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Corporate Governance Question
One is a token, two is a presence, three is a voice. Sound familiar? This seems to be the effect of placing women on corporate boards. Although corporate leaders may think otherwise, academic research seems to find this effect again and again.
In Australia, women hold 14.2 per cent of board chairs, 23.6 per cent of directorships, and 15.4 percent of CEO roles. In recent months, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) have called for greater gender diversity in Australian boards.
There was an attempt by senator Nick Xenophon to legislate gender diversity in Australian government boards; however, the bill was later rejected by a government-controlled Senate Committee.
The AICD has set a target of 30 percent female board members and urged S&P / ASX 200 firms to meet the target by the end of 2018’. 9 Reza Monem, “Three women is not a crowd on a company board’, The Australian Financial Review, Friday 22 April 2016, p.35
Assume you have been employed as a corporate governance consultant by a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and ranked within the ASX 200. The Chairman of the company has decided to address the issue of gender diversity on the company’s board to ensure the board meets the AICD target by the end of 2018. As an initial step in the process of increasing the gender diversity of the board the Chairman has employed you to prepare a report that critically analyses and assesses the evidence that gender diversity on a company board is associated with improved business performance and also provide recommendations on how the company should initiate a gender diversity policy for the board. Your report will be tabled at the next board meeting for board members to review and evaluate your recommendations.
Past-2: Case Study
There are many examples in Australia of whistleblowers being retrenched or punished for being brave enough to reveal issues in the public interest.
It is unfortunate but not uncommon for whistleblowers to be forced to take costly actions through the courts or Fair Work Commission after losing their jobs.
The move to uncover best practice in whistleblowing in the private sector is timely given the recent high-profile scandals at Target and CommInsure as well as the allegations of a broken corporate culture which was raised during Labor’s call for a royal commission into financial services. Whistleblowers revealed unethical behaviour at the Westfarmers-owned discount 10 department store Target and at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia subsidiary CommInsure. The Target case involved an unknown person in the accounts department tipping off management about the use of supplier rebates to create about $20 million in additional profits in the half year to December.
Seven people have been sacked following that disclosure and former Target CEO Stuart Machin has left Westfarmers while denying all knowledge of what happened.
In the CommInsure case, chief medical officer Benjamin Koh claimed doctors were pressured to change medical reports, patient’s files were deleted and claims delayed as part of a strategy to avoid policy pay-outs. Koh lost his job for breaching CBA’s IT policy relating to taking client files home. But at this stage it would appear his actions have been vindicated given that CBA chief executive Ian Narev has apologised for what happened’. Tony Boyd ‘ASIC backs whistleblower project’, The Australia Financial Review, Friday 15 April 2016 p.40
Assume you have been employed as a corporate governance consultant by the Australian Shareholders Association (ASA). The ASA is concerned with the risks associated with investments in corporations that do not have a ‘best practice’ whistleblower policy. In order to minimise this risk the ASA wants to know what are the best-practice contemporary standards for whistleblower policies. Your assignment is to prepare a report to be published on the ASA web site recommending best-practice whistleblower policy for adoption by listed companies on the Australian stock exchange.
Corporate Governance Answer
Gender diversity in workplaces has long been a subject of significant interest and research. The key issue is whether to include a number of women on board or not. And, such an issue arises mainly because of the stereotypical beliefs of the society where women are still underestimated and underrepresented even when they are equally performing to men, in respect of their education, qualifications, and work-related activities. The current report presents a consultancy for Select Harvests Limited, which is concerned about the target set by the AICD to include 30 percent, women, onboard in Australian companies. The report helps the company to realize why such a target fulfillment would actually help in improving the organizational performance of the company………….