The Ethics of Kindness – ‘Pay it Forward’

Today we have a guest post by my colleague, Steven Mintz, the Ethics Sage. Read and enjoy-

And as always, favorite, like,

The Ethics Sage

re-post, and visit my friend’s home web site.

The Ethics of Kindness – ‘Pay it Forward’

Not everyone associates ethics with kindness. We think of it as part of good manners or civility. Yet, treating others with kindness evokes The Golden Rule – to treat others the way you want to be treated. One example of how we can take tangible actions to treat others with kindness is to “Pay it Forward.”

April 28 is ‘Pay it Forward’ Day. Pay it Forward is a global initiative that exists to make a difference by creating a string of kind actions felt across the world. The idea is even small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can literally change the world for the better. The goal of the day is to encourage us to embrace the power of giving; show each other that we care; make a difference in someone’s life; and encourage others to do the same.

Paying it forward is often linked to performing ‘random acts of kindness.’ The philosophy of random acts of kindness is altruism, a selfless concern for others. It is to urge people to be kind to each other, especially those they don’t know, without any specific reason. The purpose is to get others to return the kindness to start a chain reaction of good deeds.

The concept of doing a kind act for another person has always been on our ethics radar but really took flight after the movie, “Pay it Forward,” was released. The movie tells the story of Trevor McKinney, a 12-year old student, who is given a class assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world forever. It has to be a major favor that the recipient cannot complete themselves. Trevor does a favor for three people, asking each of them to pay it forward by doing favors for three people, and so on, along a branching tree of good deeds.

When was the last time you thought of paying for the food of the customer behind you in line at a window check out, even those you don’t know? Back in August 2014, a customer at a drive-through at a Starbucks in St. Petersburg, Florida, paid for her own iced coffee at 7 am, and also asked to pay for a caramel macchiato for the driver behind her, who then did the same for the next customer. People ordered a drink at the speaker. When they pulled through to the next window, the barista, Vu Nguyen, 29, leaned through and said with a smile that their drinks had already been paid for by the person in front of them. Would they like to return the favor? By closing at 10 pm, 378 people kept the chain going.

Kindness is an essential part of being a good person – an ethical person – because it is a selfless act and one done to better the lives of others. Kindness drives compassionate people and defines who they are. Kind people care about others – their feelings and well-being. It is the essence of treating others the way we want to treated — The Golden Rule of Ethics.

So, what can you do to practice random acts of kindness?

  • Feed a neighbor’s dogs while they are out of town so the dogs do not have to go to a kennel.
  • Offer to cover the shift of a co-worker who has a family event to attend.
  • Volunteer at a food bank or a religious institution.
  • Organize a charitable event in your community.
  • Write a thank you note (don’t send an email) to someone who did something kind for you.

In this age of radical political and religious ideologies, corporate swindling, and the harsh realities of social media, where we live our lives so publicly, people are desperate for moral direction. By practicing random acts of kindness, we send the message that we have a responsibility to enhance the well-being of others and contribute to the betterment of our communities and society.

Blog by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage. Visit Steve’s website at:

The Importance of Character

The Importance of Character

Today, I want to talk about my friend, Steven Mintz and his recent post, Character and Free Speech Go Hand in Hand. Steven has rightly pointed out that character is a critical value and below is a little segment from his essay (which of course in no way does it justice).

The Josephson Institute identifies Six Pillars of Character. They include: trustworthiness; respect; responsibility; fairness; caring; and citizenship. I define them a bit differently and place them in six categories I call “The Magnificent Seven Core Ethical Values.”

Truthfulness: Be honest and non-deceptive: don’t hide important facts from others.

Trustworthiness: Keep promises, be reliable, treat others faithfully.

Responsibility: Be accountable for your actions; learn from your mistakes.

Fair-mindedness: Treat others equally, impartially, and objectively.

Respect: The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Caring: Be kind to others; be sensitive to their needs; show empathy for others.

Civility: Listen to others attentively; don’t be rude or disrespectful.

All of Steven’s writing is constructed in carefully organized format and reading these little pieces does not give you the full flavor of his writing so please journey to his web site and read them all in full.

