The quality of corporate disclosures has drawn increasing levels of criticism from Congress and the SEC. A subject of particularly intense scrutiny and action is the Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A). This narrative, intended to provide an inside perspective on the reported results of the firm, is particularly important when attempting to evaluate the investment prospects of the marginal or poorly performing firm. However, managers may restrict the information content of the disclosure, raising potential concerns about ethical behavior. In this (...) study, we employ a proprietary instrument to measure the quality of MD&A disclosures for a sample of firms entering financial distress. We evaluate the disclosure behavior of these firms in an effort to determine whether changes in the disclosure appear to be motivated primarily by economic or ethical concerns. We find, on average, that firms increase disclosure quality in the year of initial distress. However, sustained increases in disclosure quality are limited to firms that subsequently recover from the distress. The results suggest that observed changes in disclosure are driven primarily by economic considerations, rather than ethical ones, especially in good economic times. (shrink)
Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) are widely offered in public accounting as a tool to retain valued professional staff. Previous research has shown that participants in FWAs are perceived to be less likely to succeed in their careers in public accounting than individuals in public accounting who do not participate in FWAs (Cohen and Single, 2001). Research has also documented an increasing backlash against family–friendly policies in the workplace as placing unfair burdens on individuals without children. Building directly on a (...) previous study in this journal (Cohen and Single, 2001), this study addresses the issue of whether the documented perceptions toward FWA participants are the result of electing to take part in the FWA or the result of bias against employees with children. The research questions are addressed in a 3 × 2 experimental setting in which we manipulate FWA participation, along with family status and gender of a hypothetical manager in a public accounting firm. Our findings indicate that FWA participants are viewed as less likely to advance and as less committed than individuals without children or individuals who had children but who were not taking part in a FWA. Male FWA participants are viewed as less likely to succeed than female FWA participants. This effect appears to arise from a perception that FWA participants are willing to make sacrifices in their careers to accommodate family needs and thus may not be as committed to making the sacrifices perceived as necessary to meet the rigorous demands of the public accounting environment. This raises the ethical question of what could be done to change the culture in public accounting to foster a substantive support system for individuals who want to balance a family and a career. (shrink)
Major Philosophers of Jewish Prayer in the Twentieth Century addresses the troubling questions posed by the modern Jewish worshiper, including such obstacles to prayer as the inability to concentrate on the words and meanings of formal liturgy, the paucity of emotional involvement, the lack of theological conviction, the anthropomorphic and particularly the masculine emphasis of prayer nomenclature, and other matters. In assessing these difficultites, Cohen brings to the reader the writings on prayer of some seminal 20th century Jewish theologians. (...) These include Herman Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Avraham Yitzhak, Hoakohen Kook, Mordecai M. Kaplan, R. Arele, Aaron Rote, Elie Munk, Abraham J. Heschel, Jakob J. Petuchowski, Eugene B. Borowitz, and Lawrence A. Hoffman. (shrink)
Two correlational studies tested whether personality differences in empathy and perspective taking differentially relate to disapproval of unethical negotiation strategies, such as lies and bribes. Across both studies, empathy, but not perspective taking, discouraged attacking opponents’ networks, misrepresentation, inappropriate information gathering, and feigning emotions to manipulate opponents. These results suggest that unethical bargaining is more likely to be deterred by empathy than by perspective taking. Study 2 also tested whether individual differences in guilt proneness and shame proneness inhibited the endorsement (...) of unethical bargaining tactics. Guilt proneness predicted disapproval of false promises and misrepresentation. Empathy did not predict disapproval of false promises when guilt proneness was included in the analysis. The comparatively private nature of the sin of false promises suggests that private ethical breaches are more likely to be deterred by anticipated guilt, while ethical breaches with clear interpersonal consequences are more likely to be deterred by empathy. (shrink)
In September 2007, more than 100 philosophers came to Prague with the determination to approach Karl Popper's philosophy as a source of inspiration in many areas of our intellectual endeavor. This volume is a result of that effort.
