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Management And Business Context: Corporate Governance

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Question:

Discuss about the Management and Business Context for Corporate Governance.

 

Answer:

Introduction:

In the present business environment, organizations have to focus on utilizing different types of strategies in order to cope up with the market related challenges (Siakor et al., 2012). The business strategies not only have to ensure creating positive impact on the revenue aspect but also have to ensure the strategies create positive impact on the environmental condition of the community. For that reason, significance of using appropriate business governance strategies is critical for avoiding any type of business related challenges in an effective manner. In this report, the focus would be on the severe environmental issues that Harvey Norman has faced in order to conduct business in timber furniture sector. The Last Stand group has highlighted the fact that the management of Harvey Norman has not focused on keeping the environmental condition at the desired level in order to sale furniture products effectively. In fact, selling of too much timber furniture product has affected the overall forest in Australia. The protest highlighted the unethical governance practices by Harvey Norman for fulfilling all the business objectives. The report focuses on highlighting the significance of using appropriate governance within the business culture for avoiding any type of legislative or ethical challenges in an appropriate manner.

 

Significance of Maintaining Effective Corporate Governance:

As per the article by Dudley, Jeanrenaud and Sullivan (2014) corporate governance reflects the system of practices, processes and rules that organizations implement in order to control all the activities associated with the business procedure. Corporate governance primarily involves balancing the interests of an organization’s different stakeholders like management, customers, shareholders, financiers, community and government. Thus, appropriate use of corporate governance strategies allows organizations to keep all the stakeholders satisfied with the business procedures and outcomes. Moreover, corporate governance also focuses on providing effective framework for achieving different company goals and objectives. Therefore, it allows organizations to describe itself as a responsible corporate citizen (DesJardins & McCall, 2014). Now, Harvey Norman has always focused on utilizing effective corporate governance strategies so that it can able to maintain the satisfaction level of all the stakeholders in an effective manner. For that reason, it will be unwise for any external entities to question the governance level of Harvey Norman. In fact, senior management of Harvey Norman have mentioned that their governance activities have always focused towards developing strong correlation between all the stakeholders so that it can help to achieve success in the market. As per the article by Carroll and Buchholtz (2014), appropriate government monitoring can allow organizations to maintain healthy work environment where all the employees can give their best at the workplace. Now, the internal work environment of Harvey Norman always helps to increase the effectiveness of the work environment. In fact, the organization has also focused on performing different CSR activities so that it can able to create positive impact on the market. For that reason, the complaint against Harvey Norman of destroying the natural resources or Forest is not justified completely.   

 

Role of Governance in Maintaining Environmental Balance:

In the present time, providing some additional value to the community has become essential for all the business entities. It not only increases the current environmental condition of the economy but also help businesses to create brand awareness in the market. Environmental governance reflects a concept in environmental policy and political ecology for handling human activities comprehensively. Now, the business processes often creates adverse impact on the overall condition of the environment (Ward et al., 2015). Therefore, governance has to play a major role for reducing the amount of adverse impact created through the business process. For that reason, corporate governance of Harvey Norman has tried to identify the best possible way to create positive impact on the community. Now, Harvey Norman primarily deals in electrical, computer, furniture and bedding goods retailing. As a result, it has to depend on the effectiveness of the logistics activities for achieving success in the market. Moreover, selling goods with controversial raw materials is another key environmental issue that senior management of Harvey Norman have to deal with regular basis. Different retail and manufacturing organizations have faced challenges related to selling of products with controversial raw materials. Now, timber furniture products have heavy demand in the Australian market (Koslowski, 2013). Therefore, it definitely encourages organizations like Harvey Norman in selling these items. However, organizational governance has to ensure that cutting of tree are equally complemented with CSR activities like plantation of new trees. However, the governance of Harvey Norman has not focused too much on the compensation perspective. As a result, it has provided the opportunity for the groups like The Last Stand to highlight the unethical practices of Harvey Norman are affecting the density of forest (Luetge, 2012). Thus, it highlights the fact that corporate governance plays an important role in maintaining environmental balance of the community. Otherwise, business practices that are negative impact on environment are likely to damage the overall image of the organization.            

 

 

Necessary Policies and Legislations that Corporate Governance can follow for Avoiding Unethical Environmental Practices:     

Over the years, several policies and procedures have been developed for providing a guideline to the organizations in creating positive impact on the environment. Now, Harvey Norman has always focused on keeping the standard of all the products and services for maintain the customer base in the market. Therefore, the management has made a consistent effort in utilizing high quality raw materials for products. However, “no Harvey no” campaign has highlighted the loopholes of Harvey Norman at the time of developing furniture products. Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC) has provided a guideline regarding the best possible way to use natural resources for business perspective (Nicol?escu, 2013). Moreover, EU timber regulation has developed legislative guidelines for maintaining the greeneries in the country. It has highlighted that illegal logging can ultimately result into destruction of forest and other natural resources. However, the management of Harvey Norman does not conduct any illegal logging activities for satisfying the needs and wants of the customers. Still, increasing demand has induced Harvey Norman to log more plants on regular basis (Hartman et al., 2014). As a result, it is likely to create adverse impact on the overall natural resource level of Australia. For that reason, Harvey Norman will have to focus on developing strategies regarding effective harvesting of the timbers, which will not create any adverse impact on the forest. Moreover, corporate governance will have to focus on developing systematic procedure for assessing all the risk factors in order to mitigate them effectively (Bowie, 2017). The risk assessment will also have to include the significance of maintaining effective supply chain so that it can minimize the waste of timber at the time of developing furniture.

