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Earliest Governance

  • These corporations had written bodies of fundamental principles detailing their duties and were overseen by the government.
  • Operating beyond these constitutional limitations was forbidden and punishable by law.

What are some of the major contributions corporations have made to the betterment of society?

  • Scientific discoveries
  • Technological progress
  • Medical developments
  • Economic growth

Imperialism is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence.

  • Corporations were used by European imperial powers to advance colonial expansion by maintaining draconian control of trade, resources and territory in Asia, Africa and the Americas.
  • Three examples: the East India Company, the Dutch East India Company and the South Sea Company

Were there any advantages to foreign countries from imperialism?

o Introduction of new technology?

o Improved sanitation and health care?

o Establishment of infrastructure?

o Better means of transportation?

Corporations have the legal capacity to enter contracts and hold many of the same rights a natural person does.

  • Corporations can:

o buy, own, and sell property.

o sue and be sued.

o enter contracts on their own behalf.

Corporations law controls or regulates the ways corporations can be used and operated by their directors to protect third parties, shareholders and the corporation.

  • Corporations law imposes duties on directors and confers rights upon third parties, shareholders and the corporation.
  • Corporations law gives shareholders confidence to invest their money in corporations.

Discrimination Policy

The success of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is dependent on all stakeholders both internal and external. Therefore, the adoption of the stipulated code of conducts will help improve the bank’s reputation through guidance and decision making processes. Moreover, this code of conduct is formulated to give guidance to senior management, employees of the bank in carrying out their roles and duties. The bank manifests its commitment to provide goods and services to esteemed customers through guidance from this code of conduct.

This paper, therefore, provides a discussion of vital principles that included in the code of conducts adopted by the bank in a bid to create a favourable working environment for the bank’s stakeholders. The codes of conduct involved in this discussion include; discrimination, exploitation, corruption, dishonest and fraudulent behaviour, whistle-blower exploitation, and lastly exploitation that are sought by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Concisely, this research paper will provide a discussion of the on the code of conduct adopted by the CBA. The discussion will reveal the significance of the code of conduct that is aimed not only to increase the success of the bank but also ensure that employees and customers as key stakeholders are provided with an effective platform, for example, where they can report their complaints as evidenced in the whistle blower’s protection policy. The discussion of this policy involves an explanation where a whistle-blower may be one of the senior executives, employees, or stakeholders interacting or associated with the CBA with crucial or sensitive information. This information may include crucial aspects, such as dishonesty and fraudulent behaviour, bribery and corruption case, discrimination or gross misconduct among key employees of the bank. The evidence suggesting that most financial institutions are implementing whistle-blower protection programmes is crucial as the institutionalised wrongdoings will be eliminated for the benefit of future generations.

Moreover, the discussion outlined in this research paper will present the bank’s strategies that are adopted to combat the issue of discrimination that is central to employees and customers. The bank’s code of conduct indicates the firm measures adopted to curb exploitation, corruption, dishonest and fraudulent behaviour. In addition to implementing the policies, the bank has put into place strategic measures of amending the code of conduct, procedures, and regulations to match the requirements suggested by the regulatory bodies.

In addition to the discussion of the discrimination policy adopted by the bank, this research paper will provide a comprehensive discussion on dishonesty and the issue of fraudulent behaviour. The purpose of this code aims to guide employees’ behaviour and restrain them from engaging in fraudulent related activities. In this case, dishonest and fraudulent behaviour will be understood as the practice of receiving or giving out bribes, customers’ data, and information in exchange for their personal interests and benefits. In order to curb the occurrence of any fraudulent activities, this researcher will provide measures that CBA will adopt and monitor any dishonest behaviour propagated by employees, bank agents or stakeholders with appropriate legal actions readied for the culprits.

