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Rationalizing the Relationship between Gender Diversity in an Australian Organization with Business Performance

Discuss about the Gender Diversity in an Australian Organization.

Rationalizing the Relationship between Gender Diversity in an Australian Organization with Business Performance

In recent times, the debate on placing women on corporate boards is a great hype. According to Berkley et al. (2014), advancement of gender equality that urges female representation in corporate governance is a major concern of AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors) and BCA (Business Council of Australia). The success of an organization lies in its improved financial performance, innovation, group performance, reputation, market and leveraged talent. Reports have shown that in Australia, women occupy 14.2% of board chairs, 15.4% of CEO and 23.6% of directorships.  But, AICD has insisted S&P/ASX 200 firms to meet the target of placing 30% female board members by 2018 (Boehm and Dwertmann, 2015). One of the ways that show gender diversity is associated with strong corporate performance is an organization’s leveraged performance. It helps in effective usage of knowledge and introduction of innovative viewpoints to board-room. Moreover, gender diversity also contributes towards providing alternative solutions to problems. Researchers have shown that companies with female on corporate boards have a strong performance in the market, and its overall performance is impacted by nearly 12% every year (Terjesen and Sealy, 2016).

As opined by Boohren and Staubo (2014), female corporate heads bring a better mix of leadership skills in an organization. They are quite definite with their responsibilities and are systematic in coaching and mentoring employees. The female leaders also reflect their strong ability in taking individual decisions about business and are competitive in nature. They ensure improved behavior and cleanliness at the workplace that promotes better culture within an organization. So, gender diversity is important as it fosters better balance in an organization.  Bruggen (2015) had an outlook that females working in an organization are more likely to retain back at the workplace and work hard for their promotion. Their turn-out is going to be an impeccable perfectionist in their work, and they have a good power to analyze. Moreover, females onboard also tend to create diversity within teams so that each of the groups is well-connected and share a good rapport with one another. They are unbiased in making business decisions and assigns work to individuals based on their talent rather than their gender. Recent global statistics have shown that after including females’ on-boards and at higher-ranking levels, the organizational structure, performance and financial strength of organizations have increased by 15% every year (Hewins-Maroney and Williams, 2013).

Ways How a Company Should Initiate Gender Diversity Policy for the Board

As per mentioned by Hsu et al. (2013) the female corporate heads are expertise in handling consumer handling. They understand the customer preferences and enhance several methods at the workplace to cater their demands. Women corporate heads are more optimistic towards taking calculated risk, and that leads to less chance of bankrupting of organizations. Gender diversity in organizations also reduces staff turnover rate and cost associated with it. The increased rate of women participation in organizational management also minimized legal risks such as sexual harassments, maternity and pregnancy discrimination. Female corporate heads improve an organization’s access to target market as well as increase its market share. Shahzad et al. (2015) commented that gender diversity at workplace also promote the reputations of organization and helps it in retaining its customers, stakeholders, and employees and therefore building a strong brand image. The gender equality in S&P/ASX 200 firms also improved innovation, boosted business performance and also increased the economic competitiveness of organizations. S&P/ASX 200 firms have nearly 15% of females in organization’s corporate board, and that has brought a difference in its performance regarding resource management, employee management, greater productivity, financial leverage and innovation (Spaaij et al. 2014). 

Gender diversity at workplace provides a competitive advantage to organizations as both the genders are excellent in their respective areas in handling management. Australia’s ACID aims to improve the female percentage in S&P /ASX 200 firms and has recommended organizations to initiate policies on gender diversity for the board. As opined by Hoy‐Petersen et al. (2016), Code of Corporate Governance should give importance to gender diversity. Regulatory codes about gender diversity should be published, and companies are made to comply with the codes. It is to be made clear that gender diversity at workplace greatly influences an organization's long-term competitiveness and economic growthworkplace. An organization’s board with gender diversity helps in making valuable decisions about controlling risks, problem-solving and minimizing conflicts at the workplace. A multi-perceptive analysis of certain problems improves the quality of business decisions. As mentioned by Boehm and Dwertmann (2015), industries should organize programs for training and develop female candidates to be a part of management. They should be trained for enhancing their strategic management skills apart from their professional and technical expertise. These strides help females to be a part of organization’s on-board extensively. The Australian Government needs to engage top officials of large corporations and organizations for short listing female directors for ASX 200 companies.

Contemporary Standards for Whistleblowing Policies

According to Hsu et al. (2013), ACID and BCA have adopted certain initiatives and regulatory in supporting as well as encouraging women participation in board meetings. They have inspired leaders of several organizations in appointing women for the position of executives, Directors, and CEO. Moreover, corporate-governance organizes corporate award-giving programs that emphasize on gender diversity as one of the evaluation criteria. It ranks several organizations as per their adoption of practices in improving gender diversity. Moreover, Berkley et al. (2014) commented that organizations like S&P /APX 200 firms should make unbiased nominations based on only talents, expertise, and experience while appointing board members. It will help in identification and fill up gaps between current and desired organizational position. Companies should also take initiatives in helping qualified women to secure a position at senior management level. Along with this, Government should also emphasize on making rules to review reasons if no female candidate is shortlisted in directorial or executive position in organizations. These initiatives will  motivate other women to work with dedication and commitment to building their career to reach organization’s senior management position (Monem, 2016). 

