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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
Native American Rights Ignored Once Again It’s my view that very few people care about the rights of Native Americans so it is the media’s job to embed it into our national conscience because of historical rights violations that date back to 1889 when President Benjamin Harrison made the first of a long series of authorizations that eventually removed most of Indian territory from Indian control. The media has routinely failed to champion Native American causes because the potential violations of their rights is not a sexy enough issue for the mainstream media to care. This explains why we have... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Ethics Sage
“Sons and Daughters” Program Violates FCPA For seven years between 2006 and 2013, J.P. Morgan Chase hired about a hundred interns and full time employees at the request of government officials in China and Asia as part of its efforts to build banking relationships in the fast-growing region. The hiring,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
When to Use Nondisclosure and Non-Compete Agreements Imagine you have “proprietary information or “trade secrets” that are not generally known to the public and would not ordinarily be available to competitors except via illegal or improper means. For example, trade secrets of manufacturing processes, business plans, computer programs, customer lists,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Nourishing our Ethical Self To lead an ethical life, we cannot rely on our feelings no matter how powerful they might be. Our feelings may be irrational and may be the product of prejudice, selfishness, or cultural conditioning. Our decisions must be guided by reason and the (ethical) motivation to do the right thing as we journey through life. Each of us possesses the ability to act in a moral way. Mark Matousek speaks of the concept of a ‘moral organ.’ The strength of our moral organ depends on achieving the goals of right behavior: Are we concerned with harm... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Strengthening Intuitive-Based Decision Making When faced with an ethical dilemma, how do you respond? Many people simply rely on common sense to reason through the conflict and decide on an appropriate course of action. Many common things are not easy to do and may requires efforts and skills. This is where ethical reasoning methods come in handy by: considering the consequences of one’s actions on stakeholders; evaluating stakeholder rights and our obligations to them; reflecting on intended actions and checking to see basic ethical principles have been followed, such as "First, do no harm" ‘Common-sense ethics’ refers to the pre-theoretical... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Guidelines for Supporting Colleagues in the Workplace Collegial Ethics (CE) proposes that we support and be fair to colleagues, not only in the day-to-day routine, but also in difficult situations when appropriate. Michael Kuhar first coined the term "collegial ethics." He did so because while interactions with colleagues is essential,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
What Should We Make of Americans Looking to Emigrate from the U.S.? People who are seriously considering leaving the U.S. in the wake of the election seem to me to be acting like petulant children who didn’t get their way and now act out to express their displeasure with the election results. Aren’t these the same people who reviled when Donald Trump said he might not accept the results? How should we react to it? Should we ignore their outburst or send them to their rooms and turn off all electronic devices? In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory, thousands... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Mikey, the notions of morals in business does seem wrong since morals depend on personal choices--one's view on abortion, for instance. However, a code of conduct is needed to establish the standards of behavior in business. These would include: how we treat customers, suppliers, and emplpoyees. For example, here is the code of Johnson & Johnson. We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services. In meeting their needs everything we do must be of high quality. We must constantly strive to reduce our costs in order to maintain reasonable prices. Customers’ orders must be serviced promptly and accurately. Our suppliers and distributors must have an opportunity to make a fair profit. We are responsible to our employees, the men and women who work with us throughout the world. Everyone must be considered as an individual. We must respect their dignity and recognize their merit. They must have a sense of security in their jobs. Compensation must be fair and adequate, and working conditions clean, orderly, and safe. We must be mindful of ways to help our employees fulfill their family responsibilities. Employees must feel free to make suggestions and complaints. There must be equal opportunity for employment, development, and advancement for those qualified. We must provide competent management, and their actions must be just and ethical. We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well. We must be good citizens – support good works and charities and bear our fair share of taxes. We must encourage civic improvements and better health and education. We must maintain in good order the property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources. Our final responsibility is to our stockholders. Business must make a sound profit. We must experiment with new ideas. Research must be carried on, innovative programs developed and mistakes paid for. New equipment must be purchased, new facilities provided and new products launched. Reserves must be created to provide for adverse times. When we operate according to these principles, the stockholders should realize a fair return.
Mikey, that's not the way ethicists see it. Ethics refers to standards of behavior that guide one's actions whether in personal or business decisions. People do not pick and choose what ethics are because those standards are immutable. They come from philosophy and religion. People do select their personal values which may differ from time to time and in different business situations. For example, if a business wanted to cheat customers, that is unethical. It violates the ethical standard of honesty. However, such an action may be consistent with the businesses values -- greed.
