good points. Perhaps the firms need a dose of reality from the PCAOB/SEC as they seemingly revert to old behaviors. Steve
Independence Impairments Threaten the Public Interest The accounting profession has lost its way and has reverted to old behaviors, including increased commercialism, and created a worrisome trend of deficient audits. It may be time to change the regulatory regime and completely prohibit the performance of all non-audit services for audit... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Why we have Lost our Moral Compass I have blogged many times before about the loss of a moral compass in society. It goes much deeper than simply not being able to distinguish right from wrong. It goes to the very core of our being. Many people don’t even know what it means to have common sense and be decent in dealings with others. Perhaps the reason is the social-media-driven culture that does not lend itself to interpersonal communications and interaction. Let’s face it, you can only do so much to demonstrate ethical intent and the ability to treat others... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2016 at Ethics Sage
The Ethics of Providing a ‘Living Wage’ We’ve heard a lot this campaign season about what the minimum wage should be. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. For most of us this is troubling because we can’t fathom someone trying to make ends meet on an annual salary... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
An Ethical Evaluation of Actions by WikiLeaks and Snowden The New York Times reports that while both Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks may both support the dissemination of government secrets, they seem to disagree on how best to do it. On July 28, 2016, Snowden, the former government contractor who released a trove of National Security Agency documents and now lives in exile in Russia, credited WikiLeaks, a clearinghouse for similar disclosures, with furthering the cause of transparency but also criticized its unfiltered approach. Snowden said on Twitter: “Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @WikiLeaks has helped. But their... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2016 at Ethics Sage
How to Identify Bullying Behavior by Employees Workplace Bullying refers to repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or a group of employees), which are intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine, or which create a risk to the health or safety of the employee(s)... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Kill the Messenger Syndrome and the DNC "#DemExit" refers to Sanders delegates walking out of the DNC and is an appropriate title for this blog because the hacking incident referred to in this blog may have contributed to Sanders losing to Clinton and stoked the anger of those delegates. The “Kill the Messenger Syndrome” refers to the desire to ‘kill’ the person who is the bearer of bad news that the receiving party does not want to hear. It happens in business when a whistle-blower comes forth and informs top management of a financial fraud only to be retaliated against... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2016 at Ethics Sage