Contemporary Standards for Whistleblowing Policies

The corporate governance framework consists of rules, regulations, systems, processes and relationships that help in creating value within organizations. As mentioned by Dworkin and Brown (2013), ASA or Australian Shareholders Association is keen to take consultancy of corporate governance to set up certain policies for empowering and safeguarding whistle-blowing process in organizations. Several reports have shown that previously in Australia, the whistleblowers were punished and mistreated for revealing illegal ongoing within organizations. An example can be cited from Comminsure where it’s CMO, Benjamin Koh, stated that several doctors were harried to modify the medical reports of patients and even deletion of their medical files. It was done to avoid health-policy pay-outs by Comminsure. It made Koh lose his job for whistle-blowing (McDonald et al. 2015). Another example can be cited from Target, a discount departmental store, owned by West farmers in making an additional profit of nearly $ 20 million from supplier rebates. This also resulted in whistle-blower's punishment as well as loss his job.  

According to Miceli and Near (2013) several policies such as “Whistleblower Protection Act of 2004” is adopted to defend employees from receiving punishment for their bravery. It, therefore, encourage employees to whistle-blow on seeing any of the organization’s illegal actions. Apart from safeguarding employees, Government has also structured a reward system that includes monetary rewards to employees for their valor. Moreover, as stated by Wood (2015), the “Federal Corporations Act 2004” covers the disclosers those have reported breaches as per ASIC Act and Corporations Act. The disclosers will be protected if they are the organization’s employee, officer or contractor having a contract supplying goods to the company. It even gives the whistle-blower a civil right to continue his or her employment. Along with this, the law also states that the whistle-blower cannot be charged with any criminal or civil cases.

According to Vandekerckhove (2016), the framework of “Whistleblower Program for Entities, AS 8004-2003”, contains certain requirements and guidelines. It provides protection, confidentiality, and anonymity to the whistle-blower. Any information regarding that person or group is protected from getting leaked. In 2007, the Corporate Governance Principles of ASX were extensively reviewed and therefore the process also included public consultations. It was done to restore the faith of public in Government and to stop any illegal activities and exploitations within organizations. As stated by Miceli et al. (2012), Australian Government and ASA should aim towards filling certain gaps in private sectors about protection of whistle-blowing. A comprehensive legislation should be adopted across all sectors and industries in a consistent way. It is to prevent organizations from adopting illegal ways and encouraging employees in whistle-blowing on seeing any of such misconduct. It is essential for several business, unions, foundations and Governments in supporting whistle-blowing activity within the organization.

Near and Miceli (2016) commented that the State and Australian Governments should improve and upgrade laws and rules for ensuring whistle-blower protection in private sectors. The Commonwealth law should be implied on providing national security to employees. Certain reformations should be done to introduce best standards and practices in whistle-blowing activity laws. “Australian Standard on Whistle-blow Protection” should be developed that works in both private and public sectors with equal dignity and stance. The legislative laws about other legal standards such as incentive structure, salary structure, worker laws, and employee laws in an organization should also be reviewed and revised accordingly. As per the opinion of McDonald et al. (2015), it is necessary to have well-structures principles in Australian Shareholders Association (ASA) for managing the overall operations of organizations. It also adds value to the structure and also promotes ethical as well as responsible decision-making process within private sectors. It also safeguards organization’s financial status and also employee’s interest in organizations. The strong whistle-blowing rules and regulations also help in recognizing as well as managing risks within the organization. It reviews the organizational framework periodically to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency. As a result, organizations work in a responsible way to avoid whistle-blowing.

Cassematis and Wortley (2013) stated that whistle-blowing is a way of reporting an organization’s or top management's misconduct and illegal actions in business. It is a Government’s desire to have every organization and business operate in an honest way. It is because honestly makes organization in dedicating its resources solely in fulfilling company’s vision and mission. Strong whistle-blowing policies in companies also promote transparency in organizational structure. It also ensures clear and efficient communication among the employees, managers, and higher authorities. As mentioned by Croucher et al. (2016), due to strong and effective whistle-blowing policies adopted by ASA, organizations don’t have the guts to adopt any illegitimate and unlawful actions. If any such illegal action comes under the employee’s notice, they can whistle-blow it, and Government will ensure their safety unless the guilt of organization is proved. Several whistle-blowing programs are organized, and the objectives of it are discussed among the employees. It, therefore, help employees to know about organizations’ codes of conduct and their principle to adhere to it.