I think that character is often manifested in civic virtue and patriotism. One of things that pains me about modern society is the willingness of many businesses to casually discard American workers and Americans interests such as patents and trade secrets as long as the money is good enough. This kind of thinking is the opposite of character and is evidence of narcissism and greed.

It seems to me that we should actively seek to build character by rewards. Shouldn’t it be possible in our policies of taxation, in our rules admitting people to attend training or schooling that we could introduce the concept of rewarding virtue, not just good grades but good actions and living with others in mind?

If we want to have a society where we want the rules to be followed, shouldn’t we reward those that follow the rules? And rewards do not have to be money. It can be honor. Napoleon once wrote that a man wouldn’t give you his life for any sum of money but would gladly yield it up for a piece of metal on a ribbon but isn’t his little story more an example of how we wish to be thought of, and the sacrifices we are willing to make to others to appreciate and value our contributions?

Can we do something along those lines at this time in this society?

James Pilant


The Ethics Sage Addresses Unintended Consequences

The Ethics Sage Addresses Unintended Consequences

In an article entitled, Unintended Consequences of the H1-B Visa Program and sub-titled: Are American Workers Adequately Trained to Fill High Tech Jobs?, Steven Mintz, better known as the Ethics Sage, discusses the likely impact of a coming Trump executive order.

Here is (what I think is) the most critical paragraph –

Trump is taking a short-term view of a long-term problem, which is our colleges and universities are not training an adequate number of American students to fill jobs in technology and the sciences to meet the growing needs of American companies. However, no one is addressing the real problem which is American colleges and universities give preference to foreign students, especially public institutions. The reason is they pay about four times the tuition of residents of a state. Given the magnitude of state budget cuts for public colleges and universities in the aftermath of the financial recession, foreign students are highly sought out for their financial wherewithal thereby crowding out American students.

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage

As always, when I give you a brief selection from Steven’s work, you should take the opportunity to go to his site and read the whole thing. I am confident my quick summaries of his work and choice of selections never do full justice to the quality of his efforts.

I have not decided quite how to deal with the new administration and I’ll probably wait to see the executive order itself since I’m trained as an attorney, I firmly believe the devil is in the details. So, it could be just as Steven says, worse or (most likely) a whole lot worse. The drafting of these executive orders has not been impressive. In fact, there is a theory running about that they are Leninist political maneuvers designed to divert attention from the real issues while damaging and dividing enemies of the new administration. I don’t know, myself, whether this is true but I will be watching to see if a pattern forms.

Please LIKE, Favorite and re-blog if you like.

I enjoy the attention and any allies I can find who believe in business ethics are very welcome to join the struggle.

James Pilant

The Steven Mintz Edition!

The Steven Mintz Edition!

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage

My friend, Steven Mintz, better known as The Ethics Sage, has a beautiful new web site which can be found here. For a good number of years now, Professor Mintz has published a blog on ethics, particularly focusing originally on accounting ethics but broadening his focus as time went by.

He also has a Facebook page which like his new web site is quite beautifully laid out.

I highly recommend his work and he is a prolific author. So there is a lot to see and read.

So visit, share and add to your favorites!

James Pilant

This is Steven’s self introduction from his new web site –

Known as “The Ethics Sage” to many, Dr. Steven Mintz is a well-known Professor Emeritus from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. His blog, The Ethics Sage, was voted number 49 out of the Top 100 Philosophy blogs and one of the top 30 blogs on CSR. Steve provides insights on workplace issues with his blog “Workplace Ethics Advice.” He has written articles for various media outlets including the Pacific Coast Business Times, Chronicle of Higher Education and The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility’s Business Ethics Online. Dr. Mintz is an ethics expert and available to speak on a variety of ethics issues including workplace ethics. . He offers courses on accounting and workplace ethics through “Geniecast.” 

The Ethics Sage Discusses the Moral Issues in the Film, Insurgent.

The Ethics Sage Discusses the Moral Issues in the Film, Insurgent.

