Lauren Bloom is an interfaith minister and attorney who focuses on professional and personal integrity. Her career has been devoted to helping business professionals earn and maintain the trust of their clients, cutomers, colleagues and associates. An internationally-recognized expert on business and professional ethics.
I follow Ms. Bloom’s page. If you have a continuing interest in business ethics, I would recommend you follow the web site as well.
Ms. Chappell has posted a petition on Change.org asking First Mortgage Corporation to do the decent thing and let Ms. Bourchard pay off some of her mortgage through the Hardest Hit State Fund. It’s not as though First Mortgage Corporation wouldn’t get paid, folks – it just means that the company would have to do a little more paperwork. HUD currently has First Mortgage Corporation on hold while everyone works to find a more compassionate solution. Come on, First Mortgage! It’s Christmas, for pity’s sake – have a heart and don’t evict a disabled schoolteacher from her home. Even Ebenezer Scrooge would know better.
If you agree with me that Ms. Bouchard deserves the opportunity to stay in her home, you can sign the petition by clicking here.
Steven Mintz writing as the Ethics Sage is appropriately outraged. Let me quote his concluding paragraph –
Are auditors finally going to be held accountable for their role in the financial meltdown? Time will tell but there can be no doubt some must have missed the red flags and, more important, ignored the changing business model and risks inherent in dealing with financial instruments such as sub-prime mortgages and credit default swaps. Auditors are supposed to understand the environment in which their clients operate and use that knowledge and related risk assessment to determine proper audit procedures. It appears that Deloitte failed to do so and there may be other cases waiting in the wings.
2. Chris MacDonald writing in the Business Ethics Blog has a new post called –
Now, just a little over a century later, Americans take for granted the right to cross our country in the comfort of their automobiles, and we can make trips in hours that used to take days. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that our nation is crisscrossed with roads and bridges that require regular repair, millions are killed or injured annually in autmobile accidents, our cars are eating up the ozone layer with their toxic emissions, Americans drive instead of walking and, as a result, suffer from record levels of obesity and associated diseases, and traffic jams have become a daily nightmare. (Living in a city that’s earned the dubious distinction of having the worst traffic in America, I should know.)
4. Josephson on Business Ethics and Leadership has a fascinating article up on doctors’ conflicts of interest.
Even though such payments are legal, most medical policymakers agree that they are not ethical. Special trips, meals, and “educational opportunities” are very common strategies that companies use to create stronger bonds with their clients, and to achieve the basic goal of any business — to sell more. In most industries, such gift-giving doesn’t raise any particular ethical red flags. But in medicine, the person getting the gifts isn’t the person taking the drugs. The person taking the drugs is you. And if your doctor has prescribed you that drug when a different drug – or no drug at all – might be the better choice, then it’s likely you’d want to know about it.
Lauren Bloom has a business ethics blog and regularly comments on ethical issues often concentrating on such issues as keeping your business out of court. As of today, Lauren Bloom has written four different posting on the scandals afflicting Murdoch’s media empire.
Until now, there’s been an unspoken assumption that rich and famous people, be they rock stars or Royals, deserve to have their dirty laundry aired in public if some clever reporter can sleuth it out. (I disagree, but that’s another post.) TNoW is suddenly being castigated for crossing the line by spying on ordinary people’s grief and worry, but who are we kidding here? TNoW only went after the stories its customers wanted to read. Was TNoW a vile scandal sheet whose management deserves to be raked over the coals for unethical journalism? You bet. But until consumers have the good taste and decency to turn away from that kind of garbage, it’s only a matter of time before another tabloid steps up to take TNOW’s place.
For someone who thinks ethics in business are important, Murdoch’s tumble is pure gold. I don’t have to argue in the abstract that ethical lapses can cause a business to lose buckets of money and important opportunities. I can just point to Murdoch – his story tells it all.
This paragraph probably conveys the essence of that essay.
