The Week In Ethics Blog

Goldman Sachs, Not Criminal, Just "Deceptive and Immoral"

The Week in Ethics

Goldman Sachs, Not Criminal, Just "Deceptive and Immoral"

Monday, August 13, 2012

Update: October 21, 2012, Former Goldman VP Greg Smith was interviewed on 60 Minutes about why he left Goldman seven months ago. For more than two years, Goldman Sachs’ reputation has been under fire for its alleged role in the financial crisis. August 9, 2012, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced it won’t prosecute Goldman […]

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Goldman Sachs’ Investment Facilitated Sex Trafficking: The Ethics of Owning What You Buy

Monday, April 2, 2012

Goldman Sachs finds itself in the very uncomfortable place of having exposed its investment in, one of a myriad of its investments. Backspage is a website accepting prostitution ads that included using under-age teenagers as forced sex slaves. Goldman’s latest negative headlines raise larger issues that apply to any company investing in other businesses. […]

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Goldman Sachs’ 2012 Problem with Culture

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The love-hate relationship with Wall Street is complicated. Great returns on investments are one side; examples of fraud, greed or throwing shareholders or clients “under the bus”  on the other. The global meltdown’s post traumatic stress and after shocks continue; ongoing investigations try to determine blame. A firm’s culture and leadership are critical success factors […]

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The Ethics of Brand Identity at Toyota, Goldman Sachs and BP

Sunday, July 18, 2010

That three global companies at the pinnacle of their industries, considered superstars with all the trappings of success – Toyota and Goldman Sachs heading Fortune’s list of the world’s most admired companies and BP and Goldman heading the most profitable – could put themselves and their stakeholders in harm’s way so dramatically and needlessly, at […]

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Five Ways Goldman Sachs can Earn Back Trust

Monday, May 3, 2010

To those doubting that an investment in ethics has a sizeable business return or that ethical leadership is a legitimate risk mitigation strategy, consider the gargantuan distraction and investment of human and financial capital Goldman Sachs must make as a result of the events of the last two weeks. A recent example, the firm has […]

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Ethics Sold Short at Goldman Sachs

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The good news is that ethics was on the front burner April 27, 2010 when U.S. Senators grilled current and former Goldman Sachs executives about Goldman’s role in the financial crisis. Questions about how Goldman resolves conflicts of interest, handles transparency, whether executives believe the firms’  incentives led to ethical behavior, what Goldman’s code of […]

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Goldman Sachs: The Ethics of Reputation

Monday, April 26, 2010

Update: August 2, 2013, Fabrice Tourre is found liable in the SEC’s charges against him. Update:  March 15, 2012, Calling Goldman Sachs’ culture toxic and still focused on making money over clients’ best interests, Greg Smith– an executive director and head of U.S. equity derivatives in Europe, Middle East and Africa — left the firm […]

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Goldman’s Road Back to Earning Trust, Part II

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Update:  March 15, 2012, Calling Goldman Sachs’ culture toxic and still focused on making money over clients’ best interests, Greg Smith– an executive director and head of U.S. equity derivatives in Europe, Middle East and Africa — left the firm yesterday. His message was that the SEC investigation, Congressional hearings, the firm’s “rigorous self examination” […]

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How Market Basket’s Board Misread Employee Engagement

Saturday, July 26, 2014

In a battle of cousin against cousin, how important is the culture of a family owned business?  Thousands of voices among the 25,000 employees and the customers who shop at the 71 New England locations of Market Basket (a supermarket chain with $4 billion in annual sales) have made clear in their rallies and online […]

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What Murdoch, Corzine, and Strauss-Kahn Have in Common

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Several years ago I heard the expression “self-cleaning oven.” It was applied to situations where someone was causing harm or making a mistake, and the situation was likely to take care of itself, the way a self-cleaning oven intensely burns off the spills inside. While there are limits to that metaphor —  it has some […]

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Making Ethics Real Makes Leadership Real

What is the key to effective leadership? The answer is ethics. However, if this doesn’t seem an easy sell…stay with it. Making ethics real makes leadership real. We’ll look at four ways to bring this home. First, some context. Ethical Failures When ethics isn’t a key driver in an organization, the fallout from ethical lapses […]

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Gillette’s Leadership, the Backlash and Possibility

Gillette released this week a short film “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” Some criticize it as an attack on men; others disagree and see it as inspiring and hopeful. My take is the under two-minute video illustrates another Fortune 500 company’s courage and leadership to try and use the power of its brand […]

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2018 Leadership Lessons

It isn’t just leaders’ abilities and experience that give them confidence. Authentic confidence means leaders realize that as smart as they are, their view or approach might be wrong. And what they do about that either fuels ethical leadership or spawns disaster. A significant cause of leadership failure in 2018, as in the past, was […]

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Gael O’Brien provided excellent counsel that led Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America and me to take the right steps to improve our workplace integrity during a difficult time in the company’s history. Her values-based approach and ability to ask the right questions enable her to contribute effectively to top management in any industry.

Kohei Ikuta
former Vice Chairman, Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America