ACU study says business ethics recognised but not practised

While company boards seem to be taking ethics more seriously, they are talking about it more often and rolling out mission and vision statements to help them make tough decisions.

CLICK HEREThe Age reports that a new study by the Centre for Research into Ethics and Decision-Making in Organisations at the Australian Catholic University shows there is not much evidence that companies are actually complying with their own ethical guidelines, according to a study released yesterday.

The study, commissioned by the Australian Council of Super Investors (ACSI), has found that 73% of companies believe their mission and vision statements provide valid guidelines for decision making.

But only 30% require directors to sign off on these, suggesting little value in having the statements in the first place.

At the same time, 80% of chairmen said ethics had been discussed in the past year.

Putting concerns into practice was something else. While most chairmen who responded to the survey said ethics was at the heart of their decision making, issues such as conflicts of interest and environmental risk were not seen as core issues.

Further, boards were focus only on shareholders and institutions, rather than stakeholders.

The low response rate to the survey might also suggest that Australian businesses are struggling with being transparent.

The study, by the Centre for Research into Ethics and Decision-Making in Organisations at the Australian Catholic University, was based on seven themes of questions that were sent to the chairmen of the Top 200. Only 16% responded.

"The 84% that did not reply could indicate a serious problem of lack of openness and transparency in the corporate sector," the study said.

Boardroom ethics lag in walking the talk (The Age 21/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
ACU National
Australian Council of Super Investors | A Survey of Ethical & Value Practices of the Top 200 Listed Companies (broken link to study at 9:00 am Fri.)

ACU National and the Encyclopedia of Melbourne (Australian Catholic University 19/10/05)
ACU National launches Graduate Certificate in Interfaith Relations (Australian Catholic University 13/10/05)

21 Oct 2005