It can be tempting for executives to look the other way when employees play fast and loose, especially if those employees create a competitive advantage for the company. Ultimately, however, those same executives will be held responsible when their employees’ misconduct becomes public. Rebekah Brooks just took a hard fall from grace, and Rupert Murdoch himself may not be far behind. News Corporation shareholders are already threatening a lawsuit. This scandal will cost the Murdoch empire millions in legal fees, to say nothing of the harm to its reputation and the value of its stock.
Murdoch wasn’t responsible for overseeing each of the many employees who work for News Corporation’s dozens of media outlets. But he was responsible for establishing and ethical corporate culture, ensuring that employees received reasonable oversight, and interceding when allegations of serious staff misconduct surfaced five years ago. Rumor has it that News Corporation’s stockholders are furious about management decisions that undermined the credibilityof the corporation and, with it, its stock price. They’re likely to demand Murdoch’s head on a platter, and I’ll bet they’ll eventually get it. Pride goeth, Mr. Murdoch … and it seems that you’re in for one heck of a fall.
I recommend you read all four postings, put Ms. Bloom’s web site on your favorites and consider subscribing.
This is my list of the Business Ethics Blogs that I have been impressed with. Some of these blogs are controversial choices but I went and looked at some other lists and was pretty shocked by what they thought was relevant. It seems there is no fixed criteria, so I will try to choose as best I can.
My selection process ran like this. I’ve been blogging on this web site for more than a year. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many other bloggers and many were involved in one way or another with business ethics. So, I already had the beginnings of a list from my web contacts and regularly cruising the net for similar web sites to mine. In addition for this project I went to Google and read the first 1200 entries under the search, business ethics blog, and then 2000 entries under the search, business ethics. Nevertheless I do not believe for a moment that this list is complete or will make everyone happy.
If you want to be on it and you’re not, let me know. If you want your blog removed or some particular thing said about it, you should let me know that as well. I have no objection to any reasonable claim. In fact, whether you wish to criticize or praise, comment! The only thing you might want to know when you comment is that I often post comments as blog entries. Now before you assume that I am going to butcher your comment, be aware that I print every word, every comma, exactly as it was written and in full. I may disagree with you but I will not rearrange your writing to diminish the power of your words.
These are in no particular order. Developing criteria to rank these web sites would be a major endeavor, and sure to displease a lot of people. I think I will just content myself with a list.
This list is going to evolve over time so that criticism and recommendations can be incorporated. It is also important that I keep learning about new blogs and new writers and perhaps some older blogs that I missed.
This is David F. Ruccio’s Blog. I freely admit being a little dazzled by this web site. The graphic are amazing. It’s all cutting edge and professional looking. I think I could get an inferiority complex if I visit too often. The writing is interesting enlivened by attractive and easily read graphs. Great web site.
Ms. Bloom has been in the ethics field for a considerable length of time. This is how she describes herself in her blog:
Beginning in 1992, Lauren spent more than fourteen years as General Counsel of the American Academy of Actuaries, where her practice focused on teaching professionals how to incorporate high ethical standards and principles of good governance into their professional activities. Lauren played a pivotal role in the development and enforcement of the U.S. actuarial profession’s code of conduct and standards of qualification and practice. She also consulted with the International Actuarial Association on its project to develop the first international standards of practice for actuaries. She is widely published in the actuarial profession’s publications, and continues to speak to actuarial firms and association meetings around the United States.
The web site is designed as a practical guide for ethics.
The blog is a compendium of what a Wall Street money manager is looking at, thinking about, and writing on. It is written by me (& the crew) for people ranging from investment professionals to media to anyone else interested in investing, markets, and the economy.
It is, by design, laden with facts, statistics, and informed, data-driven opinions. We avoid the squishy, touchy-feely “I think/hope/want” type of fact free analysis so prevalent in the media and on Wall Street.
4. Ethics Forum This web site is written by Alice C. Linsley.
The writing is intelligent. The author is not afraid to write in depth about their subject and writes often. This tends much more to philosophy than to business ethics but there are a good number of articles directly devoted to the subject. Great blog.
