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CQUniversity: Corporate Governance and Ethics Essay

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Updated: May 10th, 2022

Executive Summary

CQUniversity has developed various policies to facilitate its corporate governance and transparency. This report focuses on two policies of CQUniversity in order to review its corporate governance and ethical practices.

Disability policy shows that the University does not allow any form of unlawful discrimination against members of the staff, students, or relatives friends, and other relations of people with disability. It strives to improve participation and increase accessibility to such people.

CQUniversity also protects people from workplace harassment, bullying, sexual harassment, and unlawful discrimination. The University strives to create a safe workplace and an all-inclusive institution.

CQUniversity has effective corporate governance and transparency systems. In addition, the institution has ensured that every policy has a board or responsible body for accountability purposes.

Introduction

For some decades now, institutions have addressed issues of ethics in many ways. Some have introduced policies and other compliance programs for all stakeholders, boards to address ethics issues, codes of conduct, created value statements, and used laws of the country to enforce some policies.

However, events in some organizations have demonstrated that such efforts have not achieved the desired results as some stakeholders continue to engage in unethical behaviors that lead to scandals and lawsuits. Consequently, organizations face increasing pressure to formulate policies, which enhance corporate governance and ethics (Brink, 2011). These shall enable such organizations to be responsible for stakeholders and society.

Corporate governance entails policies and processes that direct and control institutions (Barrett, 2002). It must reflect the use of resources and accountability for actions. Corporate governance and ethics are complex. The concept increases in complexity as various organizations adopt different approaches to handle their affairs and accountability.

This report looks at corporate governance and ethics at CQUniversity with reference to its discrimination policies based on harassment (bullying), sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination and disability policies.

Stakeholders affected by Disability and Workplace harassment (bullying), sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination Policies

The disability policy at CQUniversity affects many stakeholders. The document applies to all students and staff. It requires all stakeholders to create an inclusive environment where their people treat one another with dignity and benefit from employment and education opportunities (CQUniversity, 2009). In totality, the policy applies to “all CQUniversity students, staff, committees, and the University Council” (CQUniversity, 2009).

The aim of the disability policy is to “eliminate barriers, provide appropriate resources, and create a supportive learning and working environment for students and staff with disabilities without compromising academic or professional merit” (CQUniversity, 2009). The University has recognized the need to educate and inform all staff and students about the importance of creating an inclusive environment without harassment, discrimination, or unfair treatment based on one’s disability.

The workplace harassment (bullying), sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination policy focus on the staff of the University. The policy requires that the actions of its employees do not have negative impacts on other employees or students. Such actions must be consistent with the University’s Code of Conduct (CQUniversity, 2011). The policy focuses on “all members of the CQUniversity community including staff, visitors and contractors engaged in CQUniversity related activity either on University property or off-campus” (CQUniversity, 2011).

Consequently, the University uses Central Queensland University Enterprise Agreement to take action against any stakeholder who has harassed, bullied, sexually harassed, or unlawfully discriminated against another member.

Emerging business ethics issues Disability and workplace harassment (bullying), sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination Policies address

According to the Australian Government, “around one in five working-age Australians have a disability” (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003). In addition, at least one in every five adults experience some form of mental problem every year. Consequently, Australia has developed laws in order to protect the rights of people with disabilities. On this note, CQUniversity has developed its disability policy based on Disability Services Act 2006, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and Workplace Relations Act 1996 among others.

CQUniversity focuses on the discrimination against people with disability. Discrimination involves “unfair treatment of people with disability relatively to people without disabilities” (CQUniversity, 2009). CQUniversity has identified both direct and indirect discrimination against people with disabilities. Some forms of discrimination are “restrictive accessibility of services, educational or employment opportunities or restrictive personnel practices such as employment policies, working conditions” (CQUniversity, 2009). The policy aims to protect people with disabilities from harassment, insults, and humiliation. Further, it extends the policy to protect relatives, friends, and caregivers of people with disabilities.

The policy also advocates for inherent requirements at the workplace and in learning areas. The University considers such provisions essential. Thus, CQUniversity concentrates on conditions or adjustments that can make people with disabilities perform well if the institution makes reasonable adjustments.

CQUniversity also aims to address accommodation or reasonable adjustment for people with disabilities. These are practical and tangible adjustments, that the institution makes in order to cater to people with disabilities in working and learning environments. As a result, CQUniversity meets its obligations to both students and employees with disabilities. However, the University performs such adjustments based on consultation. CQUniversity engages in provisions of reasonable adjustments in terms of “materials in alternative formats, specialized equipment, or modification of premises” (CQUniversity, 2009).

Another area of focus for people with disabilities includes unjustifiable hardship. This happens when CQUniversity is unable to make reasonable adjustments to people with disabilities. However, CQUniversity must consider several factors before adopting this defense method. It must consider the inherent benefits or damages that the person with a disability can experience. It also considers the impacts of such adjustments on a person with a disability. The university also accounts for financial circumstances and the costs of such adjustments.

The workplace harassment (bullying), sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination policy address issues of sexual and workplace harassment and unlawful discrimination. The policy is a response to State and Federal laws concerning workplace ethics. As a result, the policy aims to create a workplace environment that is “safe, respectful, inclusive, and free from harassment, bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination” (CQUniversity, 2011).

The University has delegated the responsibility to all supervisors. Supervisors must ensure that all stakeholders have a safe workplace where they can conduct their activities free from “harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination, and sexual harassment” (CQUniversity, 2011). The University holds all supervisors accountable in case they fail to handle any form of harassment, bullying, or unlawful discrimination. Supervisors usually monitor elements that indicate bullying, harassment, or discrimination. These include high rates of absenteeism, staff attrition, and cultures at the workplace.