This paper discusses the relevancy of a contingent factors model posited by Jones for conducting accounting ethics research. Using a sample of 37 experienced Australian auditing managers and partners of all of the ‘Big Four’ multinational accounting firms, we find that the contextual model developed by Jones can help guide accounting ethics research by isolating the contingent factors that affect ethical decision making. Moreover, we examine how the factors differ across different accounting settings. Implications for accounting ethics research and accounting (...) practice are then discussed. (shrink)
This study investigates the differences in individuals'' ethical decision making between Canadian university business students and accounting professionals. We examine the differences in three measures known to be important in the ethical decision-making process: ethical awareness, ethical orientation, and intention to perform questionable acts. We tested for differences in these three measures in eight different questionable actions among three groups: students starting business studies, those in their final year of university, and professional accountants.The measures of awareness capture the extent to (...) which respondents felt that a particular action was unethical according to each of several ethical criteria. We found few differences between the two student groups on these measures, suggesting that their education had minimal effect on raising their awareness of the ethical issues in the vignettes. Indeed, overall, the graduating student''s scores were marginally lower than those of the entry-level students. However, the professionals viewed some actions as significantly less ethical than did the graduating students. (shrink)
This paper provides a framework for the examination of cultural and socioeconomic factors that could impede the acceptance and implementation of a profession's international code of conduct. We apply it to the Guidelines on Ethics for Professional Accountants issued by the International Federation of Accountants (1990). To examine the cultural effects, we use Hofstede's (1980a) four work-related values: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, and masculinity. The socioeconomic factors are the level of development of the profession and the availability of economic (...) resources. We evaluate the applicability and relevance of the accounting guideline, and discuss the implications for accounting and other professions. (shrink)
What makes this, the third edition of Nietzsche as Philosopher, count as "expanded" is that Danto has added six short, recent writings on Nietzsche. Three of these—Danto's introduction to the second edition of the Faber translation of Human, All-Too-Human, his review of Hollingdale's translation of Daybreak, and his contribution to Richard Schacht's anthology on On the Genealogy of Morals —have appeared elsewhere and so will not be discussed here. A fourth piece, "A Comment on Nietzsche's Artistic Metaphysics," was apparently newly (...) written for this volume; however, since it focuses exclusively on "On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense"—an early writing not published by Nietzsche himself—it seems a waste of .. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a dramatically expanding area of activity for managers and academics. Consumer demand for responsibly produced and fair trade goods is swelling, resulting in increased demands for CSR activity and information. Assets under professional management and invested with a social responsibility focus have also grown dramatically over the last 10 years. Investors choosing social responsibility investment strategies require access to information not provided through traditional financial statements and analyses. At the same time, a group of mainstream (...) institutional investors has encouraged a movement to incorporate environmental, social, and governance information into equity analysis, and multi-stakeholder groups have supported enhanced business reporting on these issues. The majority of research in this area has been performed on European and Australian firms. We expand on this literature by exploring the CSR disclosure practices of a size-and industry-stratified sample of 50 publicly traded U. S. firms, performing a content analysis on the complete identifiable public information portfolio provided by these firms during 2004. CSR activity was disclosed by most firms in the sample, and was included in nearly half of public disclosures made during that year by the sample firms. Areas of particular emphasis are community matters, health and safety, diversity and human resources (HR) matters, and environmental programs. The primary venues of disclosure are mass media releases such as corporate websites and press releases, followed closely by disclosures contained in mandatory filings. Consistent with prior research, we identify industry effects in terms of content, emphasis, and reporting format choices. Unlike prior research, we can offer only mixed evidence on the existence of a size effect. The disclosure frequency and emphasis is significantly different for the largest one-fifth of the firms, but no identifiable trends are present within the rest of the sample. There are, however, identifiable size effects with respect to reporting format choice. Use of websites is positively related to firm size, while the use of mandatory filings is negatively related to firm size. Finally, and also consistent with prior literature, we document a generally self-laudatory tone in the content of CSR disclosures for the sample firms. (shrink)