5. Chris MacDonald’s The Business Ethics Blog Professor MacDonald’s blog was one of the first ethics sites devoted to business ethics that I found when I started writing my own blog. When I looked around the web trying to find how to do a successful blog I ran continually into his postings. He had been everywhere first. I think this indicates an aggressive intelligence and a willingness to take pains. I cannot pretend neutrality on MacDonald’s work. I have 32 posts recommending one of his essays or his writing in general. I did say one thing about him that sums up a great deal about his blog. I once pointed out that if you wanted the equivalent of a college course in business ethics you only had to read his web postings for a few months.
This is one of Chris MacDonald’s blogs. If you want Canadian ethics site, probably the ultimate web site. However, considering the power of his principal web site, I want to recommend that you go there first.
Doug Cornelius writes this blog. It’s written in an informal way. It is often amusing as well as informative. For instance, for the Christmas season, he has a blog entry discussing the ethics of Santa Claus. It’s updated often and quite intelligent.
Here’s a quote from his post on the Facebook – Goldman Sachs deal –
To me it sounds like Facebook and Goldman have come up with an ingenious solution to the address the capital needs for Facebook and to avoid a public offering of stock. I assume the Goldman investment and its new fund will be used to provide some capital for expansion and growth. I also suspect that some of it will be used to cash out early investors, purchase employee stock, and repurchase stock that has been privately traded. Gobbling up the stock would be an opportunity to keep the number of investors well below the 499 trigger point. Early investors may take their money and run.
This web magazine is operated by Michael Connor. It is more focused on what corporations should do in ethical dilemmas and often veers into public relations tactics. Nevertheless, some good ethical writing, clever articles and much useful information. The blog dates from 2009 and is updated very regularly.
Here’s the self description from the blog –
A lot has changed in the more than two decades since Business Ethics was founded. Ethics and governance have emerged as front-page news and lead agenda items in corporate board rooms and the halls of Congress. Good corporate citizenship is now studied, advocated and sometimes practiced. Sustainability has become a goal for well-meaning small businesses as well as many of the Fortune 500. Whether that represents real progress is open to debate. The continuing fallout from the recent economic and financial crises is a constant reminder that many systems are not working. There’s plenty to discuss. Business Ethics aims to serve as a guide.
This is the intro to Sam Antar’s White Collar Fraud web site –
There is a saying, “It takes one to know one.” I am a convicted felon, former CPA, and former criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie. Today, I advise law enforcement agencies, professionals, and businesses how to identify fraud and train them to catch the crooks. This blog discusses white-collar crime, securities fraud, financial reporting irregularities, Sarbanes-Oxley, corruption, and other related topics. Irregularities reported here are referred to appropriate government agencies as a whistleblower.
This is a better summation than anything I am likely to write about the blog.
Foreclosureblues is the best foreclosure site on the web. It is edited by Jake Naumer. It’s updated regularly and it’s content is updated regularly. Their choice of material is excellent. The site posts consist of often vital and useful information salted with outrage over the injustice involved. I strongly advocate this blog.
There is a lot of dynamic writing on this sight. It often has the feel of the breaking news in this highly controversial area. Look at this writing sample –
“It may mean investors who think they bought mortgage- backed securities bought securities that aren’t backed by anything,” said Kurt Eggert, a professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. Well, that’s already happened. Check out this lawsuit by MBIA Insurance against Credit Suisse 0ver a bad securitization loan deal.
This is one of my favorite blogs. It has lively writing and a sense of mission. David Yamada often focuses on workplace bullying as an issue. He pushes for legislation and other actions in dealing with this problem.
From the blogs “about” page –
This blog is dedicated to news and commentary about work and employment relations. Dignity at work, workplace bullying, employment & labor law, and psychologically healthy work environments are recurring themes.
Important disclosure – I consider Franklin Olson to be a friend, so I am biased. I have exchanged e-mails and asked him if he would like to blog on my site.