(Steven Mintz, the Ethics Sage give his usual intelligent analysis to a film. Please go to his web site and read the whole entry. jp)

Below is a brief excerpt from this work followed by my own comments.

The Ethics of Insurgent of the Divergent Series – Ethics Sage

What makes “Insurgent” a modern play on morality is that Tris encounters a wide variety of moral issues that can best be viewed through the lens of the film itself. Here are some quotes:  

“That might be your truth; it’s not necessarily mine” – a textbook summary of moral relativism.

“I’m just one person; I’m not worth it” – spoken when Tris considers submitting to death rather than seeing others suffer, reflecting a utilitarian understanding that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, something I recently blogged about.

 “Dark times call for dark measures, but I am serving the greater good” – or, in other words, “the ends justify the means.” We can relate this to the current conflict (war?) with ISIS and ISIL. That is, fighting a war may be wrong but its ends of “degrading” and “destroying” an evil enemy make it justified from a moral point of view.

“May the truth set you free.” Honesty is the best policy and leads to a clear conscience.

via The Ethics of Insurgent of the Divergent Series – Ethics Sage. (End of excerpt)

Films are a vital tool in teaching business ethics.

frontWhile I don’t use any of the Divergent Series in my classes, I’m confident they are useful. Why? Because most motion pictures save for those displaying our modern penchant for special effects over character development almost always deal with moral issues. Some films are more useful than others. For instance, The Wolf of Wall Street glorifies the antics of a criminal. On the other hand, there are films like Desk Set, The Apartment, and Sabrina that illustrate business and class issues, and, not incidentally are some of the greatest films of all time.

Today in class, we used My Life in Ruins to teach Business Ethics. Nia Vardalos may very well have made “The Gone With the Wind” of business ethics films. The film is so crowded with business ethics problems that my students sometimes have trouble writing them down as the film proceeds. That the film is also well-done and funny are added benefits. (Education does not always have to be painful.)

One of the interesting things about using films in class is that those who use documentaries tend to use the same ones (based on my observations and reading other people’s syllabi), while those who use movies vary widely. One of my colleagues sent me her syllabus in which all of her films are very recent whereas my films can go back to the silents (Metropolis). Now, my students give me the impression that making them watch a silent film is roughly equivalent to slowly boiling them in oil. So, that particular one is an optional extra-credit assignment.

James Pilant


The Ethics Sage and the Ethics of Affirmative Action

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage and the Ethics of Affirmative Action

The Ethics Sage and the Ethics of Affirmative Action

Ethics of Affirmative Action

(A Guest Blog by My Colleague, Steven Mintz. Visit his site here!)

University of Texas Affirmative-Action Program is upheld by a Federal Appeals Court

Are considerations of affirmative action ethical policies for a university to follow? This is the overriding question to be addressed in evaluating race-based decisions about admission to colleges and universities. I raise the issue because a federal appeals-court panel handed at least a temporary setback to critics of affirmative action last Tuesday by ruling that a race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin had passed a strict-scrutiny analysis ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Critics of the ruling might believe that the ethical principles of justice and fairness work against race-based policies because people should not be treated differently because of race. The ethical support for this kind of opinion holds that equals should be treated equally and unequals should be treated unequally. In other words if there are legitimate reasons to treat one group differently than another, then such treatment is justified.
The problem with this argument is by saying one group (i.e. minorities) should be given preference over another group (i.e. whites) we give credence to the idea that certain groups are inferior because we then assume that the favored groups cannot reach the required level of achievement through their own efforts. Moreover, affirmative action policies lead to lower standards since some less qualified candidates will be admitted if race is allowed to override general standards applied to all.

Opponents of race-based policies hold such views because they value the equal treatment of every person on the basis of common standards. It’s hard to argue this position from a fairness point of view. On the other hand, I believe a diverse population in colleges and universities add to all students’ experiences as they learn in their classes how some groups historically have been discriminated against. I believe the motivation for affirmative action is to right a past wrong and not to give one group preference over another in admissions decisions.