Boyd (2016) commented that ASA should make policies that encourage employees to be supportive towards whistle-blowing. The fear of alienation, retaliation and punishments should be removed from employee’s mind. When employees whistle-blow on any of the organizational misconduct, they have the right to publicize their comments. It will be followed by a close investigation and follow-up. At that time, the confidentiality of the whistleblower will be protected, and management will be asked to show-cause the fact. According to Lee and Fargher (2013), the safety and health of the individual or individuals will have to be safeguarded by the Government. It will make the employees, managers and top authorities to operate honestly within the organization. Moreover, whistle-blowing will also reduce the chances of any mistreatment and exploitation of employees within the organization. 

References

Berkley, R.A., Beard, R. and Kaplan, D.M., 2014. Leveraging Diversity in a Virtual Context: Global Diversity and Cyber-Aggression. Cross-Cultural Interaction: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, p.307.

Boehm, S.A. and Dwertmann, D.J., 2015. Forging a single-edged sword: Facilitating positive age and disability diversity effects in the workplace through leadership, positive climates, and HR practices. Work, Aging and Retirement, 1(1), pp.41-63.

Boohren, O. and Staubo, S., 2014. Does mandatory gender balance work? Changing organizational form to avoid board upheaval. Journal of Corporate Finance, 28, pp.152-168.

Boyd, T., 2016. ASIC backs whistleblower project. The Australian Financial Review, PP. 40

Bruggen, A., 2015. An empirical investigation of the relationship between workload and performance. Management Decision, 53(10), pp.2377-2389.

Cassematis, P.G. and Wortley, R., 2013. Prediction of whistleblowing or non-reporting observation: The role of personal and situational factors. Journal of business ethics, 117(3), pp.615-634.

Croucher, S.M., Zeng, C. and Kassing, J., 2016. Learning to Contradict and Standing Up for the Company An Exploration of the Relationship Between Organizational Dissent, Organizational Assimilation, and Organizational Reputation. International Journal of Business Communication, p.2329488416633852.

Dworkin, T.M. and Brown, A.J., 2013. The Money or the Media? Lessons from Contrasting Developments in US and Australian Whistleblowing Laws.Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 11(2), p.8.

Hewins-Maroney, B. and Williams, E., 2013. The Role of Public Administrators in Responding to Changing Workforce Demographics: Global Challenges to Preparing a Diverse Workforce. Public Administration Quarterly, pp.456-490.

Hoy‐Petersen, N., Woodward, I. and Skrbis, Z., 2016. Gender performance and cosmopolitan practice: exploring gendered frames of openness and hospitality. The Sociological Review.

Hsu, C.S., Kuo, L. and Chang, B.G., 2013. Gender difference in profit performance-evidence from the owners of small public accounting practices in Taiwan. Asian Journal of Finance & Accounting, 5(1), p.140.

Lee, G. and Fargher, N., 2013. Companies’ use of whistle-blowing to detect fraud: An examination of corporate whistle-blowing policies. Journal of Business Ethics, 114(2), pp.283-295.

McDonald, P., Charlesworth, S. and Graham, T., 2015. Developing a framework of effective prevention and response strategies in workplace sexual harassment. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 53(1), pp.41-58.

Miceli, M.P. and Near, J.P., 2013. An international comparison of the incidence of public sector whistle‐blowing and the prediction of retaliation: Australia, Norway, and the US. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 72(4), pp.433-446.

Miceli, M.P., Near, J.P., Rehg, M.T. and Van Scotter, J.R., 2012. Predicting employee reactions to perceived organizational wrongdoing: Demoralization, justice, proactive personality, and whistle-blowing. Human Relations, 65(8), pp.923-954.

Monem, R., 2016. Three women is not a crowd on a company board. The Australian Financial Review, pp. 35

Near, J.P. and Miceli, M.P., 2016. After the wrongdoing: What managers should know about whistleblowing. Business Horizons, 59(1), pp.105-114.

Shahzad, A.M., Rutherford, M.A. and Sharfman, M.P., 2015. Stakeholder‐Centric Governance and Corporate Social Performance: A Cross‐National Study. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management.

Spaaij, R., Farquharson, K., Magee, J., Jeanes, R., Lusher, D. and Gorman, S., 2014. A fair game for all? How community sports clubs in Australia deal with diversity. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 38(4), pp.346-365.

Terjesen, S. and Sealy, R., 2016. Board gender quotas: exploring ethical tensions from a multi-theoretical perspective. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(01), pp.23-65.

Vandekerckhove, W., 2016. Whistleblowing and Information Ethics: Facilitation, Entropy, and Ecopoiesis. Journal of Business Ethics, pp.1-11.

Wood, G.W., 2015. Communicating the ethos of codes of ethics in Australia's largest organizations: a reliance on osmosis. In Proceedings of the 2000 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 425-429). Springer International Publishing.

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