. This paper examines the association between long-term compensation and corporate social responsibility for 90 publicly traded Canadian firms. Social responsibility is considered to include concerns for social factors and the environment, 564-578; Kane, E. J., 341-359). Long-term compensation attempts to focus executives efforts on optimizing the longer term, which should direct their attention to factors traditionally associated with socially responsible executives. As hypothesized, we found a significant relationship between the long-term compensation and total CSR weakness as well as the (...) product/environmental weakness dimension of CSR. In addition, we found a marginally significant relationship between long-term compensation and total corporate responsibility. Our findings are that executives long-term compensation is associated with a firms environmental actions, and that firms that utilize long-term compensation are more likely to mitigate product/environment weaknesses than those that do not. Implications for practice and research are discussed. (shrink)
Previous accounting ethics research berates auditors for ethical lapses that contribute to the failure of Andersen (e.g., Duska, R.: 2005, Journal of Business Ethics 57, 17–29; Staubus, G.: 2005, Journal of Business Ethics 57, 5–15; however, some of the blame must also fall on regulatory and professional bodies that exist to mitigate auditors’ ethical lapses. In this paper, we consider the ethical and economic context that existed and facilitated Andersen’s failure. Our analysis is grounded in Akerlof’s (1970, Quarterly Journal of (...) Economics August, 488–500) Theory of the Market for Lemons and we characterize the market for audit reports as a market for lemons. Consistent with Akerlof’s model, we consider the appropriateness of the countervailing mechanisms that existed at the time of Andersen’s demise that appeared to have effectively failed in counteracting Andersen’s ethical shortcomings. Finally, we assess the appropriateness of the remedies proposed by the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (SOA) to ensure that similar ethical lapses will not occur in the future. Our analysis indicates that the SOA regulatory reforms should counteract some of the necessary conditions of the Lemons Model, and thereby mitigate the likelihood of audit failures. However, we contend that the effectiveness of the SOA critically depends upon the focus and attention of the␣Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) towards assessing the ethical climates of public accounting firms. Assessments by the PCAOB of public accounting firm’s ethical climate are needed to sufficiently ensure that public accounting firms effectively promote and maintain audit quality in situations where unconscious bias or economic incentives may erode the public accounting firm’s independence. (shrink)
Early versions of satellite and radiosonde datasets suggested that the tropical surface had warmed more than the troposphere, while climate models consistently showed tropospheric amplification of surface warming in response to human-caused increases in greenhouse gases. We revisit such comparisons here using new observational estimates of surface and tropospheric temperature changes. We find that there is no longer a serious discrepancy between modeled and observed trends in the tropics. Our results contradict a recent claim that all simulated temperature trends in (...) the tropical troposphere are inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on the use of older radiosonde and satellite datasets and on two methodological errors: the neglect of observational trend uncertainties introduced by interannual climate variability and application of an inappropriate statistical “consistency test”.This emerging reconciliation of models and observations has two primary explanations. First, because of changes in the treatment of buoy and satellite information, new surface temperature datasets yield slightly reduced tropical warming relative to earlier versions. Second, recently developed satellite and radiosonde datasets now show larger warming of the tropical lower troposphere. In the case of a new satellite dataset from remote sensing systems, enhancedRSS warming is due to an improved procedure of adjusting for inter-satellite biases. When the RSS-derived tropospheric temperature trend is compared with four different observed estimates of surface temperature change, the surface warming is invariably amplified in the tropical troposphere, consistent with model results. Even if we use data from a second satellite dataset with smaller tropospheric warming than in remote sensing systems RSS, observed tropical lapse rates are not significantly different from those in all model simulations.Our results contradict a recent claim that all simulated temperature trends in the tropical troposphere and in tropical lapse rates are inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on the use of older radiosonde and satellite datasets and on two methodological errors: the neglect of observational trend uncertainties introduced by interannual climate variability and application of an inappropriate statistical “consistency test”. (shrink)
We explore the extent to which Boards use executive compensation to incite firms to act in accordance with social and environmental objectives (e.g., Johnson, R. and D. Greening: 1999, Academy of Management Journal 42(5), 564-578; Kane, E. J.: 2002, Journal of Banking and Finance 26, 1919-1933.). We examine the association between executive compensation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) for 77 Canadian firms using three key components of executives' compensation structure: salary, bonus, and stock options. Similar to prior research (McGuire, J., (...) S. Dow and K. Argheyd: 2003, Journal of Business Ethics 45(4), 341-359), we measure three different aspects of CSR, which include Total CSR as well as CSR Strengths and CSR Weaknesses. CSR Strengths and CSR Weaknesses capture the positive and negative aspects of CSR, respectively. We find significant positive relationships between: (1) Salary and CSR Weaknesses, (2) Bonus and CSR Strengths, (3) Stock Options and Total CSR; and (4) Stock Options and CSR Strengths. Our findings suggest the importance of the structure of executive compensation in encouraging socially responsible actions, particularly for larger Canadian firms. This in turn suggests that executive compensation can be an effective tool in aligning executives' welfare with that of the "common good", which results in more socially responsible firms (Bebchuk, L., J. Fried and D. Walker: 2002, The University of Chicago Law Review 69, 751-846; Zalewski, D.: 2003, Journal of Economic Issues 37(2), 503-509). In addition, our findings suggest the importance of institutional context in influencing the association between executive compensation and CSR. Further implications for practice and research are discussed. (shrink)
