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Prepared by L. Murphy Smith Professor of Accounting Texas A&M University
For permission to use or adapt this presentation, please contact Dr. Smith, Lmsmith@tamu.edu
Ethics: What’s the Fuss?
When evaluating one’s goals and objectives, a vital question must be asked: What is your highest aspiration? A. Wealth B. Fame C. Knowledge D. Popularity E. Integrity
. Such situations will inevitably occur in every person’s life. then it is subject to sacrifice in situations where a choice must be made.If integrity is second to any of the alternatives.
American Accounting Association President G.Why talk about ethics? Why talk about ethics? In the aftermath of major corporate failures and questionable accounting practices. what has long been a mainstay of accountants’ reputation . educators need to increasingly emphasize the value of integrity. Peter Wilson said that in the classroom.
cheating in college is for a career. “Students say cheating in high school is for grades.” .In a recent Wall Street Journal article. Psychology professor Steven Davis says that cheating by high school students has increased from about 20 percent in the 1940’s to 75 percent today.
If students lack ethics in high school and college. Dennis Levine.” . in a Fortune magazine article wrote: “I have painful memories of Sarah learning to walk in a prison visiting room. then there should be little surprise that they lack ethics in their careers. Convicted inside trader. and of Adam pleading with a guard who wouldn’t let him bring in a Mickey Mouse coloring book. Greed and over-reaching ambition often end in disastrous personal consequences.
faculty and staff have a responsibility for creating an academic environment that promotes honest academic inquiry and teaches students ethical behavior in the process.Many institutions of higher education have instituted policies regarding ethics education.” . For example. the Faculty Handbook of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University includes the following statement: “Therefore.
Which do you think is the harder part: Line 1 or Line 2? Why? .S.Educational Institutions have established ethics codes for their students. e. Steal Or Cheat.g. Nor Tolerate Among Us Anyone Who Does" -. the U. Air Force Academy: "We Will Not Lie.
What do profs think? In a survey of college faculty.g.) Note: Scores are based on a scale from 1: Strongly Disagree to 5: Strongly Agree 4. moral and religious foundations of society.11 . The basis for ethics and personal integrity should be discussed (e. 187 professors responded to several statements about teaching ethics: 1. 4. etc. The importance of ethics and personal integrity should be stressed in the courses I teach. benefit to society as a whole.75 2.
. members should exercise sensitive professional and moral judgments in all their activities. Principles Article I: In carrying out their responsibilities as professionals.American Institute of CPAs Code of Professional Conduct.
” .Is there an ethics crisis in America? One recent national election day poll indicated that 56 percent of voters thought that America’s problems are “primarily moral and social.” Only 36 percent thought that the nation’s problems were “primarily economic.
” . “To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.Can ethics be taught? Teddy Roosevelt said.
” Students unthinkingly embrace a blind tolerance in which they consider it “moral” never to think they are right because that mean someone else is wrong.In his best-seller. The Closing of the American Mind. you’re okay. Allan Bloom says that the eternal conflict between good and evil has been replaced with “I’m okay. .
to dependency. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith. to abundance.000 years earlier: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government… The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. to apathy. to selfishness. to complacency.” . to great courage. and back again to bondage.More than 200 years ago. Professor Alexander Tyler wrote of the Athenian Republic. which had fallen 2.
” --Professor C. To help reclaim our destiny as human beings and citizens. Kesler .R. we would do well to turn not only to the great books. at least from the moral and political point of view: the founders of the American Republic.“In the quest for educational reform. but the great exemplars of wisdom with which our country is blessed. we need to rediscover the generation that really can claim to be the best and the brightest in American history.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God. to obey His will. George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 . to be grateful for His benefits. and humbly to implore His protection and favor.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity. 1796 . September 17. George Washington’s Farewell Address. religion and morality are indispensable supports… Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in the exclusion of religious principle.
Ethics is essential to the functioning of a free society: 2nd U.” . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.S. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. President John Adams observed: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.
Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. that His justice cannot sleep forever.“God who gave us life gave us liberty.” Thomas Jefferson .
S. that all men are created equal. liberty and the pursuit of happiness.U. Declaration of Independence The second paragraph of America's founding document states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident. that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." . that among these are life.
Where Do We Start? Upon What Can We Agree? .
a study of history and literature. . or personal experience and observation: We can all agree upon some basic values.Whether we derive a code of ethics from religious beliefs.
however.” . James Brackner stated: The universities are responding with an increased emphasis on ethical training for decision making. they ignore the teaching of values. For the most part.In an issue of Management Accounting. For moral or ethical education to have meaning there must be agreement on the values that are considered “right.
Be sure you are right. Davy Crockett 1786-1836 . then go ahead.
Against the Night .A nation or a culture cannot endure for long unless it is undergirded by common values such as valor. respect for others and for the law. Chuck Colson. It cannot stand unless it is populated by people who will act on the motives superior to their own immediate interest. public spiritedness.
When the situation needs improvement.” . Gandhi offers guidance: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
” . describes the “Ten Universal Values: “Honesty. pursuit of excellence. responsible citizenship. in Chapter 1 of Ethical Issues in the Practice of Accounting. fairness. fidelity. integrity.Michael Josephson. and accountability. respect for others. caring. promise keeping.
but also moral guidance based on the essentials of the Western tradition. it was commonly accepted that universities were to provide students not only with knowledge and skills.“Until about 50 years ago.” Business Prof Geoffrey Lantos .
they must be taught those values and not be left to acquire them by chance. The Death of Ethics in America .If we want to produce people who share the values of a democratic culture. Cal Thomas.
Can you make a difference? .
” Abraham Lincoln Do you think this relates to line 2 of the U.S.F. Academy Code of Honor? .A.“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
” (Confucius) .“To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.
Margaret Chase Smith. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. Congress . first woman elected to both houses of the U.S.’ .‘The right way is not always the popular and easy way.
be without strategy.” General H. Norman Schwarzkopf .“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one.
Japanese proverb .The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.
distinguished entrepreneur. to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Truett Cathy." The truth is that fame and fortune are nothing compared to personal honor. . the Founder of Chick-Fil-A.At a Congressional Hearing on Accounting and Business Ethics. quoted Solomon– "A good name is more desirable than great riches.
President Lincoln said: Honor is better than honors. .
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