Recent activities by some individuals in boardrooms and management have called into question whether their behaviour or ethics are in the best interests of shareholders and or wider stakeholders or communities (Ferguson & Gillett 2020; Vieira 2020). If directors and top management show little regard to culture, norms and business ethics in society, then in these circumstances, how well are other financial and non-financial risks identified and monitored? At a country level, a national corporate regulating body or (Federal) government could have Royal Commissions into an industry or sector behaving badly and change legislation to rein in poor director and executive management behaviour (Roddan 2020). At other levels, shareholder meeting votes, shareholder activism or whistleblowers can shine a light on untoward behaviour, including fraud and greed at the expense of shareholders (Ferguson & Gillett 2020; Tricker 2019). Elsewhere, market mechanisms such as mergers and acquisitions through the financial markets by other organisations, or bank covenants, administration and bankruptcy statutory processes, can control boards and executive management excesses even if it is sometimes too late.
On the other hand, boards and management doing the right thing can be caught off guard by uncertain events that cause risks at the strategic, managerial or operational levels. Boards of directors need to be made aware of and, preferably, have strategies in place for uncertain events and risks. Some risk examples at the strategic level include the recent COVID-19 pandemic or the ongoing effects of climate change and postures away from fossil fuel use, etc. (AAP 2020; Roddan 2020). Managerial and operational-level risks are more closely aligned with each organisation and their aversion to risk, and budget capacities to mitigate known risks or prepare for potential uncertain events (Tricker 2019).
Conduct a review of at least two uncertain events that lead to financial and or non-financial risks (i.e. at the strategic and management or operational levels) in an organisation of your choice as a corporate governance issue. Write a critical report about your findings. Use the concepts, tools and techniques to review these issues at the board and/or management levels.
Your assessment submission must include:
1. Context and scope in the introduction section for the governance of risk at your selected organisation, for example, a definition and description of at least two uncertain events and their associated risks.
2. A brief evaluation of the board and management at your selected organisation with respect to risk from a financial and non-financial perspective, i.e. current and recent past situation.
3. An outline of which laws, corporate governance rules, concepts, theory or frameworks, standards, perspectives, guidelines or principles, and corporate, social, governance and sustainability issues or shareholder activism, etc., are relevant for the review. Critically and in an in-depth manner, discuss and argue their importance for your organisation.
4. A critical analysis and evaluation of the selected organisation’s recent two uncertain events and identified associated financial and non-financial risks. That is, at least one risk at the strategic level and one risk at the managerial or operational levels (i.e. more than two risks or uncertain events can be identified) and models/tools used to identify risk impact/likelihood of an event and explain any controls in place, for example, risk matrix, risk mapping framework. See, for example, Figure 8.5 in Tricker (2019, p. 222).
5. An evaluation and reasoning of the preparedness of the board and/or management in having measures in place for when uncertain events happen that lead to risks at various risk levels within your chosen organisation. What mechanisms are in place to make sure the board are kept well informed of managerial or operational risks by management? [Hint: check annual reports, for example, for financial and non-financial evidence.]
6. Recommendations of improvement explicitly identified for the board and/or executive management based on your review of the risks they have had or could expect.
7. A summary of the main findings in your conclusions section
It is important to demonstrate your knowledge of the corporate governance issue and clearly reference your sources. Read about your issue in journal articles, books, industry reports, entity reports, business literature, etc. Remember to note down your sources while researching and reference them correctly in the report.
To do well in this assessment, you need to:
• structure your discussion appropriately
• use paragraphs of 3–8 sentences
• not write in the first person or too descriptively
• write critically and in-depth and include citations where appropriate (i.e. Author-Date, page number(s))
• use double quotation marks for direct quotations of 30 words or less and indent quotations over 30 words with no quote marks
• use appropriate in-text citations (i.e. Author-Date)
• use appropriate in-text citations when paraphrasing/summarising other authors works and especially entity facts
• source tables/figures (even in appendices) appropriately
• use and reference credible sources
• clearly link recommendations to the description and analysis presented earlier in the report.
Example heading structure
Executive Summary (i.e. 250 words or less)
Table of Contents
2. Governance and management roles
3. Legislation, Theory, Corporate Governance Principles or Guidelines related to case organisation
4. Committees, external auditor, company secretary responsibilities for risks
5. Financial (e.g. activism) and non-financial (e.g. CSR and sustainability) risks
6. Uncertain event risk mapping framework(s) related to case organisation
7. Board risk awareness impacts on conformance and performance
References (i.e. with at least six credible source references; closer to 12 would be better)
Appendices (please use them sparingly if you must)
Appendix A (you must refer to these as Appendix A or B, etc. in the main body of your report)
Appendix B (tables and figures must be sourced appropriately to avoid academic integrity issues).
AAP 2020, July 31, ‘James Murdoch resigns from news corp board’, Dow Jones Institutional News, viewed 15 August 2020, https://search-proquest-com.aib.idm.oclc.org/docview/2429378515?accountid=188653.
Ferguson, A & Gillette, C 2020, Aug 24, ‘Icare whistleblower speaks out on culture of corruption at workers’ compensation insurance agency’, ABC News, viewed 15 September 2020, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-24/icare-workers-compensation-insider-speaks-out/12583058.
Vieira, P 2020, Sep 09, ‘Canadian charity ensnared in Trudeau ethics scandal to shut down; WE charity, with ties to family of prime minister Justin Trudeau, cites political fallout from uproar for decision’, Wall Street Journal, viewed 15 September 2020, https://search-proquest-com.aib.idm.oclc.org/docview/2441019988?accountid=188653.
Roddan, M 2020, May 27, ‘ASIC braces for ‘EBITDAC’ rash as firms claim coronavirus hit’, The Australian Financial Review, p. 19, viewed 13 September 2020, https://search-proquest-com.aib.idm.oclc.org/docview/2406528073?accountid=188653.
Tricker, B 2019, Corporate governance: principles, policies, and practices, 4th edition, Oxford University Press.