Exploitation, Corruption, and Fraudulent Behaviour Policy

Similar, this discussion will provide reasons for endorsing suggestions and recommendations for implementation by the bank. In this regard, increased auditing practices among different departments in a banking institution that wants to foster integrity and positive performance among their respective employees will be discussed. The discussion of enforcement will also be adopted along the explanation of the code of conducts and the expectations of bank employees and other stakeholders interacting with the bank. The discussion will detail the enforcement which will be approached with stringent disciplinary actions and the culprits of the offences interdicted. Therefore, the evidence raised in this study will help the bank ensure that employees, senior management, and stakeholders are given needed directives regarding the rules, regulations, and procedures detailing the operation and services of the CBA as a banking institution.

  1. Discrimination

This Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is committed to providing a favourable working environment for all employees and stakeholders without any discrimination. The bank prohibits any instance of discrimination in the business premises, or when representing the bank in any activity both internally and externally. In this case, discrimination may be understood as handling, bullying or treating other stakeholders’ with inferiority based on their religion, race, disability, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation. The bank strives to adhere to strict policies during the recruitment and selection of employees. Additionally, the bank is dedicated to ensuring that all stakeholders interacting or transacting with the bank are treated with respect despite their diverse backgrounds.

The bank is committed to ensuring fairness by taking appropriate action against those who violate the provisions attributed to this code. The bank is open for discussing and resolving any issue experienced by a key stakeholder, such as a complaint raised by a former British staff on the basis of race, sex and age discrimination (Keay, 2017). In the wake of discrimination cases experienced in the financial and banking sector, Aleo and Svirsky (2008) note strict amendment of this code to accommodate any new rising issue experienced by the bank. Additionally, the bank implements the following anti-discrimination laws; the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 among others. The application of these laws is vital as they add vigour to the already adopted discrimination code of conduct.

  1. Exploitation

The expectations of each employee of the bank entail refraining from taking unfair advantage to exploit any individual either staff or customer on the basis of their age, education, religion or personal interests. There are clear guidelines and protocols that aggrieved parties can use to share their complaint to the branch manager or the ombudsman offices. On the other hand, failure for employees to comply with this code will attract a hefty penalty that is not limited to summary dismissal. The bank is dedicated to involve the pursuit of transparency and integrity in its operational activities, such as hiring process, business transactions, and bolstering the relationship between employees and the customers. Therefore, any form of exploitation will not be tolerated at the premises either towards fellow employees or directed towards the clients, in this case, current or potential customers.

Enforcement and Recommendations

According to Ghahramani (2016) and Dessin (2005), there are evidence cases of exploitation perpetrated against children, volunteers, and other employees in many industries. Additionally, Goyal and Joshi (2011) point out the need to address social and ethical issues that might impact the image and financial returns of any banking institution. Consequently, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) will strive to ensure that all employees are taken through training sessions to ensure that everyone understands their expectations at the business premises. As the ambassadors of the bank, employees are expected to adhere to the provisions of this code even outside the business premises.

  1. Corruption

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) supports zero tolerance to any form of corruption or bribery by any stakeholder acting in the capacity of the bank either directly or indirectly. The senior management, employees, or any other agents of the bank are prohibited from giving or receiving any bribe in the form of monetary value or advantage towards a service or activity. The bank is dedicated to adhering to the expected requirements of proper business practice and standards without manipulating clients and competitors. The bank’s prohibition of corruption and bribery practices is further strengthened with the adoption of the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy that guides the behaviour of employees and other key stakeholders.

Existing evidence mandates companies to ensure that the ethical code on corruption, policies, and procedures are executed effectively (Belasen and Toma, 2015; Cameron, Chaudhuri, Erkal, and Gangadharan, 2009). The principles of the policy restrict employees from getting involved in any corruption incidence while in the working environment. Additionally, adopted anti-corruption policies prohibit employees from engaging key stakeholders, such as customers and contractors in corruption-related activities. The bank’s anti-corruption policy, therefore, provides employees and other key stakeholders to act in an ethical manner. Moreover, the evidence indicates the initiatives adopted by other corporations in the industry and the measures put in place, which employees and stakeholders can use to channel and report cases on corruption and bribery. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has strengthened its system in a directive to protect those employees or stakeholders with an intention of reporting any corruption-related case.