Business professions are increasingly faced with the question of how to best monitor the ethical behavior of their members. Conflicts could exist between a profession's desire to self-regulate and its accountability to the public at large. This study examines how members of one profession, public accounting, evaluate the relative effectiveness of various self-regulatory and externally imposed mechanisms for promoting a climate of high ethical behavior. Specifically, the roles of independent public accountants, regulatory and rule setting agencies, and undergraduate accounting education (...) are investigated. Of 461 possible respondents, 230 questionnaires (a 49.6% response rate) indicated that the profession's own rule setting body (The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and the use of peer review were perceived as the most effective mechanisms, while government regulation was ranked least. Respondents also evaluated the extent to which ethics should be covered in the accounting curriculum. For every course, the CPAs believed a greater emphasis on ethics is appropriate than presently exists. Suggestions for more effectively integrating ethics into accounting courses are made. Finally, respondents were also asked whether in answering the questionnaire they used a definition of ethics as either the Professional Code of Conduct or a moral and philosphical framework for guiding beliefs. Those who viewed ethics as abiding by a professional code had more confidence in the mechanisms addressed in this study to aid the public accounting profession's ability to ensure high ethical standards of conduct. Methodological implications of this distinction for future studies in business ethics are discussed. (shrink)
Objective: Ethical guidelines are designed to ensure benefits, protection and respect of participants in clinical research. Clinical trials must now be registered on open-access databases and provide details on ethical considerations. This systematic survey aimed to determine the extent to which recently registered clinical trials report the use of standard of care and post-trial obligations in trial registries, and whether trial characteristics vary according to setting. Methods: We selected global randomized trials registered on http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and http://www.controlled-trials.com. We searched for intervention (...) trials of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis from 9 October 2004, the date of the most recent version of the Helsinki Declaration, to 10 April 2007. Results: We collected data from 312 trials. Fifty-eight percent (58%, 95% CI = 53 to 64) of trial protocols report informed consent. Fifty-eight percent (58%, 95% CI = 53 to 64) of trials report active controls. Almost no trials (1%, 95% CI = 0.5 to 3) mention post-trial provisions. Most trials measure surrogate outcomes. Twenty percent (20%, 95% CI = 16 to 25) of trials measure patient-important outcomes, such as death; and the odds that these outcomes are in a low income country are five times greater than for a developed country (odds ratio (OR) 5.03, 95% CI = 2.70 to 9.35, p = < 0.001). Pharmaceutical companies are involved in 28% (CI = 23 to 33) of trials and measure surrogate outcomes more often than nonpharmaceutical companies (OR 2.45, 95% CI = 1.18 to 5.09, p = 0.31). Conclusion: We found a large discrepancy in the quality of reporting and approaches used in trials in developing settings compared to wealthier settings. (shrink)
Since 1990, the multinational public accounting firms have all adopted flexible work arrangement policies. In part, the firms are doing this to fulfill an ethical obligation in creating an appropriate professional environment for their employees. This study examines the effect of participation in a flexible work arrangement program on an individual''s professional success and anticipated turnover as perceived by the participant''s peers and superiors. Subjects from one Big Five accounting firm read a description of a manager and answered a series (...) of questions about the likelihood of the manager''s promotion to partner, voluntary and involuntary turnover, and desirability on a job. Gender and participation in a flexible work arrangement were manipulated in a 2×2 design. The results indicate that participation in a flexible work arrangement evoked significantly more pessimistic predictions on all of the dimensions. Gender did not have an effect on the likelihood ratings. Follow-up questions about the factors that enhance and hinder individuals career success in each work scenario indicated that the perceived ability to "juggle" and the ability to "pull one''s weight" potentially affects evaluations of what it takes to be a successful professional in the financial services environment. Implications for professional and ethics practice and research are also presented. (shrink)
GEOMETRY AND SEMANTICS: AN EXAMINATION OF PUTNAM'S PHILOSOPHY OF GEOMETRY There are many ways to shed light on how and why our conception of geometry changed during the last two centuries. One fruitful strategy is to relate those ...
For two million years, members of Homo sapiens (and the species from which it emerged) have shaped to their purpose almost everything they found in nature. Yet we are still reproducing by sex. This is a poor method of conceiving human beings, because it surrenders many of the future child’s characteristics to luck. Both parents and children are better off the more parents control their children’s genotypes. The emerging technologies that enable this do not reduce free will and will not (...) eliminate human characteristics (such as certain forms of “mental illness”) that are worth preserving; rather, they will match types of children to parents who can appreciate them. Technological reproduction, not reproduction by sex, should be regarded as truly human. It is the application of the power of thought to human reproduction, and, like the application of that power to external objects and to memes, it will enhance our capacities. (shrink)
I argue that the Bruce Springsteen song “Born to Run” needs to be interpreted in light of---and thus gives evidence of a connection between---the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Buber. Along the way I give an in-depth reading of the Nietzschean doctrines of Eternal Recurrence and Overman as they emerge from Also Sprach Zarathustra, as well as a brief overview of Buber’s I and Thou.
