A corporation refers to a congregation of stakeholders namely employees, customers, investors, partners, government and society (Vallabhaneni, 2008 Pg, 56). It is the duty of the corporation to ensure transparency and fairness when dealing with stakeholders. A corporation will only be successful if it upholds an ethical conduct in all its dealings. Corporate governance refers to the crucial needs of success that any dwells on in order to mobilize and utilize the resources available to it so as to meet its objectives. Corporate governance involves a commitment to ethical business conduct and organizational values in order to maximize on stakeholders values (Zimmerli, 2007. Pg 69).
Corporate governance focuses on ethical conduct in an organization. Ethics is the code of values that enable a person to choose what is right or wrong. Sometimes ethical dilemmas may arise due to conflicting interests and perspectives of the parties involved. Such as situation prompts managers to make decisions based on a set of values and principles as stipulated in accordance to the values, culture and context of the organization (Fernando A. , 2009 Pg, 132). Good governance evolves as different circumstances arise as the organization must involve them in its principles (Fernando, 2010 Pg, 98). Therefore, there exist no single corporate governance models.
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Most people assume that corporate governance issues affect only the employees and customers of any organization. However, issues of ethics and corporate governance affect anyone or any firm that comes into contact with the organization (Vallabhaneni, 2008 Pg, 56). In universities, most students are to the idea that such issues will impact on their life after they complete their studies. Universities are corporations and need to uphold ethical conduct to all stakeholders. Students are some of the most significant stakeholders in a university setting. The university has various policies that outline how to handle issues and complaints from the students. These, in addition to the student's charter and the university's code of conduct, seek to determine the procedures of dealing with students' issues.
CQUniversity policies, code of conduct and the student's charter outlines the procedures to follow in dealing with issues concerning grades and results, academic progress, plagiarism, refunds and excess payments, students complaints and students misconduct. The following section will consider CQUniversity student charter, and assess whether it is relevant and conform to business ethics.
The student charter
The CQUniversity student charter outlines the university's vision and student related duties that it seeks to accomplish in order to realize this vision. The university's vision seeks to provide students with a positive student experience in a learning environment that is welcoming, safe and academically sound irrespective of the location or study mode. The sustainability of this vision, however, depends on the student commitment in taking responsibility of their academic journey. The charter also includes the expectations of the university from the students, in order to accomplish this dream (Students Charter, 2011).
Relevance to Business ethics
Business ethics refer to the moral guidelines that govern good behavior. Behaving in an ethical manner involve acting in a morally right way (Merritt, 2008 Pg, 71). Business ethics involves upholding qualities of truth, virtue, righteousness and justice to which business conduct follows. Code of conduct is a behavioral code that organizations should conform to, so as to promote dignity and reputation (Audi, 2008 Pg, 132).
Business ethics involve honesty, integrity, fairness, loyalty, commitment for excellence, policy on confidentiality and accountability among others. The issues that the student addresses reflect commendable business ethics. The university handles issues concerning students with honesty and integrity. The university upholds commitment for excellence through the provision of guidelines on academic performance for the students. The university undertakes the provision of quality education through teaching, engagement and research.
The university upholds fairness in the handling of student issues. The student charter provides for students involvement in decisions affecting them. Therefore, the university believes that no student should be victimized for challenging academic decisions. The university recognizes the diversity of the student's body and treats students fairly irrespective of their national, academic, social or economic background. The university respects such diversity and prohibits discrimination or harassment at all levels.
The university insists on good conduct on the part of students. The university prohibits behavior by its students that damages the reputation of the institution, or disrupts the peace of the students, thus interfering with the normal running of the university. Students should on their part desist from such conduct as per the charter. Students should respect intellectual property rights of others, and should refrain from academic misconduct such as plagiarism among others.
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The student's charter has to a large extent adhered to business ethics. Through the student charter, the university has portrayed various business ethics such as fairness, accountability, commitment to excellence, respect for others and confidentiality.
Transparency in corporate governance
Transparency refers to a principle that makes it possible for people that administrative decisions, charitable work and business decisions affect to know the facts, mechanisms and processes involved (Solomon, 2011 Pg, 92). Therefore, the managers and employees of any organization should act in a visible, understandable and predictable way. A transparent object allows enough light to pass through such that anybody can see through it. In the same way, an organization that is transparent enables stakeholders and the public to see through its actions.
Transparency in corporate governance goes hand in hand with integrity. An organization with a lot of integrity will have a relatively high rate of transparency. For this reason, many people consider transparency to be integrity (Hermalin, 2007). Transparency enhances the confidence of its stakeholder in the organization. Transparency involves reporting the financial facts and data promptly and in real time to stakeholders.