  1. Dishonest and Fraudulent Behaviour

The bank takes a strong in implementing strategies that are geared towards creating a working environment that is honest and free from fraudulent practices. Employees of this bank, senior management and stakeholders are expected to report any suspicious activity or dishonest behaviour they come across in their undertakings. This code of conduct outlines the expectations of the bank employees through processing transaction both personal or on behalf of the bank.

Currently, there are numerous cases of employees engaging in dishonesty and fraudulent activities in financial institutions. According to Bierstaker, Brody, and Pacini (2006), and Bhasin (2015), employee dishonesty accounts for many fraudulent cases reported in the last three decades. Existing evidence indicates that senior management, bank tellers engage in dishonest behaviours, such as bond claims, suspense accounts, and misappropriation of payments (Macey and O'hara, 2003; Pickett and Pickett, 2002). The need to adopt and implement even stricter measures was elicited with the Commonwealth Bank’s employees acknowledging that they manipulated children’s accounts (ABC News, 2018). The report further revealed that one of bank’s employee manipulated the accounts that were in the excess of thousands purposely to earn increased incentives and bonuses. Similar scam cases that are reported among financial institutions globally include; selling customer data and information for monetary purposes.

Dishonesty and fraudulent behaviour is recognized as an issue that can impact a bank institution negatively. Pickett and Pickett (2002) and Price (2007) elaborate on the relevance of a banking institution embracing appropriate control systems and recruitment strategies that are directed towards screening for honest and competent employees. Alternatively, Cohn, Fehr, and Maréchal (2014) point out the relevance of developing a business culture that will cultivate trust which forms an impeccable foundation for longterm performance. The creation of a favourable working environment with clear policies, guidelines, and procedures will eventually address the issue of scandals that are experienced in the financial sector.

  1. Whistle-blower Protections

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is committed to complying with the requirements of protecting whistle-blowers. The bank recognizes the effectiveness of whistleblowing in cultivating a cultural environment that prevents and detects misconduct prompted by one of the staff. Additionally, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has adopted the whistleblowing protection policy in a bid to encourage bank employees, customers, and other stakeholders that are associated with the bank to raise complaints and concerns without any fear for being intimidated. The whistle-blower protection policy is aimed at giving employees or stakeholders a platform through which they can channel their concerns to the appropriate legal parties.

Most financial institutions in the Australian context are currently designing whistle-blower programmes in a move to crack down intensifying dishonest, corruption, and illegal activities. Welford (2007) attributes the move to protect whistle-blowers will enable those with crucial information to present them to relevant authorities. Moreover, the adoption of the whistle-blower policy will guarantee these individuals protection, for instance, bank employees to expose those in the senior management. The provisions of the policy entail the role of the government in providing immunity to employees who would wish to point out cases of corruption and fraud in their working environment.

Those that are suppressed by confidentiality agreements by their employers will have an opportunity to present their cases without fear. However, there was a case where a whistle-blower, Jeff Morris experienced devastating outcomes that involved losing his job after whistleblowing against the CBA (Barker, 2017). In the exposé, Jeff Morris had revealed the prolonged corruption among the top seniors at CBA. Further information reported that there was cover up for the wrong doings that included; crooked plans that defrauded the poor and even the widows. Whereas whistle-blowers can choose to remain anonymous, the implementation of protection programmes will aim to avert any similar instances that Jeff Morris experienced at the hands of CBA.

  1. Enforcement

The CBA is committed to enforcing stipulated policies, procedure, and laws as directed by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The mandate of the CBA is to provide effective services to the customers and employees who remain crucial to the bank’s success. The implementation of the code of conduct will aim to ensure smooth execution of banking services. In the view of the rising cases threatening the reputation and image of the bank, the code of conduct will be enforced and those who breach the provisions of the codes will be forced to face the full force of the law.

