MBA402 Code of Conduct Adopted for Westpac Bank Assessment Answer
The report will be critically demonstrating the code of conduct adopted for the Westpac bank. The code of conduct will be taking into consideration six perspectives exploitation, whistleblower protections, enforcement dishonest and fraudulent behaviour, corruption and discrimination. The code will be evaluating the company values and implement it within the context of the company. Enumeration of the company principles will be allowing the company to attain a competitive edge. The specific assignment will aim to resolve the corporate governance issues experienced by the Westpac bank by restructuring the code of ethics.
Organisational code of conduct
As stated by Liu and Yiao (2019), the company code of conduct is documentation clarifying the vision and mission statements of a company and further indulge in standardizing professional conduct. Off late Westpac bank faced considerable challenges in regards to corporate governance. As per the perspectives of Australian Transaction report and analysis centre a lawsuit has been announced on 20th November 2019 owing to money laundering acts (Johnson, 2019). The bank could not give justifications for A$11 billion of payments generated in and out of the country. The bank was unable to address the due diligence properly on 12 of its consumers, whose accounts were subjected to repetition of small payments to Southern parts of Asia, irrespective of the fact, the bank knew they will be falling to justify their position. Amidst huge pressure, the chairman of the company also resigned. As a consequence, the Royal Commission proposed abolishing of “money for nothing” commission in regards to loan provisions. In the year 2019, the advocates of human rights accused the bank by stating the fact that the protocols of non-financial risk are nearly lagging behind 20 years after revealing that the bank was associated with the exploitation of children in South-Eastern region of Asia. The case was highlighted stating the fact that 12 of its consumers took active participation in making payments for children pornography (Vickovich, 2019). The incident of sexual exploitation even worsened the image of the brand in comparison to the money laundering act. As per an article published in the year 2020, the consumers of Westpac banks are facing technical challenges as some of the transactions initiated by them was duplicated. Some consumers stated that their payments were processed two times (Edmunds, 2020). In this context, the bank stated that the displaying of the banks was correct and transactions which were appearing to be processed twice was put one time. Rising complaints about the duplication of the insurance policies clear highlighted the issues of Westpac bank in regards to corporate governance. Therefore, there is an essentiality for Westpac bank for reformulating code of ethics regulations.
Corruption is subjected to conducting fraudulent activities for gaining illicit benefits. Hafner-Burton and Schneider (2019) opined that sharing misleading information can also be regarded as an act of corruption. Employees often start lacking confidence in senior management due to the presence of a working environment polluted by corruptive activities. The company's public image can also get hampered due to conduction of corruptive activities and can often indulge themselves in lawsuits. For example, if an organisation suppresses its financial transactions for gaining surplus benefits, it could be termed as a corruption act. Likewise, if an organisation declares the fact it is bankrupted or some misleading acts have happened within the working environment, then it will be served as a non-corruptive act. For alleviating corruption, the bank will be embracing the below-mentioned code of ethics.
- The management shall ensure that no business goals are fulfilled in a way which is breaching the outlined guidelines in the ethical codes
- Acceptance of gifts is prohibited which might be impacting any official decisions from the higher authorities in any situation.
- If the employees of the bank are convicted of doing corruptive activities, they can be suspended, terminated and penalized which will de depending upon the severity of the cause.
- For detecting misconducts happening in the office environment, the management shall take active participation in conducting anti-bribe assessment and internal audit
- It shall be taken into consideration every employee of the bank is strictly abiding by the regulations set under the anti-corruption policies
Dishonest and Fraudulent Behaviour
It is very much essential from the perspective of the organisation to stay transparent and exhibit activities based on facts and information. Pervasiveness will automatically be coming into existence if the organisation is indulged into fraudulent activities (Lee et al. 2019). Suppression of finance-oriented information, thefts carried out by employees and sharing misleading data can often hamper the reputation of the Westpac bank. On several situations, companies take the initiative of perpetrating fraudulent activities to handle specific challenges. If the dishonest acts peep in the organizational environment, it will automatically be affecting the employee morale, thus performance is effected automatically. For instance, hiding specific financial information for churning more organizational benefits can be related to a dishonest activity. Similarly, when an employee stretches his contribution as an employee for compensating the loss of the company, honest behaviour is impacted. Conducting fraudulent activities is determined as an ongoing process in the office environment. As stated by Houdek (2017), it has been observed on several occasions, that companies take the initiative of proving themselves as ethical conductor of business activities, however, in real practise, unfair means are often adopted for addressing the business goals. Many times it is been observed that senior authorities are usually more indulged in fraud-related activities, and at times employees have to be dishonest forcefully owing to management pressure. The Westpac bank will be abiding by the following code of conduct to avoid conduction of such activities at the workplace.
- The banking authorities shall provide adequate training and educate the staffs for spreading awareness regarding the dire consequences of committing fraudulent and dishonest acts.
- The banking authorities shall be keeping in mind that they have to safeguard the assets and private data of the company
- Timely conducting of risk assessments are needful for determining whether the employees are conducting any fraudulent acts or not and thereby taking stringent actions.
- Any employees or authorities convicted of committing fraudulent acts will be subjected to penalties, temporary suspensions and termination based on the severity of the issue
- The authorities should take active participation in auditing workplace procedures to make sure it is immune to dishonest activities.
