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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
Is it wrong for NBA Players to flop? I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown tired of seeing grown men flop to fool referees into believing they have been fouled when they didn’t even get touched by the offending player. Yet, it happens multiple times during every basketball playoff... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
How much are we willing to pay to ensure auditor independence? A perpetual ethical problem for auditors is the conflict of interests that exists with a client and client management who are responsible for selecting the auditor, paying the audit fee, and making decisions about auditor retention. Can we reasonably expect auditors to be independent of the client when their ability to service that client depends on the client’s view of matters other than the performance of the auditor? Independence issues abound for auditors. Restrictions exist in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) that limits the non-audit services which can be provided... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Ethics Sage
I appreciate your extensive and thorough reply to my workplace bullying blog. I learned a lot from it. The only point I did not quite get was the statement: "In bigger organisations bullying can be seen in the form of the female gender receiving less pay than males for higher roles as consensus says that men are more highly regarded in higher positions." It seems to me there would have to be some overt act against the female to be bullying. I also wonder why bullying against men was not mentioned or other underrepresented classes. Thanks for your contribution to the dialogue, Steve Mintz
Did the Punishment fit the Crime? I have read all kinds of rationalizations as to why the “DeflateGate” scandal is much ado about nothing. Other teams cheat, the saying goes, including in the 1985 and 1986 NFL seasons when S.F. 49er legendary coach, Bill Walsh, allegedly, instigated a problem with... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Can Ethics be taught without reference to Religious Beliefs? Perhaps you have heard that a recent study released by the Pew Research Center found that the U.S. has become significantly less Christian in recent years as the share of American adults who espouse no systematic religious belief increased sharply. For the first time in U.S. history, the number of American Christians has declined. Christianity, however, remains by far the nation’s dominant religious tradition, according to the report. The erosion in traditional religious ranks seems likely to continue. Among Americans aged 18 to 33, slightly more than half identify as Christian,... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Does Compliance with Laws and Regulations create an Ethical Culture: Lessons from Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Whistle-Blower Provisions of Dodd-Frank and Financial Statement Restatements I recently read a report by Audit Analytics that indicates the proportion of corporate financial restatements that had no impact on the bottom line was 59% in... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Ethics not Compliance Motivates Accurate and Reliable Financial Reporting One goal of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is to reduce the number of restatements of corporate financial reports, especially those that result from materially misleading financial statements. The question is, some five years later, whether the Act has accomplished its goals. Recent research released from Audit Analytics seems to indicate it has. The proportion of corporate financial restatements that had no impact on the bottom line was 59% in 2014. That brought the increase over the past four years to 22 percentage points, which suggests that the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-governance law has succeeded... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Is Laughter the best medicine for Ethical Behavior? This blog is dedicated to my “significant other” who always tells me to laugh more. She is always laughing, even at asinine commercials…at least I think their stupid. It does make think, however, whether I would be happier if I laugh more.... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Texas A&M Professor’s Message to his Students: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Is he a hero or a villain? You make the call. Last week it was disclosed that Irwin Horowitz, an instructional associate professor in the department of maritime administration at Texas A&M Galveston, said in an email to his strategic management students that they were a disgrace, that they lacked maturity -- and that he would fail the entire class. Horwitz told CNN affiliate KPRC that he had finally reached a breaking point. "Enough was enough," Horwitz said. "It became... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Michael, these are excellent points. Thanks for sharing your insights...SM
Toggle Commented May 1, 2015 on Ethics in the Cannabis Industry at Ethics Sage
Has the Financial Services Industry Learned its Lesson? On September 10, 2008, one day after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. stock lost nearly half its value amidst investor concerns about the firm’s ability to raise capital in the aftermath of an accounting fraud, the investment bank reported an expected quarterly loss... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Cannabis Integrity Authority set to Educate Sellers in Responsible Behavior Did you hear that the Cannabis Integrity Authority (CIA) has been formed to teach business ethics, patient safety and help currently operating cannabis businesses establish professional standards? The professional association has opened the doors to its online site and has mentioned several upcoming announcements, including the advisement that CIA is now looking for more Cannabis Industry Experts to apply as Instructors for the CIA Online Platform. I’m not sure the Authority should have picked CIA for its acronym although it is a kind of intelligence gathering agency albeit in the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Was the Atlanta Cheating Episode a Victimless Crime? The Atlanta public school cheating scandal illustrates the deplorable behavior of some educators and administrators who use pressure to increase test scores as a defense to cheating, fail to consider the consequences of their actions, and have no sense about the way... