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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
I really appreciate your comments on the Walgrens proposed tax evasion moves. I also support your decision to change prescriptions. Thanks for your contribution.
How to Build Ethics into an Organization Just one small ethical lapse can snowball into big trouble, a recent study found. As BusinessWeek reported on June 26, workers and companies are vulnerable to scandal unless managers snuff out ethical transgressions, even those that seem minor. When incentives for little fibs... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
Are American Companies Ethically Obligated to Pay Taxes in the U.S? U.S. corporations are not legally obligated to pay taxes in the U.S. if they can shift net sales revenue to an overseas subsidiary in a country with a lower tax rate than in the U.S. The question is whether a company such as Walgreens has an ethical responsibility derived from its corporate social responsibility to pay its ‘fair share’ of taxes in the U.S. Perhaps I am naïve on this point. However, the way I look at it is: What would happen if every U.S. corporation shifted its revenue-generating... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Ethics Sage
Tax Minimization and Social Responsibilities of Walmart Recently it was revealed that Walmart is the beneficiary of billions of dollars per year in federal subsidies, according to new report from the non-partisan, progressive group Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state organizations for tax reform. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Facebook Oblivious to its Ethical and Corporate Responsibilities Recently it was revealed that when you agreed to Facebook's terms and conditions, you were agreeing to become a subject in a psychology experiment. Facebook permitted an academic research team to conduct an experiment on a huge number of Facebook's users back in 2012. The researchers adjusted the contents of Facebook timelines for nearly 700,000 users so that either positive or negative news dominated. They found that positive news spread positive responses, and negative news spread negative responses. We already know of Facebook’s use of personal data and most people are well... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 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 Jul 2, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Ethical Blindness Motivates Egregious Behavior Scott London, a former partner of KPMG, was convicted of insider training last month and sentenced to five months in prison, a laughable sentence in light of his trading on inside information about KPMG clients while auditing their books. On June 27, 2014, just prior to going to prison, London participated in a webcast on accounting ethics. During the interview he provided insight into the motivations for his actions. The key points are as follows. London believes he would not have engaged in his illegal insider trading scheme had he paused to think about the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Ethics Sage
There is a difference between knowing what to do and doing it! I recently became aware of an ethical dilemma of an accounting professional who was torn between doing the right thing and giving in to pressures to act otherwise. This is an interesting case because it illustrates the challenges... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Walking the talk of workplace ethics As an academic and proponent of business ethics, I was delighted to read that Starbucks and Arizona State University (ASU) have developed a new scholarship partnership. The Starbucks College Achievement Plan (CAP) is available to company employees who enrolled full time or part time. The program will include an upfront "partial tuition scholarship," thanks to an "investment" from ASU. According to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the new Starbucks College Achievement Plan is designed to support college completion with full tuition reimbursement for juniors and seniors to finish their degrees, or an on-ramp for freshman... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2014 on No World for Old People at Ethics Sage
CIA Disciplines 15 Officers in Harassment Cases Last week I read that the CIA had disciplined 15 officers for committing sexual, racial or other types of harassment in 2013. This despite a zero tolerance in harassment cases. The dismissed officers included a supervisor who was removed from the job after... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Sexual Assault in the Military and the Military Justice System From time to time I assign a project to my ethics students to identify a blog already written and present an alternative view or expound on the points made by the blogger. The following blog was submitted by one of my students, Lauren Koenig, who gave me permission to use her work to develop my own blog on the topic of sexual assault in the military. The US Equal Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as a violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It relates to any... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Developing an Effective Anti-Fraud Program Fraud in business continues to be a problem for global companies. The 2014 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud issued by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) indicates that organizations around the world lose an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenues to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Battle Hymn for Seniors I recently returned from a trip to see my mom who is 95 years old and living in an assisted living facility. Dad passed away about 1 ½ years ago so an assisted living facility is the best place for my mom who can barely see or hear and has advanced dementia. During my visit I reflected on the treatment of seniors like my mom and the expectations of society for valuing those who came before us and provided opportunities for all of us to live a better life. Some seniors are quite vigorous even into... