News story 13th Nov 2014

Corporate and Social Responsibility Conference

The Department of Management hosted a Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics Conference for master's students last month.

"This conference is a great example of how we aim to instil ethics and social responsibility in our students, who are the leaders of tomorrow," said Dr Cristina Neesham from the Department of Management, one of the conference organisers.

The day opened with a guest lecture by Mr Rick Woods, Group General Manager of Fibre Packaging of the Orora Group Ltd (formerly Amcor Australia). Mr Woods spoke about the challenges he had faced as a leader working in national and international business over 25 years.

Corporate conference

Through his extensive leadership experience Mr Woods has seen both good and bad examples of ethical behaviour. He indicated that staff needs to have a strong connection to its organisation's values.

"Values aren't discussed often enough. Organisations don't recruit enough of the right people to implement their corporate social responsibility policies and ethics. But those organisations who are ethical, are also more successful and sustainable," he said.
Mr Woods said that his own strong values of honesty, integrity and respect for people have held him in good stead throughout his career, contributing significantly to his success in business.

He told the students about some great advice he once received from a manager: "When you work on a project overseas, you are not only representing yourself but your company and country as well. And it is your responsibility to do this well."
Mr Woods' guest lecture was followed by two student groups who presented case studies on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The first group presented on how CSR should be enacted by Telstra in relation to 'rural Australia's broadband black spot'. They concluded that influential companies such as Telstra have a responsibility to those living in rural Australia, ensuring access to efficient telecommunications services that are comparable to those of Australians in metropolitan areas. This could be achieved by Telstra allowing additional telecommunications providers access to its towers, shared access to the National Broadband Network, and by improving the quality of its towers.

The second group presented on CSR for GlaxoSmithKline in response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and how they might establish partnerships to deliver the most effective strategy for this health crisis. Their analysis exposed a significant gap between current and possible outcomes in industry practice.

They suggested GlaxoSmithKline should enact CSR in a collaborative fashion, through diffused contribution, using corporate governance and industry partnerships throughout the supply chain to facilitate lasting results in order to overcome this medical emergency.

The conference was co-organised by Dr Michelle Greenwood and Dr Susan Mayson, also from the Department of Management.