Meta-induction, in its various forms, is an imitative prediction method, where the prediction methods and the predictions of other agents are imitated to the extent that those methods or agents have proven successful in the past. In past work, Schurz demonstrated the optimality of meta-induction as a method for predicting unknown events and quantities. However, much recent discussion, along with formal and empirical work, on the Wisdom of Crowds has extolled the virtue of diverse and independent judgment as essential to (...) maintenance of 'wise crowds'. This suggests that meta-inductive prediction methods could undermine the wisdom of the crowd inasmuch these methods recommend that agents imitate the predictions of other agents. In this article, we evaluate meta-inductive methods with a focus on the impact on a group's performance that may result from including meta-inductivists among its members. In addition to considering cases of global accessibility (i.e., cases where the judgments of all members of the group are available to all of the group's members), we consider cases where agents only have access to the judgments of other agents within their own local neighborhoods. (shrink)
The applicability of Bayesian conditionalization in setting one’s posterior probability for a proposition, α, is limited to cases where the value of a corresponding prior probability, PPRI(α|∧E), is available, where ∧E represents one’s complete body of evidence. In order to extend probability updating to cases where the prior probabilities needed for Bayesian conditionalization are unavailable, I introduce an inference schema, defeasible conditionalization, which allows one to update one’s personal probability in a proposition by conditioning on a proposition that represents a (...) proper subset of one’s complete body of evidence. While defeasible conditionalization has wider applicability than standard Bayesian conditionalization (since it may be used when the value of a relevant prior probability, PPRI(α|∧E), is unavailable), there are circumstances under which some instances of defeasible conditionalization are unreasonable. To address this difficulty, I outline the conditions under which instances of defeasible conditionalization are defeated. To conclude the article, I suggest that the prescriptions of direct inference and statistical induction can be encoded within the proposed system of probability updating, by the selection of intuitively reasonable prior probabilities. (shrink)
This study introduces Moscovici’s (1976, 1985) model of social influence to the accounting research domain, and uses an experimentto assess whether his theory explains how different types of discussion affects consensus in auditors’ ethical reasoning. Moscovici’s theory proposes three modalities of influence to describe how consensus is achieved following discussion: conformity, innovation, and normalization. Conformity describes the situation where individuals in the minority (e.g., auditors that do not accept the dominant view) accede to the majority (e.g., auditors that hold the (...) dominant view) as a result of group discussion. Innovation describes the situation where individuals in the majority accede to the minority. Normalization describes the situation where there is reciprocal influence.We find that conformity occurs when auditors are asked to prescriptively discuss what ideally “should” be the resolution to an ethicaldilemma. Normalization occurs when auditors are asked to deliberatively discuss what realistically would be the resolution to an ethical dilemma. The results of this study suggest that prescriptive discussion of an ethical dilemma encourages auditor groups to strive to find the best response to a moral dilemma if it is represented by the majority view. In contrast, deliberative discussion of an ethical dilemma may encourage the elimination of multiple viewpoints. The results of this study have important implications for understanding the social influence process that affects auditors’ ethical reasoning. (shrink)
Hospitals in many countries have had clinical ethics committees for over 20 years. Despite this, there has been little research to evaluate these committees and growing evidence that they are underutilized. To address this gap, we investigated the question ‘What are the barriers and facilitators nurses and physicians perceive in consulting their hospital ethics committee?’ Thirty-four nurses, 10 nurse managers and 31 physicians working at four Canadian hospitals were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide as part of a larger investigation. (...) We used content analysis of the interview data related to barriers and facilitators to use of hospital ethics committees to identify nine categories of barriers and nine categories of facilitators. These categories as well as their subcategories are discussed and those specific to nurses or physicians are identified. The need to increase health professionals' use of clinical ethics committees through reducing barriers and maximizing facilitators is discussed. (shrink)
The Casimir force between two neutral metallic plates is often considered conclusive evidence for the reality of electromagnetic zero-point fluctuations in ‘empty space’. However, it is not well known that the Casimir force can be derived from many different points of view. The purpose of this note is to supply a conceptually oriented introduction to a representative set of these different interpretations. The different accounts suggest that the Casimir effect reveals nothing conclusive about the nature of the vacuum.
The dominant, individualistic understanding of autonomy that features in clinical practice and research is underpinned by the idea that people are, in their ideal form, independent, self-interested and rational gain-maximising decision-makers. In recent decades, this paradigm has been challenged from various disciplinary and intellectual directions. Proponents of ‘relational autonomy’ in particular have argued that people’s identities, needs, interests – and indeed autonomy – are always also shaped by their relations to others. Yet, despite the pronounced and nuanced critique directed at (...) an individualistic understanding of autonomy, this critique has had very little effect on ethical and legal instruments in clinical practice and research so far. In this article, we use four case studies to explore to what extent, if at all, relational autonomy can provide solutions to ethical and practical problems in clinical practice and research. We conclude that certain forms of relational autonomy can have a tangibl... (shrink)
A collection of articles by distinguished scholars from a variety of disciplines providing a postmodern perspective on the ethical and political issues raised by the classical figure of Antigone, a woman who questions the role of the patriarchal state.
The cosmological constant problem arises at the intersection between general relativity and quantum field theory, and is regarded as a fundamental problem in modern physics. In this paper, we describe the historical and conceptual origin of the cosmological constant problem which is intimately connected to the vacuum concept in quantum field theory. We critically discuss how the problem rests on the notion of physically real vacuum energy, and which relations between general relativity and quantum field theory are assumed in order (...) to make the problem well-defined. (shrink)
The study ascertained (1) whether an observer's scope of justice with reference to either the moral agent or the target person of a moral act, would affect his/her judgements of the ethicality of the act, and (2) whether observer judgements of ethicality parallel the moral agent's decision processes in systematically evaluating the intensity of the moral issue. A scenario approach was used. Results affirmed both research questions. Discussions covered the implications of the findings for the underlying cognitive processes of moral (...) judgements, for the link between judgements of fairness and ethicality, as well as for the debate of ethical absolutism versus relativism. (shrink)