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Condoleezza Rice and Christine Lagarde get Caught up in Political Correctness I’m baffled by the actions of a few universities that de facto disinvited two accomplished women who were scheduled to give commencement speeches because a group of students objected to actions that occurred during their tenure as leaders of powerful institutions. These actions reflect a slap in the face to academic free speech and the role of a university to engage the academic and broader community in civil dialogue. Condoleezza Rice withdrew as the commencement speaker at Rutgers University because a group of students objected to her past role... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at Ethics Sage
What are the Ethical Issues Underlying Executive Compensation? Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that CEO pay is rising moderately and awards are increasingly tied to future financial performance. But that doesn't apply to everybody. The Wall Street Journal's annual compensation survey found that, for all the debate around... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
What is the Role of Women in the Workplace? From time to time I post a guest blog on an issue important to workplace ethics. "The Role of Women in the Worplace" is such an issue. The blog below comes from Sarah Brooks. Her contact information is below. The role... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Character and Conscience underlie Ethical Decision Making Ethical dilemmas in the workplace can be more effectively dealt with if managers follow a few simple steps: Identify the ethical issues. Ethical issues exist, in a broad sense, whenever one’s actions affect others. In the workplace, a manager’s decisions might affect employees,... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Indifference, Laziness, and a Declining Work Ethic Threatens the Fabric of Society We have a culture of incompetence in the U.S. Too many workers do not care about the quality of their work, timeliness of doing it, and, in some cases, whether the work gets done at all. In large bureaucracies like the Veterans Administration, payments to medical professionals are not based on the number of patients treated or overall patient care; instead the feeling is that I get paid regardless of these factors so there is no incentive to meet the higher standards we expect from our doctors and... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Claiming to be guided by Ethical Values not enough: Actions speak louder than words On May 16, 2014, General Motors agreed to pay the federal government $35 million -- the maximum penalty -- for failing to report the potentially deadly defects in their automobiles. The agreement comes three months after... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Doing well by Doing Good Doing well by doing right has many interpretations such as by your good deeds, you have achieved success and are doing well. Very few of us would look to the life of Benjamin Franklin and his life experiences to provide an example of leading one’s life with virtue and giving back to society that which society provided for him – the opportunity to accumulate wealth. Despite being wealthy enough to retire comfortably by the age of 42, Franklin continued to pursue civic projects and carry out benevolent acts throughout the rest of his life. He... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Guidelines to Control for Dating Workplace Relationships that can Create Conflicts of Interest and Violate Ethical Standards Some time ago I was informed about a relationship in the workplace between a senior staff accountant and her supervisor, who was the managing partner on an audit. As the story goes, they... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
“Game Respect” Fouls are Designed to Encourage NBA Players to Act Like Men, Not Children When your child acts out do you give him a time out or ignore it and walk away? This is the question the NBA faced when in 2010 it broadened the circumstances under which officials can call personal and technical fouls for disrespecting the officials and, some would say, the game itself. I watched the NBA playoffs last week and counted that in one game where 32 fouls were called, 27 of the players charged with the foul complained to the referee. In most cases... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Ethics Training for California State Government Officials Unlikely to Make a Difference Why is it that government officials have ethics training only after scandals become public knowledge? Will the ethics training that California state senators underwent on April 23 in Sacramento make a difference in the behavior of state government... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Racist Comments Reflect Ignorance of our Societial Values I grew up in the 1960s and recall many arguments with my parents over the treatment of African-Americans in the U.S. The differences were not whether schools should be segregated or blacks should sit in the back of the bus or that businesses could refuse to serve black people. It wasn’t that blatant an offense that we disagreed about. It was the more subtle issues such as whether blacks were as capable as whites to make a success out of their lives and be contributing members of society or whether they could... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2014 at Ethics Sage