Mental states differ from most other entities in the world in having semantic or intentional properties: they have meanings, they are about other things, they have satisfaction- or truth-conditions, they have representational content. Mental states are not the only entities that have intentional properties - so do linguistic expressions, some paintings, and so on; but many follow Grice, 1957 ] in supposing that we could understand the intentional properties of these other entities as derived from the intentional properties of mental (...) states (viz., the mental states of their producers). Of course, accepting this supposition leaves us with a puzzle about how the non-derivative bearers of intentional properties (mental states) could have these properties. In particular, intentional properties seem to some to be especially difficult to reconcile with a robust commitment to ontological naturalism - the view that the natural properties, events, and individuals are the only properties, events, and individuals that exist. Fodor puts this intuition nicely in this oft-quoted passage:
I suppose that sooner or later the physicists will complete the catalogue they've been compiling of the ultimate and irreducible properties of things. When they do, the likes of _spin_, _charm_, and _charge_ will perhaps appear upon their list. But _aboutness_ surely won't; intentionality simply doesn't go that deep.... If aboutness is real, it must be really something else ([ Fodor, 1987 ], 97).
Some philosophers have reacted to this clash by giving up one of the two views generating the tension. For example, Churchland, 1981 ] opts for intentional irrealism in order to save ontological naturalism, while. (shrink)
The classical analysis of relevance in probabilistic terms does not fit legal, moral or conversational relevance, and, though analysis in terms of a psychological model may fit conversational relevance, it certainly does not fit legal, moral or evidential relevance. It is important to notice here that some sentences are ambiguous between conversational and non-conversational relevance. But, if and only ifR is relevant to a questionQ, R is a reason, though not necessarily a complete or conclusive reason, for accepting or rejecting (...) something as an answer toQ. Reasons of this kind are governed by appropriate covering laws or principled probabilities and a number of questions thus arise about the relationship between relevance and certain formal-logical properties. (shrink)
A is for Alice and astronomers arguing about acceleration -- B is for Bernard's body-exchange machine -- C is for the Catholic cannibal -- D is for Maxwell's demon -- E is for evolution (and an embarrassing problem with it) -- F is for the forms lost forever to the prisoners of the cave -- G is for Galileo's gravitational balls -- H is for Hume's shades -- I is for the identity of indiscernibles -- J is for Henri Poincaré (...) and alternative geometries -- K is for the Kritik and Kant's kind of thought experiments -- L is for Lucretius' spear -- M is for Mach's motionless chain -- N is for Newton's bucket -- O is for Olbers' paradox -- P is for Parfit's person -- Q is for the questions raised by thought experiments quotidiennes -- R is for the rule-ruled room -- S is for Salvatius' ship, sailing along its own space-time line -- T is for the time-travelling twins -- U is for the universe, and Einstein's attempts to understand it -- V is for the vexed case of the violinist -- W is for Wittgenstein's beetle -- X is for xenophanes and thinking by examples -- Y is for counterfactuals and a backwards approach to history -- Z is for Zeno and the mysteries of infinity. (shrink)
Recent authors have raised objections to the counterfactual interpretation of the Aharonov-Bergmann-Lebowitz (ABL) rule of time-symmetrised quantum theory (TSQT). I distinguish between two different readings of the ABL rule, counterfactual and non-counterfactual, and confirm that TSQT advocate L. Vaidman is employing the counterfactual reading to which these authors object. Vaidman has responded to the objections by proposing a new kind of time-symmetrised counterfactual, which he has defined in two different ways. It is argued that neither definition succeeds in overcoming the (...) objections, except in a limited special case previously noted by Cohen and Hiley. In addition, a connection is made between TSQT and Price's concept of 'advanced action', which further supports the special case discussed. (shrink)