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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
Responsible Behavior Shoved Aside for Biased Reporting The media has been referred to as “The Fourth Estate” with the important function of being the news media – “the press” – and serving as the eyes and ears of the public. The traditional print and media reporting has been viewed over time as the way to insure the American public gets the real scoop on the functioning of government and viewpoints of political candidate. The news media is a societal or political force or institution whose influence is not consistently or officially recognized. A free press serves four essential purposes: Holding... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Ethics Sage
CEO John Stump Pays the Price of Establishing a "Sales at all Costs" Culture I have previously blogged on my Ethics Sage website about the unconscionable actions of Wells Fargo and its CEO, John Stumpf. Much has happened in the last few weeks so the purpose of this blog is... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Workplace Ethics Advice
Private versus Public Positions of Candidates Raise Questions About Their Commitment to Honesty and Transparency I have criticized Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for their lack of character. Both seem to have only a passing acquaintance with the truth and integrity. They seem to have a different public persona than a private one. For example, Clinton seems to say one thing in private and another in public, the latter to appeal to her supporters, win over “Bernie’s” crowd, and appeal to independent voters. But, this is nothing more than politics as usual and why she isn’t trusted by many in... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Ethics Sage
Emmanuel: I haven't updated the information recently. My guess is most companies have informal, if not formal policies, that restrict dating where one person evaluates the performance of another being dated because of the conflict of interests...Steve Mintz
Trump and Clinton have discarded their Moral Compass -- if they ever had one I can’t recall a presidential election when the two candidates fell so short of being an ethical person. On the one hand we have Donald Trump who has made crude remarks about others and seemingly has no problem with sexually harassing women – and that’s for starters. On the other hand, we have Hillary Clinton who seems to have only a passing acquaintance with the truth as evidenced by comments about her use of a private server when Secretary of State and classified information on the... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Ethics Sage
Occupational Well-Being of Women Lags that of Men Pay equity between men and women persists with women earning 80% of men. Gender bias may be even more of a problem as old stereotypes still exist and women are judged by a different set of standards than men. Recently, more women... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Message From John Stumpf, CEO of Wells: Do What I Say, Not What I Do Wells Fargo is the poster child of an unethical company. We now know its employees opened more than two million unauthorized bank and credit card accounts to meet sales projections. It cost customers almost $2.5 million in fees. The actions of the bank can be attributed to an unethical corporate culture, as I have previously discussed in a blog. On September 9, 2016, Wells Fargo agreed to pay a record $185 million fine for the actions of employees. The bank agreed to set aside... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Debunking Trump’s Claim that Using the Tax Code to His Advantage Makes Him the Only Person to Reform It Donald Trump reported a $916 million “net operating loss” on his 1995 taxes that allows him to deduct those losses against future taxable income for 15 years. This means through 2010 Trump may have paid little or no taxes. There is no way to know for sure how these amounts were spread out without Trump releasing his tax returns. But, it is undeniable that Trump used the tax laws to his advantage. He is legally within his rights to do so... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2016 at Ethics Sage
How to Develop a Process to Manage Ethical Dilemmas Yesterday I blogged on my website about “The Role of Management in Establishing an Ethical Culture.” The culture of an organization evolves from the values and ethical standards that should guide all actions and decisions. Today’s blog addresses “How to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Why Ethical Issues Arise in the Workplace and How to Deal with Them The 2013 National Business Ethics Survey reported by the Ethics & Compliance Initiative found that 47% of employees observed misconduct at their organizations while 63% reported it. A weak ethical culture was blamed for 34% of the violations and 21% of employees experienced retaliation after reporting misconduct. I am concerned that while misconduct is down overall from previous studies, a relatively high percentage of misconduct is committed by managers – the very people who should be establishing an ethical culture and providing ethical leadership. Workers reported that... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Analyzing Truthfulness and Integrity of Clinton and Trump The American people lost the first debate. Is this the best we can do? Clearly, the cream does not rise to the top when it comes to the candidates who are running for President of the U.S. Presidential Debate Watching the debate last Monday was a depressing experience made worse by the fact that I missed the Monday night football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. The final score was 45-32 in favor of the Falcons. The score in the debate as I see it was +1 for Clinton... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Alex: Great comments and personal insights. I agree about the need to charge high prices to fund R&D and doing so is a public service. Like most things there has to be a fine line drawn between funding without gauging the public. The EpiPen and Turing examples seem to me to be driven too much by egoism and not enough by serving the public good. That said, it is a slippery slope when a pharmaceutical company is criticized for the price it charges, while, on the other hand, it provides an essential product that enhances health and welfare. Steve Mintz
Qinwen: Thanks for your insightful comments. In response let me add that all too many companies pay lip service to ethical values and have nice statements about their own in this regard but they never become internalized into the corporate culture. Compliance is viewed as an obligation rather than a good faith attempt to enforce ethical standards. Finally, corporate social responsibility is a non-starter for many companies. Wells Fargo would seem to fit the bill in these regards as far as I can tell. Steve Mintz
How Can We Differentiate Successful From Unsuccessful Leaders? Robert E. Quinn, the cofounder of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan, has said that “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.” In business organizations... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
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 Sep 27, 2016 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 Sep 22, 2016 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 Sep 21, 2016 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