Ethics Starts At The Top

I was disappointed in the cynical tone of "Ethics for hire" (News: Analysis & Commentary, July 15). While I agree that some corporations reactively seek a "quick fix" in response to costly ethics blunders, your article ignores thousands of businesses, often small or midsize, that proactively instill ethics into the decision-making process or nurture ethical behavior among employees.

Values such as integrity and honesty must be supported by company leaders and reinforced through the organization's reward systems.

James Weber

A.J. Palumbo School of

Business Administration

Duquesne University

Pittsburgh

Unless employees believe that those with decision-making authority "walk the walk" as well as "talk the talk" of ethics, even the best ethics policies will be difficult to integrate into the culture of the organization.

Steven M. Mintz

School of Business &

Public Administration

California State University

San Bernardino, Calif.

Companies wanting a truly independent investigation of internal wrongdoing with a level of credibility that the authors of "Ethics for hire" find lacking should hire an Independent Private Sector Inspector General (IPSIG). The brainchild of a group of public officials, attorneys, forensic accountants, and private investigators in the New York City area, the IPSIG is a multidisciplinary team that provides investigative, legal, auditing, monitoring, and loss-prevention services.

It reports its findings not only to the company but simultaneously to an independent entity, such as a government agency or special committee of outside directors. A strict code of ethics governing the work of IPSIGs guards against conflicts of interest and other integrity lapses that might interfere with a genuinely independent investigation.

Neil V. Getnick

President

International Association

of Independent Private

Sector Inspectors General

New York

Things that are legal are not necessarily ethical, for the law does not attempt to anticipate all conduct. What Corporate America needs are leaders for whom ethics--a sense of right and wrong, not of what's legal and illegal--is important.

Frank H. Storey

Spokane, Wash