CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Student
Institutional Affiliation


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Corporate governance is an imperative aspect of the day to day running of an organization. It is a set of rules, practices, and processes which ensure that the organization is management in the best possible manner. It is a procedure which aids a firm to balance the interests of stakeholders, customers, employees, government and the financiers in such a way that every one of them will feel satisfied and motivated to carry out their daily activities. With an efficient corporate governance framework in place, the objectives of an organization will be easily achieved and the plans of the company made successful. However, there have been challenges that are related to the gender equality and the effective running of the organizations in the current decade. These factors have led to various agencies trying their best to enable equity in gender. Part one of this report focuses on gender diversity as part of sound corporate governance in relation to the Australian firms.


Part One
Gender Diversity

Introduction


Gender diversity is the way in which different gender is represented in various setting. In the workplace, gender diversity primarily is how people of different gender are represented in various levels of the organization. Whether gender diversity in Australian organizations works to the best interest of stakeholders, customers, employees as well as fulfilling the constitutional demands set by the government is an entirely different opinion which has drawn a broad discussion from various parties. The current gender composition of the various boards will be reviewed in light to the changing social trends and how this imbalance is likely to impact the performance of organizations in the country. From time immemorial, boardrooms have been male dominated. However, a different shift in the landscape of governance and gender equity, in general, has shifted belief of the society towards effective management. It is now argued by many that diversity in the boardroom is a tool which strengthens corporate governance in organization therefore bringing into horizon different arguments on whether corporate this belief is true or not (Shleifer & Vishny 2009).This paper seeks to establish the existence of a relationship between gender inclusiveness and diversity and the overall performance of the sampled firms in Australia.

Basing on various studies that have been conducted, there is evidence that various factors which contribute to the efficiency of an organization. One of the major factors which have been advocated by many as a paramount tool for the realization of an upward surge in progress is inclusiveness. Gender for instance in the current decade plays a significant role in many sectors of the economy which call for special strategies to be put in place to address issues related to gender and management. According to a study conducted by Jackson (2011) in a series of firms in Australia, there is proof that diversity has an impact on the performance of the corporate. The study confirmed that there is an existent an active link between women on board and economic growth. In light to this, women on board have an ability to approach stakeholders and customers in a more appealing manner more than their male counterparts can do. This therefore shows the need for people from different gender to be involved in decision making of a firm. There has however been a trend where male executive board members in different organizations have been involved in gender-related stereotyping or bias on an input made by women towards the management of firms (Campbell & Mínguez 2008). The imbalance created by this effect has affected decision-making in the organization and led to apparent marginalization in the eyes of the employees as well as the human rights and gender activists who are always calling for a constitutional approach to this issue.

A culture of competition among people of different gender generates a winner psyche to different individuals in the organization. This applies to the people of different gender too. A study by Powell (2006) for example indicates that hiring demographically balanced workforce is likely to improve the financial capability of an organization. Gender diverse boardroom, on the other hand, is more apt to produce management ideas which are right for the organization and can propel it to a much greater height regarding financial generation. The main reason behind this is the difference in viewpoints of male and female in management styles. Moreover, diversity of the workforce leads to increase in diverse customer base; this is due to the engaged workforce and competition that the company gains from this phenomena. It is therefore through gender inclusion that diverse organizations are likely to outperform the less engaged and least gender inclusive organizations (Powell 2006). Boardrooms with different gender, on the other hand, are likely to make more sound decisions than the one with only one gender. It is, therefore, important for the organizations to adopt an all-inclusive culture within the organization to be able to feel this impact and experience a more welcoming business environment and sound governance.

Recommendations

The research carried out indicates that there are various important aspects of the firms that are promoted by the diverse organizations. Given this, the following recommendations towards various actions which should be taken to ensure that corporate benefits from this are made:

  • One of the major steps which should be taken is the adoption of constitutional and corporate policies which will put aside a certain amount of slots for women on the board. This is a measure against the marginalization of women which has been experienced by the Australian firms for decades. 30 percent of the total available management positions, for example, should be reserved for women as a way of encouraging their participation in crucial decision-making of the organization. 
  • A healthy competition among people of different gender, on the other hand, should also be encouraged. It is one of the ways which ensures that all board members feel accommodated by the others. 
  • Moreover, the mindset of the community towards women should be changed. This however may prove hard but can only be achieved through educating people within the organization on the importance of women in the organization. The work of women in the community has been seen as associated with looking after children a thought whose time has passed and needs to be discouraged.
  • With these measures, the organizations within the country are likely to improve regarding management and all have a sense of belonging. 


Part Two
Whistleblowing

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Whistleblowing is an act of raising concern over perceived wrongdoing or malpractice within an organization by other employees or the managers on matters of public interest. It is mainly making of disclosures which are of public benefit by members of an organization. There are broad issues which are associated with this topic, for an effective corporate governance to be realized, policies should be formulated to protect people who report misconduct in a company. This topic has been trending over the recent years with many wrongs being exposed. Some of the main issues which have been reported by whistleblowers are financial mismanagement, social injustices among others. Despite the importance of whistleblowers to the community and the organizations, in particular, there have been instances where some of the people who try to expose wrongdoing have been mistreated and some even killed in the process. Another challenge is the misuse of the right to expose wrongdoers by various individuals to suit their needs. This paper focuses on whistleblowing and policies which should be put in place to tackle issues related to it by focusing on Australia. 