Factors that Prevent Maintaining Corporate Governance Ethics:

As per the article by Weiss (2014) several factors including cost, resource and market threat can induce organizations to perform different unethical practices. It has been assessed that maintenance of all the legislative and ethical guidelines often increases the overall cost associated with the business procedure. Therefore, it creates direct impact on the overall revenue level of the organization. For that reason, it induces management to focus on different unethical activities for keeping the profit at the desired level. On the other hand, in order to create desired impact on the environment, organizations have to include more resources. Now, higher amount of resources will require higher investment from the organization (Woermann, 2012). However, the business activities of Harvey Norman have always tried to maintain different rules and regulations for avoiding any ethics related challenges. Still, The Last Stand group has highlighted that the management of Harvey Norman has not provided too much impact on the planting new trees so that logging of timbers do not destroy the forest of Australia. Moreover, the management have tried to use improper logging activities in order to fulfil the market needs and demands for furniture products effectively (Buchholtz & Carroll, 2012). However, the senior management of the organization have denied of using any unethical activities for achieving greater success in the market. The management has mentioned that Harvey Norman has always tried to provide some value added services for all the employees and communities, as they believe it is an integral part of the organization. The business activities of Harvey Norman have never compromised with the ethics for achieving more success in the market. 

 

Recommended way to use Corporate Governance for Maximizing the Impact on Environment:    

The protest against Harvey Norman business activities of selling timber furniture product affected the overall image of the organization. For that reason, the senior management has played important role in ensuring this type of unnecessary protest against the business practices does not happen in near future. The management have recommended of publishing all the CSR activities conducted by Harvey Norman for the well-being of the society. It has helped the people to understand the kind of positive impact business activities of Harvey Norman created on the environmental condition of the community (Zutshi et al., 2016). Moreover, it is recommended for the management to provide necessary information regarding the necessity of using timber product for the development of high quality furniture. However, the governance of Harvey Norman will have to maintain all the rules and regulations associated with the timber logging act in order to avoid such type of protest in future. Moreover, the management of Harvey Norman will have to take additional initiatives like plantation; maintenance of tress and other activities for ensuring the business activities of the organization is not destroying the forest of the community. The management of Harvey Norman will have to conduct different participatory CSR program, which will help people to understand the present business process of the organization in an effective manner. In addition, the governance policy will also have to ensure that all the activities associated with the business procedure are using limited natural resources, which will eventually help Harvey Norman to emerge as a responsible corporate citizen.      

Conclusion:

The above illustration has highlighted the significance of appropriate use of governance is necessary for fulfilling all the business aim and objectives. It allows businesses to avoid any type of challenges associated with the operational procedure. The Harvey Norman incident of selling timber furniture has emerged as an issue due to the improper governance activities. For instance, if the management of Harvey Norman constantly monitors the logging activities, it will help them to assess the current procedure is affecting the forest of the community without any issues. Therefore, it would help Harvey Norman to avoid this issue appropriately. 

 

References:

Bowie, N. E. (2017). Business ethics: A Kantian perspective. Cambridge University Press.

Buchholtz, A. K., & Carroll, A. B. (2012). Business & society: Ethics & stakeholder management. South-Western Cengage Learning.

Carroll, A., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Nelson Education.

DesJardins, J. R., & McCall, J. J. (2014). Contemporary issues in business ethics. Cengage Learning.

Dudley, N., Jeanrenaud, J. P., & Sullivan, F. (2014). Bad harvest: The timber trade and the degradation of global forests. Routledge.

Hartman, L. P., DesJardins, J. R., MacDonald, C., & Hartman, L. P. (2014). Business ethics: Decision making for personal integrity and social responsibility. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Koslowski, P. (Ed.). (2013). Contemporary economic ethics and business ethics. Springer Science & Business Media.

Luetge, C. (2012). Fundamentals of order ethics: Law, business ethics and the financial crisis.

Nicol?escu, E. (2013). Business ethics, corporate governance, and social responsibility. Journal of Self-Governance and Management Economics, 1(1), 86-92.

Siakor, K. P., Sichalern, O., Daian, M., Harris, G., Phengsopha, K., & Wanneng, P. (2012). project Value-adding to Lao PDR plantation timber products.

Ward, S., Killingsworth, S., Leigh, A., Meyer, A. S., Van der Heyden, L., & Weights, P. (2015). Ethics in Business. Business Compliance, 4(3-4), 75-91.

Weiss, J. W. (2014). Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Woermann, M. (2012). On the (im) possibility of business ethics: critical complexity, deconstruction, and implications for understanding the ethics of business (Vol. 37). Springer Science & Business Media.

Zutshi, A., Zutshi, A., Creed, A., Creed, A., Holmes, M., Holmes, M., ... & Brain, J. (2016). Reflections of environmental management implementation in furniture. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 44(8), 840-859.

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