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Leadership Styles and Ethical Behavior Warren Bennis, who is widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership Studies, once said: “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born -- that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. Bennis believed that was nonsense and that in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” So what makes for a good leader? It starts with an ability to articulate a vision that others buy into. Then, a series of guiding principles... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Values-based Leadership creates an Ethical Organization Culture Business ethics training in the workplace misses the mark. Traditionally, it looks at the “why” of making ethical decisions but ignores the “how” to get it done. In the real business world, employees may fully understand why it is necessary to act ethically... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Do Employers Violate the Ethical Rights of Employees when using Social Media for Workplace Decisions? The frequent use of technology in the workplace is undeniable as is the monitoring of employee postings in hiring and performance evaluation by employers. Social media sites and accounts can contain some very personal and intimate information about people. Consequently, employers, employees, job applicants, as well as the legal system, are confronting with ever-increasing frequency the growth and proliferation of social media, and the challenges and difficulties presented by the use of social media and the modern-day workplace. The extensive use of social media in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at Ethics Sage
SEC Agreement with KBR over treatment of Whistle-blower Strengthens Dodd-Frank Whistle-blowing has become a more accepted practice in business in order to stem the tide of financial fraud and other criminal offenses by corporations in the aftermath of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act by Congress in 2010.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Culture and Corporate Conscience Understanding the interaction between culture, behavior, ethics and performance is essential to establishing an ethical tone at the top. The culture established in a community, such as a community of corporate leaders and their organizations, reflects shared beliefs, norms and values that define what is important and what is appropriate for those who choose to join the community. To establish an ethical culture, four questions should be asked: 1. What are the goals and purposes of the organization? 2. What strategies need to be implemented to achieve those objectives? 3. What kind of behaviors will support... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at Ethics Sage
What is the link between Civility and Ethics? Incivility in society is on the rise. Virtually all people believe this is so. Every day we witness inconsiderate behavior, ‘in your face’ interaction in communications with others, and other forms of rudeness. There are many causes of incivility not the least... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
What is the moral message of the movie, Insurgent? The movie Insurgent, the second in the Divergent series, raises all kinds of ethical questions, many of which make it a worthwhile film to see. Overall, it deals with the “big brother” is watching theme. The government oversees population factions based on common values, a classification system meant to create a pathway toward civility in the aftermath of a period of destructive forces in society. These factions and their related moral features include: Dauntless: Demeanor: Bold, daring, intense; Values: Courage, Bravery Abnegation: Demeanor: Reserved/unassuming, not drawing too much attention, lack of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Principles of Ethical Behavior in Business Why is it important to act ethically in the workplace? Who cares? What does it cost? Is it worthwhile? These are some of the questions typically addressed by businesses that strive to live up to a set of ethical standards. Ethical business practices include... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Personal Values and Organizational Culture are the Foundation of Whistle-blowing The ethics of whistleblowing is a tricky matter. Whistle-blowing brings two moral values, fairness and loyalty, into conflict. Doing what is fair or just (e.g., promoting an employee based on talent alone) often conflicts with showing loyalty (e.g., promoting a longstanding but unskilled employee). Taken to its extreme from a loyalty perspective, whistle-blowing may involve agonizing conflicts when, for example, it involves violating the trust of co-workers who have engaged in wrongdoing or jeopardizing one’s “team player” status by going against the prevailing winds in an organization that fosters unethical... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Weary, I'd tell him all about what is going on and ask for his support to speak to her. If he doesn't, then the handwriting is on the wall and it might be best to move on. Good luck, Steve Mintz
Republicans Can’t Get Out of Their Own Way Albert Einstein famously defined “insanity” as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This suits the Republicans latest effort to run an end run around President Obama and embarrass him, and all Americans, on the International stage.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Beware the Warning Signs of Narcissism in your Kids Is it true that constantly telling your kids they're special can make them especially susceptible to narcissism? Are we raising a generation of narcissistic kids who think only about themselves all of the time and feel a sense of entitlement? Well, a new study released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that narcissists aren’t born. There is no gene for narcissism. What’s worse, self-centered children are likely to grow up into self-centered adults. This means that narcissism -- a self-centeredness which the study defines as feeling superior... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Ethics Sage