Doing Good by Being a Good Person What makes one person speak out and blow the whistle on wrongdoing while another remains silent? Is it a “moral sense,” as Thomas Jefferson wrote, that instinctively motivates a person’s thoughts and actions? Is it motivated by avoiding harm to others? The other day a reader sent in a question to my website asking if she should call the authorities on her neighbor who had apparently dumped old containers of household paint in the two acres behind her property that backs up against the reader’s property. The reader knew her neighbor hadn’t... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Avoid a Toxic Workplace For some time now I have thought about the advice I have given to others over the years about being happy in the workplace. For me it starts with doing something you love to do. If you come home each night depressed about things at work... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Thanks for sharing your story.
Get Out and Hold Your Nose, and then Vote! Here’s the good news. Our long national nightmare is over tomorrow. Tomorrow I can wash off the muck of the presidential campaign and go back to watching true reality TV rather than the one which has played out since June 2015 when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President. Here’s a view of the campaign from my ethical perspective. Donald Trump practices the politics of incivility. His has waged a campaign of divisiveness by pitting one group against another. Trump has made disparaging comments about Mexicans. He is guilty of Islamophobia... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Teaching Ethics to College Students Do you teach ethics to your college students as I do? If so, how do you avoid teaching ethics without student’s feeling like you are trying to convert them to one set of beliefs or another? These are important issues for us as educators. Personally, I set a goal to help develop the moral sensibilities in my students. I spoke about everyday ethics in my last blog. I presented five principles of ethical behavior that provide a foundation for becoming a better person. Applying these principles to everyday decisions is an art form in that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Disclosing Confidential Information, Stealing Others’ Work, and Pirating Software Cause Real Harm to Others My last blog dealt with ethical dilemmas for employees based on discriminatory actions by others in the organization. Today I look at employee-generated wrongful behaviors. One of the most threatening actions an employee can take is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Principles of Ethical Behavior It’s not so much that The Golden Rule establishes a moral code for society as it provides guidance on how we should lead our daily lives. The Golden Rule Says to: Treat Others the Way We Want to be Treated. It is a mantra we should say over again as we navigate through the choppy waters of life’s experiences. The Chopra Center believes a mantra can be thought of “as a seed for energizing intention. You might say just as you plant a flower seed, you plant mantras in the fertile soil of practice. You nurture... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2016 at Ethics Sage
How to Spot Abusive Behavior and What to Do About it This is the first of a two-part series on ethical conflicts in the workplace. The next blog deals with employee-generated actions that can have legal consequences. Today I deal with discriminatory actions by one’s employer that go unresolved. Have... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Thanks, Dan. Keep reading...Steve
Top 100 Philosophy Blogs Every Philosopher Must Follow I am honored to let you know my Ethics Sage Blog was included in the top 100 philosophy blogs at #49. Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, posted on October 28, 2016. Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2016 at Ethics Sage
SEC May Not Be Protecting the Public Interest A recent Conference Board study examines the use of social media by S&P 1500 Index companies to disseminate financial information and the response from investors and traditional media. The findings show that companies use social media to overcome a perceived lack of traditional media attention and that social media usage improves the company’s information environment. Social Media Communications There is also evidence that, in contrast with other types of company communications, the beneficial effects of social media on the company’s information environment are offset when the investor-focused social media communications are disseminated... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Social Media Increasingly Used to Bully Others in the Workplace I have previously blogged about the problem of cyberbullying in the workplace and how it emanates from an abuse of power. It has been reported that most of the time cyber bullying in the workplace is treated with a shoulder... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Closing our Eyes to the True Meaning of the Message “Shooting the messenger” is a metaphoric phrase used to describe the act of blaming the bearer of bad news. Wells Fargo During a recent Congressional investigation, we learned that six former Wells Fargo workers were retaliated against for calling the bank’s ethics hot line about opening fake accounts. One such employee, Bill Bado, said he was fired eight days after sending an email in 2013 to HR about unauthorized accounts. Wells Fargo’s actions to suppress Bado’s claims violates the whistleblower protections under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Dodd-Frank. Bado added during... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2016 at Ethics Sage
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 Oct 20, 2016 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 Oct 19, 2016 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 Oct 18, 2016 at Ethics Sage