The federal appeals court decision that brought to the fore the affirmative action policies of the University of Texas means that consideration of some applicants’ race are necessary to achieve sufficiently diverse enrollments there. In a 2-to-1 decision revealing continued disagreement among the judges over the appropriate standard for evaluating such policies, the panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit In response to an overwhelming Supreme Court decision Supreme Court decision that faulted the Fifth Circuit’s previous endorsement previous endorsement of the undergraduate admissions policy as too deferential to the university, the two judges in the majority said the policy withstood stricter scrutiny than applied before.

The appeals-court panel affirmed, for a second time, a 2009 summary judgment by a U.S. District Court dismissing the lawsuit brought by Abigail Noel Fisher, a white applicant who had accused the Austin campus of illegal discrimination after being denied admission as a freshman the previous year.

The ruling Tuesday’s ruling in the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, almost certainly does not mark an end to the legal battle over the policy. the legal battle over the policy. The Project on Fair Representation, an advocacy group that brought the lawsuit on Ms. Fisher’s behalf, said it expected to appeal the decision all the way back to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

“This panel was proven wrong last year by the Supreme Court, and we believe it will be proven wrong once again on appeal,” said Edward Blum, the organization’s director.

Judge Emilio M. Garza, the dissenting member of the Fifth Circuit panel appeared to lay some of the groundwork for an appeal with an opinion arguing that the majority had again failed to treat the university’s assertions with sufficient skepticism.

“By holding that the university’s use of racial classifications is narrowly tailored, the majority continues to defer impermissibly to the university’s claims,” he wrote, adding that such deference “is squarely at odds with the central lesson” of last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the case.

In that ruling the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 6-2, that Michigan voters have a right to amend their state Constitution to ban racial preferences in admissions at public universities. In so doing, the court affirmed laws in eight states that have 29 percent of America’s high-school population and more than 40 percent of its Hispanic residents.

In the case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the court’s only Hispanic member, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, wrote a widely acclaimed dissent, in which she challenged Chief Justice John Roberts’s colorblind approach to college admissions as “out of touch with reality.”

A new report by the Century Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, suggests, however, that the concerns of both justices can be met: Alternatives to race-conscious affirmative-action, if properly structured, would produce more diversity than just concentrating on race.

According to a chapter by Anthony P. Carnevale and his colleagues at Georgetown University in the new report, The Future of Affirmative Action: New Paths to Higher Education Diversity After Fisher v. University of Texas, using socioeconomic preferences and/or plans that admit a top percentage of students from every high school, if structured properly, could produce even higher levels of black and Hispanic representation at the most selective colleges than racial preferences now achieve. That approach would work because it reflects economic disadvantages that are often shaped by racial discrimination.

Sotomayor’s dissent in Schuette is a strong reminder of the importance of race. “Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up,” she wrote. “Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: ‘I do not belong here.’ ”
In Schuette, Sotomayor wrote that preferences provide the only realistic path to racial inclusion in higher education, correctly noting that race-neutral alternatives have failed to produce adequate diversity at three high-profile institutions—the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

The question of whether affirmative action policies, whether based on racial differences, to right past wrongs, or socio-economic considerations, is a complicated issue from an ethical perspective. Like most contentious issues each position can be argued from different points of view in part, I believe, because the motivation for such preferences underlies the issue of ethical ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness.’

In virtue ethics, motivations are an integral part of the ethical equation. If we can say the motivation for race-based decisions is the inherent goodness of such policies, then the Fisher ruling is ethically supportable. On the other hand, doesn’t Fisher have an ethical right to be given preference based on higher achievement of admissions criteria (i.e. SAT scores)? Doesn’t the University of Texas have an obligation to Fisher to admit her because she was more qualified and denied admission based on socio-economic factors that enabled less qualified candidates to be admitted?

These are difficult questions to answer. I am conflicted because each argument has some merit. As a college professor I have seen first-hand how having a diverse population in my ethics class adds value to the learning experience of all students. On the other hand I can understand the position of a student denied admission because other considerations allowed another student to be given preference for whatever reason.

Blog posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on July 22, 2014. Dr. Mintz is a professor in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He also blogs at:


The Ethics Sage – What does it take to make Ethical Decisions in the Workplace?

