The AICD has emphasized on female representation in corporate boards. The Australian Institute of Company Directors has joined hands with the Business Council of Australia to enhance this approach in recent times. In Australia, 15.4 percent women hold CEO roles, 14.2 percent of board chairs and 23.6 percent hold directorships. The initial attempt in this regard by Nick Xenophon was rejected by the government controlled Senate Committee. Now the main task of achieving the 30 percent female representation has been put forward by the AICD by the end of 2018 (Mallin, 2007).
The varied aspects related to the topic are being analyzed in the following section:
Principles for empowering women on boards:A decent representation from the female population will ensure gender equality and establish high level corporate leadership.
Increase in female employees benefit teams and groups:Women are more committed towards their roles and responsibilities.
Benefits to organization by female employees:Turnover and absenteeism is comparatively less among the female employees. Hence they contribute in cost reduction to the management.
Measures taken by AICD on Diversity:
To achieve a greater diversity on Australian boards AICD has launched wide ranges of initiatives. These are as follows:
Chairman’s Mentoring program: This approach has included ASX 200 directors and chairs for training and grooming 200 extremely potential female directors. This initiative has been conducted three times so far (Mallin, 2007).
Board Diversity Scholarship Programs: Through this initiative, 280 women were provided governance education. This developmental program is jointly funded by the Australian government with AICD.
Victorian Women’s Governance Scholarship Program: AICD has launched this program and has been supported by the Victorian Coalition Government. The main purpose of this initiative is to provide governance education for women in the non-profit sector in Victoria (Sheikh and Rees, 2006).
Board Diversity Website: A dedicated board diversity website has been developed by AICD that can offer quality research and information. It publishes the actual diversity statistics with relation to ASX 200 female appointees in board.
Directorship Opportunities: Through this measure the female candidates are identified directly for board vacancies. This apart, it has also helped in popularizing on line directorship listing site to ensure access and transparency to all board openings.
Board Ready Program: This is another comprehensive approach, which aims to provide experiential governance education to the extremely capable senior executives. These senior executives mainly report to the main board, or they can also be considered for joint venture or government advisory boards. Apart from these, they can also be thought for non-executive board roles (CULLITON, 2006).
Education events: The educational events are being organized to create awareness about the importance of diversity on boards. Moreover, it also contributes with relation to poor representation of women on boards, the significance of structured and open process for appointing directors, the vitality of developing and adopting a diversity policy to document the progress for reaching greater horizon (Sheikh and Rees, 2006).
rrow’s Boards: This is a book launched by the AICD to establish a positive correlation between improved corporate performance and diversity on boards. This book is also useful in knowing the practical implications for selecting and appointing the best directors. Last but not the least, the book has also documented well the utility of considering diversity as an element of board selection process (Mallin, 2007).
Public Sector Mentoring Program: From the name itself, it is well understood that this initiative is tailor made for women who are willing to work in the public sector.
Why Recommendation needed
There are few recommendation that are required to be made in order to enhance the functioning and governance of AICD, which in turn will help in eliminating the loopholes of the organization. The governance approach of AICD clearly reflects the fact that the employment standard is not at par, as it does not promote equal employment opportunity for the women. As a result of this as well the working ethics is lagging behind and gets effected, which also needs to be developed. It also negatively impacts the brand image. As a result of these factors recommendations are required to be provided in order to deal with these factors and eradicate these mentioned issues in the functioning of AICD.
Recommendation:Quality employees can be attracted and retained if women are given fair chance for selection.
From the above discussion, it can be well said that AICD is keen in increasing the female representation on boards to ensure diversity in work culture. As of now the contribution from the female workforce has been below 25 percent. So a target has been put where the inclusion rate of the women has to be 30 percent by the end of 2018. Different ways through which the women can benefit the business processes have been discussed. Innovation, creativity and exclusivity can only be brought about if decent contribution from the female workforce is being encouraged. The different initiatives that the AICD has adopted have been highlighted to assess and analyze the significance of female representation on corporate boards (Zingales, 2006).
Women can effectively maintain work balance amidst conflicting situations. Moreover, they can also ensure equality in diversity for meeting the desired aims and objectives. Last but not the least, absence of female representation will create an imbalance and will disrupt the normal work flow (Sheikh and Rees, 2006).
A whistle blowing policy is considered to be an indispensable part for smooth functioning of the internal control system. In today’s tough and competitive business scenario whistle blowing policies help in the effectiveness of corporate governance. In this research paper the importance of adopting best practices of whistle blowing policies will be discussed with reference to the malpractices happened at Target and CommInsure in Australia (Mitka, 2012).
At Target, the management was exposed by one of its employees from the accounts department. It resulted in termination of some employees and resignation of the CEO. On the other hand, at CommInsure, the Chief Medical Officer disclosed some unfair means followed by the doctors. In this case also he lost his jobs for not following the company’s policy (Hirschey, John and Makhija, 2007).