You may assume safely that I like his writing and value his opinions. His latest writing is on Aristotle and considering my recent explorations into the subject, I feel very pleased about his choice of topic. His articles are guite intelligent, considerably in depth, and written from a Christian perspective. My only complaint is he doesn’t write on a regular schedule. I recommend his site.
I like Steven Mintz. I like his writing. The evidence of his personal conduct and thought indicate a man whose writing reflects high values. I consider him a benefit to the field of ethics. Another disclosure – we have exchanged thoughts through the medium of the web and he has gone to the trouble of writing me a blog response explaining in some detail the thought of Aristotle. I consider this a favor of a very high order. From my reading of it, he explained it clearly and accurately off the top of his head, his thoughts laid clearly as they had been shaped by teaching the subject over some years. I teach myself and I recognize the accomplishment.
His site is one of the strongest that I have seen on the web when it comes to ethical discussions of current events. For any student this is a treasure of usable research topics and for any casual reader, intelligent comment. You should read this blog.
Relationships on university campuses across Canada are becoming increasingly strained. The long term pressure is a lack of funding to match increasing enrollments. However, faced with that pressure many universities have engaged in behaviours that are neither fair nor transparent. For example, the underfunding of students has reached such a critical level that over 90% of Canadian universities now have food banks on campus. The University of Alberta has had one since 1991, now even the University of Lethbridge has one.
Hundreds of thousands of students rely on student loans to pay their tuition. The governments transmit these funds to the students through the universities who charge the students an administrative fee in turn. I know of one regional Canadian university who budgets almost a quarter of a million dollars annually to be received from these fees. Why should the poorest students be subsidizing the universities with borrowed money? These are the ones relying on food banks to eat. This practice is neither transparent nor fair.
15. Business Ethics Memo Julian Friedland’s blog is well written and fun. I like his attitude. He often aims at current events with great accuracy.
Personally, I’ve always been suspicious of the ethics of for-profit microlending. Its defenders claim that if it were limited to non-profit philanthropy, there would be much less money available to aid the myriad poor villagers in the developing world where it is desperately needed. Capitalism begets capital.
That sounds like a decent utilitarian argument. Trouble is, from a more principle-based position, there is something unseemly about saddling the working poor with interest rates so high they would be considered usurious in the U.S. Indeed, several U.S. states have regulated payday lending rates to below half (24%-36%) of what is common in international microcredit (80%-100% or more). The Federal government makes it illegal to sell payday loans to military personnel at higher than 36% interest.
One of the core principles of ethical conduct is that an individual who finds himself in a position to stop wrongdoing has an obligation to do so, regardless of whether he caused the problem or has an official or professional duty to discharge. Fix the problem. Ask questions, blow the whistle, confront the wrongdoer, pressure officials, call in authorities…whatever it takes. So many of the scandals and disasters we have witnessed in the past— the home mortgage meltdown, the Enron implosion, Abu Ghraib, Bernie Madoff’s scheme, baseball’s steroid scandal, the Catholic Church’s child molestation cover-up, and too many more to list—would have been ended far sooner if someone on the scene had followed through on this ethical imperative. We don’t know who those people who ducked their responsibilities are; all we know is that lives were ruined because they chose to be passive, and not to act.
17. Christian Business Ethics Bobby Miller’s web site is a rare example of a Christian Ethics web site. When you run a search for Christian business ethics, you get a multitude of hits. The great majority are useless. This one is a good one.
Take for example, a saying that a lot of business executives and entrepreneurs use to cover-up or fluff-over the evil of their decisions, when made, affects individuals on every personal level. They utter these dreaded words, “It’s not personal, it’s only business”. I personally hate that. Of course it’s personal. When a father or mother goes home and say to their spouse and look into the eyes of their children that they’ve been terminated from work, you bet your bottom dollar that it’s personal. They are hurt and disappointed. Hope is removed from before them. They know that there are going to be rough time ahead. They know that some of the privileges that they had grown accustomed to will fade away in a snap. I thinks it’s a cowardice way of the one severing the relationship truly saying, “I don’t care how my decisions affects you. My business needs, my profit margin, my image or goals are more important that your welfare, or your family’s welfare”. Let me be clear, I am not saying that some executive decisions are not justified. Many [if not most] are justified. What I am talking about is how some employers of late, took advantage of the recent downturn in the economy as a justification to unnecessarily lay-off or fire some of their employees that were faithful servants of their firms, performing their jobs at optimum levels, just to increase the bottom line. At the root cause of their motivation to terminate the employment of these individuals was unashamed greed, on display for all to see.