It is my pleasure to publish a posting from The Ethics Sage. As always, I recommend you visit his site and sign up as a follower so you will be notified of each of his postings. I consider him a most capable colleague in the field of business ethics and hope you visit his site often.

James Pilant

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage

What does it take to make Ethical Decisions in the Workplace?

I often discuss ethical decision making in my Accounting Ethics class because accountants and auditors are part of the internal organization structure and have an important role in preventing and detecting misconduct (i.e., occupational and financial statement fraud). I typically start by discussing virtue ethics that posits ethical people possess certain character traits that pre-dispose them to do the right thing when conflicts arise or ethical dilemmas exist. I favor virtue ethics because it provides a basis for evaluating the decision as ethical, which traditional philosophical reasoning methods do as well, and also it can be used to evaluate the ethics of the person making the decision. In other words, ethical decisions and decision-makers reflect honesty, integrity, fairness, due care, and responsibility and accountability in decision making.

One model I draw on to support the discussion is James Rest’s Model of Moral Development. In 1983, Rest proposed a four-stage model of the ethical decision-making process that links to the cognitive processes that individuals use in ethical decision making; that is, it depicts how an individual first identifies an ethical dilemma and reasons through what is the right thing to do, and then continues through her intention and finally courage to act ethically. Here is a brief outline of the model.

Moral Sensitivity

The first step in moral behavior requires that the individual interpret the situation as moral by noticing the moral features of the decision. A moral person ought to have a certain preference about how to behave and then ought to behave in accordance with that preference. Moral features are built around consideration of how our actions affect others and whether we respect the rights of others in decision making.

Moral Judgment

Moral judgment entails finding the ideal solution to an ethical dilemma. It starts with cognition, the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. It continues by making assumptions and emphasizing some things over others. Typically, philosophical reasoning methods help in the process. An integral part of virtue ethics is the application of practical wisdom, gained through years of experience and developing good habits.

Moral Motivation

Moral motivation reflects the degree of commitment to taking the moral course of action, valuing moral values over other values, and taking personal responsibility for moral outcomes. Moral motivation reflects an individual’s willingness to place ethical values (e.g., honesty, integrity, trustworthiness) ahead of non-ethical values (e.g., wealth and fame) that relate to self-interest. A whistleblower who acts out of moral intent is willing to accept the risk of retaliation in order to follow her ethical beliefs.

Moral Character

Individuals do not always behave in accordance with their ethical intention. The whistleblower may know what the right thing to do is but lack the moral courage to do it. Rest describes moral character as persistence in completing a moral task, having courage, over-coming temptation, and implementing processes that serve a moral goal. A person with a strong ethical character is more likely to carry out ethical intentions with ethical action than one with a weak character because she is better able to withstand pressures from higher-ups in the organization to overlook wrongdoing.

Here are some tips in making ethical decisions in the workplace.

1. Consider how your actions affect others. All decisions have stakeholder effects and ethical people consider how those parties will be affected if I they decide to do one thing or another.
2. Do no harm. Your actions and decisions should never harm another party. One exception is whistleblowing where the greater good may dictate that a decision-maker should report wrongdoing whenever the action of one party harms others (i.e., investors and creditors). A good example is fraudulent financial statements where, under certain circumstances, the accountant or auditor should blow the whistle on fraud by contacting the SEC.
3. Make decisions that are universal. That is, ask yourself whether you would want others to resolve the conflict by taking the same action you are about to take for similar reasons in similar situations. If the answer is ‘yes,’ then your actions have universal appeal. Universality requires that your decisions respect the rights of others.
4. Reflect before deciding. As a final step, think about how you would feel if your actions and decisions appear on the front pages of a newspaper. Would you be proud to defend them; explain them to loved ones; follow-up with ethical behavior in the workplace?

The reason virtue ethics is an excellent tool of ethical decision-making is no matter how “good” an individual wants to be, in the workplace competing forces come into play such as loyalty to one’s supervisor or the organization. It takes a person of courage – integrity – to place the good of others (i.e., public interest) ahead of one’s own self-interest and that of one’s employer. Virtue ethics recognizes that the person must be honest, trustworthy, and fair-minded, and so on for the decision itself to reflect these characteristics.