Whistleblower policies
Introduction

Employees who discover perceived wrongdoing within an organization are often faced with a dilemma on whether to report the act or not. Most of the potential whistleblowers are often forced to drop the idea of the reporting the perpetrators for fear of losing their jobs, getting transferred to undesirable locations or even getting physically assaulted by the suspects. Some of the problems that whistleblowers undergo also include victimization, harassments and even being put on limelight as incompetent and their mental health being affected in the process. Due to the challenges that these people face, various measures have been put in place to protect them and avoid them suffering as a result. Many organizations, for example, are now adopting different strategies which are aimed towards protecting the privacy of the whistleblowers through hiding their privacy. This report’s focus mainly lies on the measures should be implemented to ensure adequate protection of the whistleblowers from possible harm ( Malin 2012).

While there are a lot of concerns by the whistleblowers on the state of their well-being and the challenges they might encounter after reporting has been done, it is equally important for them to have an understanding of the positive impact reporting can provide to the organization and effective corporate governance. According to a survey conducted by Griffith University majority of Australians appreciate the role of whistleblowing to the growth and efficient management of firms in the country. However, most of the individuals who took part in the survey feel that the policies which are currently in place do not offer adequate protection to them and therefore there is a need for new measures to be put in place to ensure their safety ( Latimer & Brown 2008). This research is a reflection of how many individuals in the country are feeling about policies that organization has put in place to counter such vices and promote transparency in the way in which activities are carried out.

Current constitutional amendments in the country have seen a vast improvement towards achieving protection for whistleblowers. Part 9.4 of the Corporations Act of 2001for instance is a constitutional provision which ensures that the government authorities protect whistleblowers from consequences of whistleblowing (Shleifer & Vishny 2009). However, the availability of this act does not guarantee complete protection. This gap, however, was filled in 2013 by the new Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 which covers the reports disclosed by the whistleblowers. Despite these Acts being put in place to gather for the disclosed information by the whistleblowers, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done about this. Organizations, for instance, need to put in place more measures which are targeted at protecting individuals who provide information which helps in promoting responsibility and transparency. In comparison with other countries, the Australian protection policies set by either the government or local firms are still immature, and work needs to be done to keep them safe.

With the importance of encouraging disclosure in organizations, there’s need for them to create a framework in which individuals are courageous enough to reveal useful information on malpractices taking place within an organization. Some of these procedures are those that advocate for anonymity of the person reporting an occurrence and protection from harm in case they are known. The current provisions have seen the increase in the number of cases brought to the tribunal dealing with issues related to unlawful activities in the organization according to reports by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (Farrar 2006). This spells out the urgency that is required in handling these issues at the local level which can only be done through the development of sound mechanisms and procedures.

For an effective whistleblowing program to be developed, there are some factors which should be included. A perfect program, for example, should include a training program to allow people stay conversant with the current trends and the correct procedure of approaching wrongdoings within an organization. The program additionally should be followed by a broad investigation which ensures that justice has been delivered to the affected parties. Moreover, reports submitted should be treated with utmost professionals to make sure that it does not fall into the public domain before the investigation has been completed (Eaton &Akers 2007).

Recommendation

  • Organizations should define clear policies which can tackle misbehavior within firms. These strategies should encourage disclosure of negative practices in places of work and positively respond to them. The response can be done through thorough investigation on the reported malpractices and take stern measures against the perpetrators. 
  • The whistleblowers should be protected by these laws to the latter. People responsible for running the government and private bodies should encourage internal whistleblowing as a way of discouraging vices which result from poor work ethics and unprofessionalism. It is through this that positive growth of different institutions will be realized, and the vices curbed significantly. 
  • The framework should also be able to reward whistleblowers after investigations have been done, and the perpetrators brought to justice. 

References

Adams, R.B. and Ferreira, D., (2007). Gender diversity in the boardroom. European Corporate Governance Institute, Finance Working paper, 57, p.30.
Campbell, K. and Mínguez-Vera, A., (2008). Gender diversity in the boardroom and firm financial performance. Journal of business ethics, 83(3), pp.435-451.
Eaton, T.V. and Akers, M.D., (2007). Whistleblowing and good governance. The CPA journal, 77(6), p.66.
Farrar, J. H. (2006). Corporate governance in Australia and New Zealand. South Melbourne, Vic, Oxford University Press.
Jackson, S. E. (2011). Diversity in the workplace: human resources initiatives. New York, Guilford Press.
Latimer, P. and Brown, A.J., (2008). Whistleblower laws: International best practice. UNSWLJ, 31, p.766.
Malin, M.H., (2012). Protecting the Whistleblower from Retaliatory Discharge. U. Mich. jL Reform, 16, p.277.
Powell, G. N. (2006). Gender and diversity in the workplace: learning activities and exercises. Thousand Oaks, Calif, Sage Publications.
Shleifer, A. and Vishny, R.W., (2009). A survey of corporate governance. The journal of finance, 52(2), pp.737-783.