According to Barth, Dopico, Nolle, and Wilcox (2002), the bank enforcement plans are structured to enhance the safety, efficiency, and competitiveness among the banking and financial institutions. The evidence of legal breaches of the requirements, for example, the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act can result in strict penalties directed to the financial institutions. For example, Warrick, Warrier, and Sarkar (2018) reported the move that the CBA embraced to revise and lower the salaries of the CBA’s executive after a commission of inquiry had been carried by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Additionally, the requirement of adhering to the anti-discrimination related laws, such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Racial Discrimination Act 1975 are pursued globally, therefore, CBA will ensure compliance throughout their branches. In addition to the code of conduct, the bank will ensure frequent amendments of the provisions and policies adopted to ensure that they meet the requirements directed by the legal regulation bodies.


ABC News. (2018) Commonwealth Bank admits to manipulation of children's accounts. ABC News [online]. 19th May. Available from: [Accessed 21 August, 2018].

Aleo, M. and Svirsky, P. (2008) Foreclosure fallout: The banking industry's attack on disparate impact race discrimination claims under the fair housing act and the equal credit opportunity act. Public Interest Journal. 18(1), pp.1-65.

Barker, A. (2017) Banking royal commission: Speaking out against CBA had 'horrific impact' on whistleblower. ABC News [online]. 30th November. Available from: [Accessed 21 August 2018].

Barth, J. R., Dopico, L. G., Nolle, D. E. and Wilcox, J. A. (2002) Bank Safety and Soundness and the Structure of Bank Supervision: A Cross?Country Analysis. International Review of Finance. 3(3?4), pp.163-188.

Belasen, A. T. and Toma, R. (2015) Confronting Corruption in Business: Trusted Leadership, Civic Engagement. New York: Routledge.

Bhasin, M. L. (2015) Menace of frauds in the Indian banking industry: an empirical study. Australian Journal of Business and Management Research. 4(12).

Bierstaker, J. L., Brody, R.G. and Pacini, C. (2006) Accountants' perceptions regarding fraud detection and prevention methods. Managerial Auditing Journal. 21(5), pp.520-535.

Cameron, L., Chaudhuri, A., Erkal, N. and Gangadharan, L. (2009) Propensities to engage in and punish corrupt behavior: Experimental evidence from Australia, India, Indonesia and Singapore. Journal of Public Economics. 93(7-8), pp.843-851.

Cohn, A., Fehr, E. and Maréchal, M. A. (2014) Business culture and dishonesty in the banking industry. Nature, 516(7529), p.86.

Dessin, C. L. (2005) Should attorneys have duty to report financial abuse of the elderly. Akron Law Review. 38, p.707.

Ghahramani, S. (2016) Sovereign Wealth and the Extraterritorial Manipulation of Corporate Conduct: A Multifaceted Paradigm in Transnational Law. The Oxford Handbook of Sovereign Wealth Funds (pp. 208-227). Oxford University Press.

Goyal, K. A. and Joshi, V. (2011) A study of social and ethical issues in banking industry. International Journal of Economics and Research. 2(5), 49-57.

Keay, L. (2017) Senior British banker, 60, claims race, sex and age discrimination after he was 'forced out of his job' and replaced by a younger Australian woman. Daily Mail [online]. 19th September.  Available from: [Accessed 21 August 2018]

Macey, J. and O'hara, M. (2003) The corporate governance of banks. Economic Policy Review. 9(1).

Pickett, K. S. and Pickett, J. M. (2002) Financial crime investigation and control. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Price, A. (2007) Human resource management in a business context. London: Thomson Learning.

Warrick, A., Warrier, G. and Sarkar, H. (2018) Australia's CBA slashes executive pay by $44 million after regulatory inquiry. Reuters [online]. 29th May Available from: [Accessed 21 August 2018]

Welford, R. (2007) Corporate governance and corporate social responsibility: issues for Asia. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management. 14(1), pp.42-51.

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