The Ethics Sage blogs can be found at:



The Ethics Sage Talks Medical Conflicts of Interest

 The Ethics Sage Talks Medical Conflicts of Interest

Steven Mintz has a new post. It concerns conflicts of interests, in particular those involving academics sitting on the boards of drug companies. It’s a critical problem and he paints the issue in the bright colors of ethical perception that such an issue deserves.

I recommend this essay and suggest you visit the web site and read more of The Ethic Sage’s posting.

James Pilant

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage

Academic Medical Center Leaders’ Position on the Board of Directors of a Pharmaceutical Company Can Create a Conflict of Interest – Ethics Sage

The danger of the practice of allowing leaders of academic medical centers to sit on the boards of drug companies is more than just the perception that independent judgment may be tainted by these relationships. Academic medical centers should serve the public good. How can they be expected to do so if a situation arises, for example, where the pharmaceutical product is of questionable value and the center is dependent on funding from the company? After all, the deans and directors who sit on boards are only human and just as board members of corporate entities might be biased toward the interest of the company and not the public interest, these academic leaders might overlook a problem with a drug that could threaten the public health.

via Academic Medical Center Leaders’ Position on the Board of Directors of a Pharmaceutical Company Can Create a Conflict of Interest – Ethics Sage.

From around the web.

From the web site,

A headline in The Denver Post was a reminder that health care providers, and the schools that teach or employ them, need to remain vigilant about conflict-of-interest issues.


The Post declared: “Docs limit drug-firm ties.” The ties refer to payments to doctors from pharmaceutical companies and medical-device manufacturers.”

The smaller headline tells another important part of the news: “Payments must pass ethics muster ….”

The story underscores changes that have occurred recently at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The school has had conflict-of-interest (COI) rules on the books for years.

But in 2011 those rules were both tightened and clarified—the “ethics muster.” The guiding principle is this: faculty cannot accept money to help a company market or promote a product.

The main target of the change was what are called “speakers bureaus.” Companies set these up to pay for speeches by physicians and others. CU now bans such participation.

“We’ve made explicit what always was our intention,” says Steven Lowenstein, MD, an emergency department doctor and associate dean who helped shape the new policy. “Our doctors can’t promote products. Drug companies can’t tell our doctors what to say or require them to use the companies’ slides or other instructional materials. And speaking requests will be reviewed by a new committee.

“The committee review is designed to separate truly educational talks and research-related talks, which are permitted, from talks that are about marketing and promotion.”

Lowenstein notes that research collaboration and research-related talks are allowed because they advance the science and practice of health care and benefit patients. For example, a doctor might have a contract with a pharmaceutical company to assist in developing, testing or assuring the safety of a new drug or device.

The issue of payments to physicians has gained prominence because of reporting by the organization ProPublica. In October 2010, they published a report called “Dollars for Docs,” based on pharmaceutical company payment disclosures that recently had become available.

The Ethics Sage Calls for Ethical Reasoning Skills

The Ethics Sage Calls for Ethical Reasoning Skills

Steven Mintz, the Ethics Sage is calling for ethical reasoning skills to be added to teaching in the United States. It is an idea that carries real merit and deserves your consideration. Please read.

James Pilant

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage

 Developing the Reasoning Skills through Education to Create a More Ethical Society – Ethics Sage

Late in life Adam Smith observed that government institutions can never tame and regulate a society whose citizens are not schooled in a common set of virtues. “What institutions of government could tend so much to promote the happiness of mankind as the general prevalence of wisdom and virtue? All government is but an imperfect remedy for the deficiency of these.” In other words, Smith knew that virtue, or traits of character as espoused by the ancient Greeks, are essential to making our free market economy work and deliver prosperity under our capitalistic system.

Now we learn that the College Board will overhaul the SAT in 2016. Saying its college admission exams do not focus on the important academic skills, there will be fundamental changes in the exam including ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong, cutting obscure vocabulary words and making the essay optional. The latter is disturbing at a time when both college professors and recruiters are criticizing the lack of writing skills of today’s college graduates.

