Marcy Murninghan has spent the bulk of her career advocating for a more moral age on Wall Street. Thankfully Marketplace reporter Heidi Moore has shared with its American Public Media show’s audience her lifelong work and unrelenting passion.

Professor Murninghan interviewed former CEO John Whitehead of Goldman Sachs for a book on which she worked. The volume is still in manuscript form, but as I peruse through it, I insist a publisher take on this compelling account of the ways of Wall Street. The timing would be prescient in light of Greg Smith’s farewell letter to Goldman Sachs and the need for companies to take corporate governance issues seriously. At times I let out a sigh as Murninghan recounts how even as far back as 50 years ago, a conscious corporate commitment to ethics was uncommon.

One of the highlights is Murninghan’s talk with Whitehead where he discussed Goldman’s instilling of what it called, aptly, its Business Principles after a 1950s investigation of collusion between Goldman and other financial institutions:

I remember in the next year or two, we had several problems with individual people that were clearly violations of these principles.  Instead of just firing the people because they had done something dishonest or something – I forget the exact circumstances – we tied their departure to violations of the code of conduct instead of to some regulation, and that made a big impression.  They saw that the code was broken and that there was a penalty for it—that this wasn’t just something that would be nice if you did this.  It was something that really had teeth in it.  So that was effective.

In sum, Goldman would fire employees for principles over regulatory violations.

What Prof. Murninghan reminds us is how business has the opportunity to lead and inspire through what she calls an “understanding and enhancing of the moral shadow of business.” Read more of the interview here and take the time to read through the professor’s fine insight. If more businesses would take the insight of both Murninghan, Lucy Marcus and other corporate governance thought leaders, our society would benefit from integrity: not leaving us discouraged from the constant indignation we experience as the result of the corporate shenanigans of the past several years. And yes, businesses would be profitable. After all we want to engage with organizations in whom we trust. Wall Street morality would avert the mortality of faith in our institutions.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.