La Trobe Business School

Tag: Corporate

The 5th CR3+ Conference on the theme of Making Corporate Responsibility Useful, cohosted by LBS, Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki Finland), Audencia Business School (Nantes, France) and ISAE/FGV (Curitiba, Brazil)

By Suzanne Young

Recently, Dr Suzanne Young and Dr Sajad Fayesi represented La Trobe Business School at the CR3+ Conference.

Within the overall conference theme of “Making Corporate Responsibility Useful”, a number of sub-themes where discussed including CSR and Global supply chains; CSR, human resource management and labour; Corporatization and CSR; Research and business education; ESG data; Social and human sustainability at work; and Sustainable development,

The CR3+ network has its roots in informal relationships in the early days of UN PRME, between three signatory business schools: Audencia (Nantes, France), ISAE/FGV (Curitiba, Brazil) and Hanken (Helsinki, Finland) –these are the “3” in CR3+. These three were soon joined by La Trobe Business School and at that stage we stopped counting our core partners – just adding the “+” for the infinite possibilities of future collaborations and partnerships. A simple equation with many possible solutions. That we are now in our 5th iteration of the conference is a strong testimony of the value of international collaboration especially in relation to the kind of challenges we are posed within the CR discourse and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Dr Sajad Fayesi and Dr Suzanne Young both presented papers and chaired streams at the conference.  Their papers are listed below:

Fayesi, S,

Tensions in Procurement Sustainability: An Exploratory Study

Nagpal, S., Young, S., Marjoribanks, T. and Durden G.,

CSR and Social Risk: From Risk Minimization to Risk Sharing

Young, S., Markey, R., McIvor, J. and Wright, C. F.,

Labour, Climate Change adaptation and the Education Sector

Young, S., Marais, M. Marjoribanks, T., Durden, G. and Douyen, R.,

ESG Risk Reporting in Australia and France: An Institutional Analysis

A link to the 2017 Conference papers can be found here.

In addition Suzanne was a panelist on the all-conference UN PRME themed discussion which focused on the role of the PRME in transforming society, business and education and the role of the UN SDGs in each country and in the respective business schools.

Australia ranks 20th globally in meeting the SDGs. It has one of the highest carbon emissions per person, rates poorly on clean energy and climate change goals, environment goals, with high levels of solid waste and land clearing and loss of biodiversity. It also exhibits high rates of obesity. However it rates highly on lack of poverty, education and water quality, and equality.

Academic institutions can contribute much to the achievement of the SDGs, for example, through incorporating the SDGs into curriculum and focusing research efforts on SDG related challenges, raising awareness of the SDGs, and taking up the opportunities the framework offers for building collaborative projects with other sectors.

Today the CR3+ Network is working collaboratively on a project as one of the United Nations Champion Business Schools in the Principles of Responsible Business Education (PRME). The project entails conducting workshops in regional Australia on the Sustainable Development Goals with members from the PRME higher educational business schools, members of the UN Global Compact, businesses, NGOs and government to present and interact on the theme of the SDGs. The outcomes of the workshops will be improved dialogue and networks, and the initiating of joint projects on the SDGs. If you would like further information or to participate in these workshops please contact Dr Suzanne Young.

The 6th CR3+ Conference will be held in Nantes France at the Audencia Business School in 2018.

 

Geraldine Kennett on Australian Leadership: “Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage”

By Joseph Ghaly

Geraldine Kennett talks to Joseph Ghaly about Australian Leadership. Dr Geraldine Kennett is Professor of Practice in Management and Director of External Engagement at the La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the unique qualities and features of Australian Leadership?
Geraldine Kennett: A sense of openness. We are a little bit more relaxed and laid back. I think it’s a part of the Australian culture so our leadership emulates that.

I don’t believe we always draw on international leadership practices because we tend to be more parochial and domestically focussed, particularly our corporate leadership.

The other thing I notice about Australian Leadership is that it is heavily masculine. We still don’t have many women at the most senior leadership levels. This can put a hard edge on the way we lead our organisations and put emphasis on short-term results, from a political, corporate and even not-for-profit perspective. Those organisations led largely by males at the executive level tend to focus on operations, fiscal results and business outcomes.

So even though I suggest we are relaxed and open, the dichotomy is that we are very much driven by achieving outcomes for the organisation. My hypothesis would be that with increased female leadership we would be more focused on the long-term health of the organisation, the health of the economy and the health of society in general. And some of our outcomes would be more sustainable and environmentally driven.

I get a sense that the direction we have taken in our country is very short term outcomes focused.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are Australians seeking from our leaders?

Geraldine Kennett: Good question because Australia is in a fairly complex environment. Most of the issues that could be resolved for our society have been resolved. We know we have some social and economic issues as well as rapidly changing technology and several industry structural changes that are developing rapidly.

So, what Australians are looking for is leadership where we move from hero to host.

Australians have constantly looked for people who could be the hero and solve our problems. What we are looking for now is someone that is more of a host. That means having a more shared approach to leadership – the community gets involved, individuals wish to be involved. People want to be involved in decision making and that leads to a more collaborative society to what we have been experiencing in the past.