I’m disappointed that the College Board chose not to use the opportunity to introduce ethical reasoning skills. It is the one way we have a chance, as a society, to reverse the declining work ethic that threatens our economic leadership position in the world.

via Developing the Reasoning Skills through Education to Create a More Ethical Society – Ethics Sage.

From around the web.

From the web site, Prime Network.

Honesty and integrity are vital attributes of any physician or health-care worker, since our work involves dealing with vulnerable people who have to put their trust in us and our judgements.

They are also necessary integral parts of the academic basis for our professional practice – our science must be correct, and we must know what we are doing and be competent at it. Sadly however there is ample evidence to suggest that academic dishonesty remains an area of concern for academic and professional bodies. There is also burgeoning research in the area of moral reasoning and its relevance to the teaching of pharmacy and medicine, including how it is linked to academic honesty.

A just-published paper from the University of Auckland in New Zealand explored academic dishonesty and ethical reasoning in 433 pharmacy and medicine students.A questionnaire eliciting responses about academic dishonesty (copying, cheating, and collusion) and their decisions regarding an ethical dilemma was distributed. Multivariate analysis procedures were conducted. The findings suggested that copying and collusion may be linked to the way students make ethical decisions. Students more likely to suggest unlawful and inappropriate solutions to the ethical dilemma were also more likely to disclose engagement in copying information and colluding with other students.

Perhaps somewhat charitably, the authors say, ‘These findings imply that students engaging in academic dishonesty may be using different ethical frameworks’, and that ‘employing ethical dilemmas would likely create a useful learning framework for identifying students employing dishonest strategies when coping with their studies. Increasing understanding through dialogue about engagement in academic honesty will likely construct positive learning outcomes in the university with implications for future practice.’

Steven Mintz Has Written a Textbook

The Ethics Sage
The Ethics Sage

Steven Mintz Has Written a Textbook

My friend, Steven Mintz, has a new textbook. Below is a segment of the review. Please share my pleasure at the accomplishments of a colleague.

James Pilant

Steve Mintz Accounting Ethics Textbook Reviewed – Ethics Sage

From a review by W. Steve Albrecht in the Journal of Business Ethics, March 2014

One of the book’s great strengths is its excellent cases. The first seven chapters include 10 cases each, many of them famous ethical cases where accountants, executives, and corporate directors have been sued or held liable for their decisions and actions. I have personally been an expert witness in several of the cases covered in the book and so I studied the authors’ treatment of these cases in detail. Their write-ups were always accurate, presented in an interesting manner and provided great references for further study by students. The accuracy of the cases led me to follow up on several of the references cited in the chapters which I also found helpful. My conclusion after reading the book, examining in detail some of the cases and reading the 20 discussion questions per chapter was that this book would work equally well as a stand-alone ethics text or as an excellent supplement in auditing, corporate governance, financial reporting, or other business and accounting classes.

via Steve Mintz Accounting Ethics Textbook Reviewed – Ethics Sage.

From around the web.

From the web site, Cal Poly.

Dr. Mintz enjoys an international reputation for research and teaching ethics in business and accounting. He has published two textbooks the most recent publication is Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in Accounting: Text and Cases. Dr. Mintz has published dozens of research papers in the areas of business ethics, accounting ethics, corporate governance and international accounting. Dr. Mintz teaches courses on accounting ethics and international accounting.

Dr. Mintz develops ethics training programs for organizations. He also develops and teaches continuing education courses in ethics for CPAs. His courses are used in twenty-states to meet their continuing education requirements for re-licensing.

Dr. Mintz is a widely sought out speaker at ethics and academic conferences. He has presented at: The Board of Director and Corporate Governance Research Conference in Henley, England; Global Finance & Research Conference in London; The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Trinidad & Tobago; Association of Asian-Pacific Accountants in Bangkok, Thailand; and the Asian International Business Association in Shanghai, China.

Dr. Mintz writes two popular blogs on ethics issues in business and society ( and workplace ethics (workplaceethicsadvice). He has been interviewed by the NY Times for his expertise on workplace ethics.