18. Engineering Ethics Blog Karl Stephan’s blog is excellent writing. But what makes it even better is that he brings an engineering perspective coupled with an ability to explain the subject to those outside the field. I remember his discussion of the technical aspects of the Gulf disaster. He explained what happened in a way that gave me a deeper understanding of the problems inherent in that kind of drilling.
Last week GlaxoSmithKline settled a claim with the US Justice Department for $750 million. However, what really made the news was that whistleblower Cheryl Eckard stood to receive $96 million for her efforts.
The concern, as raised in today’s Wall Street Journal, is that with such a potential goldmine on the back end, potential whistleblowers will be going straight to the feds before working through internal channels. For over 20 years major organizations have built extensive ethics and compliance infrastructures, including helplines and ethics training that details the suggested ways to report misconduct.
Here’s an example from the blog written by Bennett Foddy
A new report released by the US Surgeon General last month reminds us that cigarettes are designed with addiction in mind. Tobacco companies infuse tobacco with ammonia so that the nicotine crosses the membranes in the lungs faster, reducing the delay between inhalation and pharmacological effect. They add flavourings like chocolate and vanilla to the blend, knowing that smokers will be more likely to smell something in their food that they associate with smoking, and to feel like lighting up. These tricks are a source of moral outrage for many of us; it seems as though the tobacco companies are exploiting weaknesses in our biology to make us buy things we would not otherwise have bought, and to do things we would not otherwise have done (or would not have done so much). And tobacco executives have often denied engaging in these kinds of tactics.
McDonald’s may be doing a great deal to address criticism about the link of its food to obesity. And they are only one of a legion of fast food restaurants that offer high sodium, high fat, high sugar, and high calorie foods.
However, there is a tremendous need for leadership here to create healthier ways to prepare food and to offer healthier menus. Kids’ nutrition is a first step. McDonald’s is well positioned to provide that leadership. The lawsuit isn’t the challenge. The challenge is to find answers to creating healthier food and still be a financially successful company.
Given the enormous power McDonald’s has to shape what is fun and cool to eat, what if they redirected their energy to developing innovative solutions to inexpensive, good-to-eat food that is actually good for children?
22. Rogue Columnist: A Pen Warmed in Hell This is a big favorite of mine. Jon Talton is outraged by a lot that goes on. So do I. I put him in the business ethics blogs because of his persistent criticism of business practices in Arizona. He doesn’t blog on the subject that often but when he does, it is memorable.
I overheard this conversation: “Is there some way I can short Arizona? I asked my broker and she said she will be on a conference call next week with a manager of two funds that invest in Arizona munis who are considering selling the entire portfolio…” And yet, Arizona hasn’t yet paid the full price for the Kookocracy being in power, for its cruel policies, for its inflaming hatred and violence. The national college football championship will be played at the stadium in Glendale, built with taxpayer money to enrich private sprawl developers. Tourism has apparently rebounded from the anti-immigrant law. Arizona just gets away with it and too much of what passes for the leadership in the state just goes with the flow. The vulnerable and sick, the working poor, the competitive future — these all pay the price. Gabby Giffords, a smart centrist who supported gun rights, paid. So did federal Judge John Roll, who had received threats from the white-right over immigration rulings. But when will Arizona pay for what it has become?
23. Thinking Ethics Beth Krasna edits this exploration of ethics issues. Now beware, a quick look indicates only a handful of posts. You have to go to the categories column on the right side of the page and click on the appropriate topic to pull up those kinds of posts. Once you know to do that, you find a great deal of material.