At the same time, Australians show a desire for integrity and authenticity. I bundle the two together because the public wants to leadership with genuine integrity. We expect our leaders to be authentic and walk the talk. We are educated so treat us with respect.

People are expecting to be led by leaders who can influence us to come along. Communities are wanting to be empowered and involved in the decisions of leaders. This means a strong envisaging leader.

The 4 ‘E’s as I refer to leadership here at the Latrobe Business School. Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage.

Simple principles which if we lead by these principles the community and all its stakeholders will be engaged and willing to contribute to the vision or venture. The ‘how’ within these simple principles of leadership are more complex. The how or the way we lead is with authenticity, integrity, ethics and sustainability. The data from our under 36-year-old demographics show what they are expecting from our leaders includes; values, ethics and sustainability.

Overall, Australians are seeking strong collaboration, integrity, authenticity, sustainability, and ethics in the way in which we lead.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the finest examples of Australian Leadership you have observed or delivered?

Geraldine Kennett: Thank you. I’m going to refer you locally to Professor John Dewar, the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University. Professor Dewar has had to make some tough decisions to ensure that the university is at the forefront of higher education for the future. He has had to be very mindful of doing this with limited resources. At the same time, John is not afraid to invest in opportunities that provide long-term benefits for the future. For instance, a new community access sports centre and new courses in cybersecurity and business analytics.

I have been fortunate to work alongside Professor John Dewar on a charity, The Australian Futures Project (AFP), that he supports out of his office. He has done this because he genuinely believes that the university has a leadership role in supporting start-up ideas that have a broader agenda for society. The AFP purpose is to create better decision making for a better Australian society. It leads forums for politicians, public servants and the community at large. It addresses how leaders beyond one’s own organisation make contributions to society.

Another example is from my former time with the Institute of Public Administration Australia. The Former CEO, Dr Kathy Laster,  would consistently act on decisions with three key criteria in mind:

  1. Did I do that with integrity;
  2. Is it a sustainable decision; and,
  3. What will be the impact on the people I’m leading, and people in the community beyond my organisation?

Reflecting on the broader impact is sustainable and ethical leadership in my view.

Finally, I work with and support Indigenous issues, in particular, the economic development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with a leader I admire – Paul Briggs, a well-respected Yorta Yorta man. He has the tenacity and an enormous capacity to think strategically and gets people at the highest level engaged in his initiatives.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are our major challenges?

Geraldine Kennett: I think a major priority for Australia is to give our first nation’s people, economic independence and as a whole community support them in their development.

We need our leaders to enable and empower those communities and bring the rest of the country along in supporting them; that means all citizens and employers in the private, public and non-government sectors.

The other challenge is to move forward in driving our digital and experience-based economy rather than the former economy based on consumption. We need people to be really thinking about this agenda otherwise, the threat is high unemployment and a polarisation of society from displaced industries. We need to consider the jobs of the future and our education emphasis for future generations.

A sustainable planet is, of course, critical and should fair in our thinking beyond the challenges pertaining our own generation. I believe it our responsibility to develop leaders who lead responsibly and make long-term decisions that sustain future generations.

This post was originally published in the online Australian Leadership magazine.

Were directors asleep at the wheel? And are they awake now?

Paul Mather La Trobe Business School

LBS Head of School Professor Paul Mather was an invited speaker and panellist at a symposium on Corporate Governance organised by the Institute of Directors in New Zealand and the University of Otago in Dunedin.

Were the directors asleep at the wheel? – This was the main question asked in the wake of corporate collapses such as Enron. Regulatory reforms emerged emphasising board structure such as independence, expertise and formation of committees. It has been more than a decade, so did reforms turn out to be yet another round of governance box checking which overlooked what directors are expected to do: apply independent thinking and knowledge in the best interests of the organisation? This symposium examined the importance of board culture and processes and what directors should do to meet shareholders’ interests.  Paul provided a high level overview of the academic research to date and highlighted some of the key regulatory implications flowing from the research.  In particular, he emphasised the need for regulations to also pay attention to processes rather than largely focus on structure.  A robust panel discussion followed.

The other panellists were:

Michael Stiassny – President of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

Jan Dawson – Chair of Westpac New Zealand, deputy chair of Air New Zealand and an independent director of BECA, AIG New Zealand and Meridian Energy.

Colin Magee – Head of Conduct for the Financial Markets Authority in New Zealand.

Professor Paul Mather on ABC News AM: “It makes economic sense to have diversity on boards”

Paul Mather La Trobe Business School

This morning, Head of La Trobe Business School Professor Paul Mather appeared on ABC Radio 774, speaking about his research on female representation at the top levels of Business. In the segment, Professor Mather explains how his team examined 300 top ASX-listed companies, looking into correlations between factors like financial performance and having female non-executives on corporate boards.

Professor Paul Mather’s view is clear: “It’s not just about equity and social justice, it makes economic sense to have women on boards.”

Listen to the full fragment on the ABC website, or read about his research in The Age.

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