Unfair treatment of employees has been applicable on numerous occasions which hampers their dedication to work. Having a specific prejudice often compels a manager to discriminate amongst the employees. For example, judging the performance of an individual based on caste and race can be referred to as an example of discriminatory practices. Similarly, selecting an employee based on merit is an example of a non-discriminatory act. Jones et al. (2017) stated that direct discriminatory practices usually happen when an assumption is created regarding the capability or performance delivery of an individual. Aged employees are usually subjected to discrimination in comparison to young employees. An indirect form of discrimination is also commenced in the organizational context, if the company promises to treat employees fairly, however they take decisions based on personal preferences and form of bias. For instance, selecting a non-performing candidate over a potential employee for performance appraisal based on rapport is an example of an indirect discriminatory act. The code of conduct proposed for Westpac bank for avoiding discrimination are evaluated below:
- If any employee is convicted of assisting any other subordinate for promoting discrimination, the penalty will be applicable
- The management will take active participation in promoting a diverse and open working culture where employees will be treated equally and individual differences will be minimized.
- Employees will be guided to respect each other differences and conduct work collaboratively
- Every subordinate of the company will be having equal rights for putting up any issues or offences faced from the senior authorities and needful measures shall be taken
- There shall be the complete elimination of any practices related to race, caste, creed, the ability to earn and sexual orientation
- All the employees of the organisation will be getting equal opportunities for getting performance appraisal and other forms of employee benefits.
Exploitation has been an ongoing perspective these days and to conduction of any acts by a person or a group of people where other members are subjected to mistreatment for taking un drew advantage from their work (Kang and Kim. 2019). For instance, selecting a needy employee and harassing her sexually can be determined as an act of exploitation. Similarly, supporting a needy employee with advancement payment is much appreciated in real practice. The organizational could of conduct be devised in a wat so that there will be complete alleviations of certain situations such as pushing an employee unnecessarily for overtime, female employees getting subjected to workplace harassment, unethical pay cut etc. Acts of exploitation can sometimes have a detrimental impact on the mentality of employees (Greco, Charlier and Brown, 2019). An employee who has been exploited in the past often develops a tendency of doing the same behaviour with the juniors when he attains a stronghold in the organisation. The code of ethics formulated for avoiding exploitation are evaluated below:
- The company will take active initiation in compensating those employees who have been victimized by workplace exploitation
- If the employees feel unsafe in the organisation, they will be having the liberty of addressing the same to the concerned individual.
- Any senior authorities found guilty of conducting sexual harassment will be heavily penalized, resulting in a pay cut, termination and sometimes even blacklisted if the issue is too much serious
- If the bank officials unnecessarily exert pressure on the employees then stringent actions shall be taken
- Female employees shall be protected from any acts of exploitation and if male employee tend to harass female candidates then he will be penalized if proved guilty
- The management shall be strongly prioritizing the welfare of employees instead of only aiming to address business goals
- The company will take active initiation to comply with the national as well as local low to maintain organizational safety effectively
Enforcement comes into existence when the subordinates take the initiative of following an individual who is usually having the audacity to ensure that the regulations and rules in the company are commenced properly. As opined by Wolfe et al. (2018), enforcement allows a company to keep a check over the inappropriate behaviour of individuals and maintain a coordinative form of working culture. However, on several occasions, enforcers take advantage of their position and misguide subordinates in an organisation. Successful enforcement shall ensure that there is complete adhere to company ethics and rules by everyone in the organisation and anyone breaching the terms shall be penalized with immediate effect. The rules shall be updated and employees shall be notified of the needful changes. The code of ethics to be followed by the Westpac bank are as follows:
- The rules that will be created by the enforcers shall be in alignment with the best interest of the organisation
- If the employees persistently fail to address the organizational rules, then he can be subjected to pay cut or demotions
- If an employee takes the initiative of instigating colleagues for avoiding company rules, he may be suspended and his salary may be given go on hold depending on the criticality of the scenario.
- Printed versions of the company rules and regulations will be distributed to all members of the company so that they are aware of their do’s and don’ts within the organizational environment
Whistleblowers can be termed as those individuals who are knowledgeable about the inside stories of the company in regards to dishonest and unlawful practices. Whistleblowers are very much helpful in protecting the organizational information and resources getting exposed to the interference of the third party (Near and Miceli. 2016). For example, whistleblowers can ruin a company profile as well by passing over sensitive information to competitor brands in return of financial gains. Similarly, a whistleblower can also inform a company regarding any potential threats so that measurements can be taken. In regards to the specific scenario, Westpac banks shall be considering the application of whistleblower protection for the respective employees to keep them safe from outside influences. The code of ethics formed for whistleblower protections are illustrated below:
- Employees will have the liberty of disclosing any data associated with unfair acts, irrespective of the fact it is against the senior management on some occasions
- The employees shall express their concern either through written format, mails or voice recording
- The complaints shall be emailed to the respective Ombudsperson by utilizing the official identity card of the individual responsible
- In case, the unfair practices are carried out by a group of people, departmental consequences will be levied.
While concluding, it is discussed that all the subordinates and senior persons of the company shall abide by the ethical rules and policies for operating the business in good spirit. Maintaining the conducts properly will in improving the public image about the Westpac bank in the competitive market. Employees shall be subjected to fair treatment and any form of discriminatory practices shall be withheld. Lack of transparency and conduction of fraudulent activities will be resulting in suspension, demotion, pay and termination based on the criticality of the scenario. The company will tend to abide by a diverse and open working culture so that coordination can be attained amongst the employees and management.