This is a Facebook site which is an unusual choice for me but the students and other contributors range the Internet and find some fascinating stuff. Because of this, I include it. It’s good site in terms of its exploration of other articles and other thoughts.
Each and every week, Too Much explores excess and inequality, in the United States and throughout the world. We cover a wide swatch of territory, everything from the latest executive pay outrage to the most current research insights on how staggering income and wealth divides are impacting our health and our happiness.
This blog calls for income equality and regularly publishes blog entries rich on supporting data and history as some informative and clearly presented graphs. I believe the wide class differences in wealth in the United States are destroying democracy and damaging the fabric of society. Thus, I see it as pursuing ethical business policies. So, it gets included.
Lauren Bloom has a post wondering how often British Petroleum has lied.
Gael O’Brien on the website, The Week in Ethics, has another post about British Petroleum, in which she discusses the human toll using an an example the life of William Kruse. This is some fine writing. I’d give it a look if I were you.
David Gebler writing from the web site, Free Management Library, discusses safety and costs from an ethical standpoint. Here’s a nice quote from the article:
“However, as we have seen from the fallout from the Gulf Oil Spill, the recent mine accidents in West Virginia, as well as FAA intervention on airline safety issues, relying on government identification of safety issues may no longer be a viable fall back position for companies that have greater knowledge of the issue than the government.”
Shel Horowitz writing from his blog, Principled Profit, argues against the government guaranteeing loans to private companies to build nuclear power plants. He discusses the dangers of nuclear power plants. I am astonished at the hypocrisy of people who continuously shout “free market” to drown out alternative ideas thinking that the government guaranteeing loans to private industry is anything more than corporate hands in the public till. It’s a complete rejection of capitalism. If private industry and investors are unwilling to bear the risks of building nuclear power plants, should they be built?
Lauren Bloom writing on her blog, discusses whether or not McChystal’s apology to the President should have been or could have been effective. She believes that the obvious contempt of his staff toward the President made the situation impossible for the general.
I quote: “For an apology to be effective, it has to be sincere. It’s hard to imagine how the general could made a sincerely humble apology after flaunting such arrogance in front of a reporter.”
Lauren Bloom blogs that employers should allow workers the freedom to deal with family problems such as illness. Currently with the great difficulty in finding jobs, there is certainly a temptation to put the hammer down. Bloom believes this is counterproductive.
Gael O’Brien discusses the World Health Organization’s problems. The WHO has been criticized for over estimating the danger of a flu pandemic and advising governments to stockpile enormous quantities of drugs as preparation. The three scientists who recommended these steps all have ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs recommended. The article is long enough for a good analysis and achieves that goal. The article has links to two reports, one from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the other from BMJ (it used to be the British Medical Journal). Neither report is complimentary.
Chris MacDonald considers the ethical elements of what is owed the shareholders of British Petroleum. His conclusion is dramatic. (And I think giving the comments a read is a good idea on this one.)
Lauren Bloom takes on the question of Helen Thomas and what should have happened in the light of her remarks. She wants to know why Hearst Corporation didn’t provide any help for her in the crisis. (I was surprised to discover that my opinion in the matter was identical with Ms. Bloom’s.)
Alain Sherter is on fire today, at first, angry, satirical, and then he segues into a discussion of what constitutes a sophisticated investor and then he gets indignant and angry again. It’s the kind of writing I expect from him. Sherter is extremely knowledgeable about the world of finance, outraged at the unprosecuted and protected bandits of our economy and dismayed by the public’s lack of concern, the government’s craven inability to act and the docility and foolishness of beltway comedians who call themselves journalists. If a few hundred people shared his convictions and ability, wall street would be a different place.
Lauren Bloomwriting on her blog whether or not governments can be effective when they intervene in corporate disasters. Many had thought that industry was self regulating. I quote from the article – “Now we’re seeing what happens if companies fail to self-regulate and, in particular, fail to prepare for serious problems.”