From the above two incidents, it is clear that a whistle blowing policy can actually prevent an organization from going into dearth and losing its brand value. Although it can be detrimental to the employees/employee who are/is acting as whistle blowers, but still the importance of adopting such policies cannot be undermined (Sheikh and Rees, 2006).
Australian Shareholders Association acts as the representative of free thinking and independent investors. This entity is highly concerned about the varied risks involved in investments in corporations. Hence, it is looking for the best practices that can be incorporated in the whistle blowing policies to minimize the risks (Hirschey, John and Makhija, 2007).
The whistle blower policy is applicable to deal with corporate frauds with special emphasis on fraudulent financial documents or reports. The corporate cultures which do not focus in detecting minor wrong doings ultimately result in massive failures (Sheikh and Rees, 2006).
In this case study the wrongdoings have been detected and it has made the significance of a strong whistle blowing policy all the more prominent.
In the following section the utility and need of an effective whistle blowing policy has been discussed in detail.
There are number of safeguards provided to whistleblowers in order to protect them under Corporations Act 2001 so that they do not undergo any stressful situation. In order to ensure them emphasis is given on the aspect of disclosure i.e. to whom the disclosure has been made like ASIC. It further states that to the responsible authority only the identity of the individual is supposed to be disclosed. As a result of this, any kind of negative impact on the individual due to the disclosure can be prevented. Other than that, Corporations Act 2001 ensures protection of whistleblower against criminal or civil litigation which also includes breach of contract cases (Mallin, 2007). With the help of defense provided by the act any kind of action due to disclosure of protected information can be restricted. The termination resulting from disclosure of protected information can be replaced by asking to the court to provide back the individual with the previous or other position at a comparative level. In case a whistleblower is victimized due to protected disclosure is also prevented by Corporations Act 2001 by criminalizing such activities and making victimization of whistleblower a criminal offense. According to the legislation in case damages are faced by whistleblower due to disclosure of information, they are entitled for the claim of such damages made by the offender. It is essential to be mentioned here that, in order to protect the misuse of the information provided by the whistleblower and protect their identity, the aspect of confidentiality is emphasized by Corporations Act 2001, wherein disclosure of identify and information provided by whistleblower are only made with specific authorization of law (Asic, 2015). Section 127 of ASIC deals with the issue of disclosure and confidentiality related with the act.
Process of a whistle blowing:
The process of the investigation varies depending upon the nature and type of the misconduct. The main aim of the investigation is to substantiate the reasons for concern. Moreover, it also helps in rectifying the wrong doing to ensure safety from all possible aspects (Zingales, 2006).
Then investigation has to be done following the established principles of the Australian Standard on Whistle Blower Protection Programs. The entire process is being carried in an independent, transparent and precise manner so that the desired aims can be met within a stipulated time period (Heyes and Kapur, 2007).
Communication report and feedback:
The person who prepares the report gets information from the Whistleblower Investigations Officer time to time about the possible outcome and course of the inspection. However, the privacy and confidentiality of the reporter is maintained. Normally the initial feedback is being given within a week after submitting the report. However, further notifications are being given on a fortnightly basis as per the progress of the matter (Solomon and Solomon, 2008).
Protection of the reporter under a whistle blowing:
Here the person who is taking the report can disclose the identity of the reporter to the Whistleblower Protection Officer. Apart from the officer, the identity will be kept confidential. This will help in maintaining safety and security of all documents pertaining to the report. Also, the information received from the reporter is to be kept in strict confidence (Hilb, 2005).
The Whistleblower Protection Officer will take all necessary and effective actions and will take care to see that the reporter does not face any harassment, dismissal, discrimination and demotion. In such case if the reporter is being victimized and if the management fails to resolve the issue, the matter can be escalated to the Chairperson of the Audit and the Risk Committee (Heyes and Kapur, 2007).
Why Recommendation needed
The recommendation is required to improve the prospective of the whistle blower and the security in the course of conducting the job. In addition it also focuses on the audit and risk assessment related with the role of whistle blowing. In case the issue is not resolved then what is the next step. The protection of reporter by the protection officer and improving the time management demand recommendation.
Recommendation:The identity of the reporter should be kept confidential.
From the above discussion it can be said that a whistle blowing policy is capable in maintaining the business process transparent and free from corruption. Various processes have been mentioned for designing a stable and effective policy for whistle blowing to prevent and safeguard the aspect for corporate governance and business ethics. The reporting structure for proper assessment and analysis has been stated so that the entire matter should be known to all supervisory and senior team members. Last but not the least, an effective policy in this regard will help in keeping a check to make the financial reports free from even minor fraud (CULLITON, 2006).
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