Response to a mandatory requirement

CQUniversity formulated these policies as a form of mandatory response to State and Federal laws. For instance, the CQUniversity Disability Policy is a reaction to various laws such as Disability Services Act (2006), Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009, Workplace Relations Act 1996, Disability Standards for Education (2005), and Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991) among others.

Still, the policy on bullying, sexual harassment, workplace harassment, and unlawful discrimination fulfills State and Federal laws. Such laws include Public Sector Ethics Act (1994) Qld, Prevention of Workplace Harassment Code of Practice (2004) Qld, Anti-Discrimination Act (1999) Qld, Sex Discrimination Act (1984), Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999, and Fair Work Act 2009 among other laws.

It is necessary to note that these State and Federal laws are also supporting legislation of these policies.

Voluntary practices

Various policies exist in CQUniversity. However, their effective implementation requires voluntary and proactive approaches in order to ensure compliance. CQUniversity has developed action plans in order to ensure the effective adoption of such policies. This is because such policies have benefits to the institution and all stakeholders, including people with disability. Such initiatives have enhanced the image of CQUniversity and improved service delivery to all members of the institution. Policies have enabled the University to eliminate cases of discrimination based on disability and other differences. The policies have allowed CQUniversity to identify ways in which it can improve its services to students, staff, and other external partners. Consequently, CQUniversity has enhanced accessibility to facilities, premises, and safe work environments. Such the plans for CQUniversity have been able to provide the following:

  • Reduce discrimination, bullying, and harassment
  • Improve services at the University
  • Enhance CQUniversity image
  • Reduce cases of complaints
  • Provide channels for addressing complaints
  • Enhance corporate governance and ethics

CQUniversity policies on discrimination, harassment, and bullying cover the wide area of staff policies and practices, which address the responsibilities of staff under the law.

Reflection on Corporate governance and Transparency at CQUniversity

Implementing corporate governance and ethics within institutions of higher learning has begun to receive attention. This has happened because of the need to curb various forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying. CQUniversity also has policies to address most forms of corporate governance and ethics issues common in institutions of higher learning. The main aims of corporate governance and ethics policies in CQUniversity are to ensure that all stakeholders receive fair returns from the institution.

Business and private organizations have practiced corporate governance for decades. Therefore, the model of private-sector corporate governance differs from that of public institutions (Horrigan, 2001). However, some underlying principles remain the same (Wadie, 2012). CQUniversity corporate governance and transparency issues focus on specific groups such as students, staff, community, and other external relations. However, the fundamental roles of governing boards and matters of accountability and transparency are relevant in both public and private institutions (Theil van, Sandra and Leeuw, Frans, 2002). CQUniversity requires adequate stewardship and accountability towards the use of public resources (Ministry of Finance, 2000).

CQUniversity has focused on its corporate governance and transparency by developing several policies to address various issues, which may arise in different areas. This is important for the institution as it helps in maintaining faith in the system and enhancing “effective provisions of services to all members through controlled and transparent processes” (Wadie, 2012).

CQUniversity has instituted good governance through relying on State and Federal laws with the aims of focusing on improving the level of public services, which are consistent with the expectations of the public. As a result, the University can promote conformance and compliance with the law in order to enhance governance and transparency through flexible processes.

CQUniversity governing bodies and boards must have high levels of integrity and ethical behaviors. This is because they are responsible for the effective implementation of policies, decision-making, and assessment of policy outcomes.

The University governing bodies must be open to all stakeholders. This is because openness is a part of accountability and transparency. This suggests that members of the governing bodies must avoid any conflict of interests, either real or implied.

It is important to note that CQUniversity has been able to promote the enterprise-wide culture of transparency and ethics by developing various policies to address various issues and a Code of Conduct for all staff (CPA Australia, 2001). The Code of Conduct enables employees to share and vent their experiences. In all, CQUniversity has effective control systems to enhance corporate governance, accountability, and transparency.

Conclusion

Essentially, good corporate governance and ethics practices improve the participation of students and staff at the University. It supports accountability and increases communication at the University. Policies at the University have resulted in positive outcomes as the institution has become accountable for the way it conducts its processes and achieves results.

The focus on good corporate governance and transparency has enabled the University to deliver favorable results as it meets various needs of members of society, who include people with disability and marginalized groups like women and students from minority groups or cultures.

CQUniversity has recognized that corporate governance and ethics matters go beyond compliance with State and Federal laws. Consequently, it has developed various policies with various boards in order to realize successful implementation and accountability. By adopting various policies to corporate governance and ethics, the University has developed ways to achieve good results in various fields as it adapts to changing circumstances in its operation.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003, Web.

Barrett, P 2002, Achieving Better Practice Corporate Governance in the Public Sector, Australian National Audit Office, Canberra.

Brink, A 2011, Corporate Governance and Business Ethics, Springer Netherlands, Hague.

CPA Australia 2001, Enterprise-Wide Risk Management – Best Practice Guide for the Public Sector, CPA, Canberra.

CQUniversity 2009, Disability Policy. Web.

CQUniversity 2011, Workplace Harassment (Bullying), Sexual Harassment and Unlawful Discrimination Policy. Web.

Horrigan, B 2001, ‘How do Executive Boards for Public Sector Agencies Differ from Corporate Boards’, Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, September, p. 63.

Ministry of Finance 2000, Government Governance: Corporate governance in the public sector, why and how?, Ministry of Finance, Hague.

Theil van, S and Leeuw, F 2002, ‘The Performance Paradox in the Public Sector’, Public Performance & Management Review, vol. 25, no. 3, p. 271.

Wadie, R 2012, Corporate governance in the public sector: Promoting a high level of accountability and transparency. Web.

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