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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
Fiedler’s Contingency Model and Situational Leadership Good Leaders are aware of the qualities that employees bring to the workplace and capitalize on them. Leadership requires not only setting direction for an organization but also motivating employees to align their personal and professional goals with those of the organization. In other words, good leaders develop a style that is a perfect match to their situation. What is your natural leadership style? Do you focus on completing tasks or on building relationships with your team? And have you considered that this natural style of leadership might be more suited to some situations... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Ethics Sage
Abuse of Social Media in the Workplace on the Rise I recently read a piece about the five most unethical behaviors in the workplace. Arthur Schwartz points out that each day roughly 120 million people walk into a workplace somewhere in the U.S. Within the past year, almost half of... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
Civility and Ethics Training: Does it Really Matter? I recently read about Malcolm Smith, a New Hampshire Professor, who says he's been examining changes in kids' behavior for three decades. According to Professor Smith, courses on civility in elementary school could help reduce bullying. Professor Smith says his work has centered on issues of meanness, bullying, and incivility. Smith believes young people can be taught how to be nice. "You can teach empathy in nine weeks, one hour a week, and significantly improve a child's empathy,” Smith says. “Just like you can teach science or math, we ought to make... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Ethics in Government and in Life are based on Consistent Standards of Right and Wrong Should we care that allegedly, the former House speaker Dennis Hastert sexually abused at least two students during his years (1965–1981) as a teacher and wrestling coach in the farm town of Yorkville, Illinois? What's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Character Does Count Various definitions of character exist. One that I like comes from the organization CITRS, an acronym that stands for some of the basic tenets of character – Character, Integrity, Trust, Relationships and Success. According to CITRS, it is “‘client-centered’”, meaning that it develops programs to enhance what administrators and teachers are already doing. CITRS works within existing organizational constraints to help schools reach their goals by infusing character education and development within their existing curriculum, including the new requirements of the Common Core. Another organization, and one that I am more familiar with, is the Josephson Institute... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2015 at Ethics Sage
False Promises of Jobs and Student Loan Defaults are Ethical Concerns Perhaps you heard that ITT Educational Services, Inc (ESI) is involved in an enforcement action with the SEC. The SEC has taken issue with ESI's handling and disclosure of complex accounting issues that arose several years ago and disclosures... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Where is the Outrage from Congress, the Candidates, and the Media? Last October about 250 Disney employees were told that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by outsourcing firms, such as Infosys and Tata, based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost. Talk about adding insult to injury. Disney needs to be held accountable for its actions and questions should be raised about how this... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2015 at Ethics Sage
IRS Paid $5.8 Billion in Fraudulent Refunds I recently read that the IRS paid $5.8 Billion in fraudulent refunds from 2011 through October 2014. Over time, the IRS has stopped 19 million suspicious tax returns and protected more than $63 billion in fraudulent refunds. This past tax filing season identified... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2015 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Thanks for making those important points. Steve Mintz
Should the 2022 World Cup Selection of Qatar be Voided? Last November I blogged about the fact that football's world governing body, FIFA, was under growing pressure from a number of sponsors after its decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Sony, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa and Hyundai/Kia had expressed concern over claims of wrongdoing in the bidding process. In total, five of FIFA’s six main sponsors had issued statements relating to the Qatar bid. Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup in December 2010, beating off competition from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. It seems... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2015 at Ethics Sage
Matt: Thank you for your insightful comments. I agree with virtually everything you said. I appreciate your interest in my blog. Steve Mintz
Thanks for your thorough analysis of SOX and restatements and contribution to my blog. I agree with most of the points you made. Steve
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 May 27, 2015 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 May 26, 2015 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