Over time, corporate governance has undergone scrutiny and changes in order to increase the level of transparency. This involves the increased regulations on financial reporting; the manner of reporting and who should report. International Accounting Standards, in addition to other regulations, are undergoing various changes pertaining to measurement, recognition, disclosure and reporting to ensure truth and fairness. Simultaneously, the field of auditing is also undergoing changes to ensure transparency. In addition to these, codes of best practice and legislation such as Acts of parliament are playing a profound role in improving openness (Hermalin, 2007 Pg, 45).
It is essential that organizations practice transparency through processes such as conducting business, recruiting, compensation and accounting. An organization's business conduct should be transparent so as to attract and retain investors. The financial reports should be truthful and honest, without requiring audits. Human resource managers should avoid corruption and nepotism in the selection process so as to preserve the reputation of the organization. The HR manager should also uphold transparent compensation policy for all employees.
Transparency is extremely significant in organizations especially from a stakeholder's perspective. Transparency determines the confidence that stakeholders have in the company. An organization that is highly transparent attracts investors easily, thus cutting on the cost of acquiring capital. Employees in a transparent organization avoid fraudulent activities, as well as put in place measures to fight fraud. This way, the organization increases its productivity and production capacity.
Transparency in corporate governance involves disclosure, but the two do not mean the same. Disclosure is a means to achieve transparency in an organization. Therefore, disclosure is a condition for transparency; necessary but not sufficient. Transparency involves telling stakeholders what they need to know, but disclosure involves bulky information that is sometimes hard to comprehend for stakeholders. Disclosure is a requirement by the law, while transparency is an ethical requirement. Transparency is a measure of an organization's level of disclosure, in addition to clarity, visibility and accuracy.
Disclosure is only part of the means to achieve transparency. For example, the law requires pharmaceutical and food manufacturers to disclose the ingredients of their products. Disclosing in itself does not amount to transparency. A firm may disclose the ingredients it uses, but unless the company is honest in the disclosures, it does not amount to transparency.
University policies and procedures
CQUniversity has various policies and procedures pertaining to issues affecting students and their learning process. These include student misconduct and plagiarism policy, students' complaints policy, refunds and excess balance policy, unsatisfactory academic progress policy, plagiarism procedures, grades and results procedures, assessment of course work procedures and unsatisfactory academic progress procedure (IMPortal, 2012).
Overview of policies and procedures
The purpose of coursework procedures seeks to ensure that assessment of coursework is of high quality, is efficient and effective and is student centered in its implementation and review. It is the duty of teachers to implement this procedure in order to achieve its aims. Students should on their part familiarize themselves with this policy and follow the procedures in order maximize on their educational opportunities. The policy outlines the assessment guidelines, assessment timetable, marking procedures, feedback and examination guidelines among others.
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Grades and results procedure seeks to specify the various grades available to the students at the university. The policy details guidelines on interim results, absent fail, deferred examination, incomplete, not sat and supplementary assessment among others (Our Policies, 2012). The policy also outlines the various grades that a student may get and their range of marks. These include high distinction, distinction, credit and pass.
The academic progress policy recognizes that the students come from different educational, social and economic backgrounds, and thus need continuous support in order to be successful in their studies. For this reason, the university provides a vast range of personal and academic skills sessions for orientation purposes. The university upholds the credibility of the institutions and its courses and programs by maintaining and advocating for commendable academic performance by its students.
Plagiarism procedures involve issues concerning plagiarism in coursework. The policy outlines the procedures involved in identifying, reporting and penalizing guilty students. A marker consults with a course coordinator to determine whether plagiarism has occurred. The marker then makes a report on the incident, attaching the supporting evidence (Our Policies, 2012). Penalties involve downgrading the marks by basing the assessment on the content of the work without plagiarism.
The purpose of refunds and excess payments policy is to detail the circumstances or events that may lead to a refund of credit balances or fees. This policy applies to all students; current and former, new applicants, both paying full fees and those supported by common wealth. The policy maintains that the institution will retain unclaimed funds.
Review of grades defines the procedures involved in reviewing grades. It includes the review process, informal consultation and appeals. The procedures have timelines that are quite strict, clear criteria for the review of grades to enable students to get advice or make a complaint. This policy provides that teachers should give progress reports and feedbacks to their students. The students should discuss the progress with their teachers for appropriate advice (Our Policies, 2012).
Student complaints policy advises students on the procedures of making complaints and the manner in which the university records and settles them. The university handles complaints on the basis of principles pertaining to visibility and access, good decision making, assessment and action, responsiveness, monitoring effectiveness and feedback. This procedure is based on the customer relationship management system that allows transparency and ease of access.
The student misconduct and plagiarism policy is based on the values of honesty and integrity. It requires acceptable and appropriate standards of behavior and misconduct in the learning environment and the workplace in order to achieve its functions. The university does not tolerate any acts that damage its reputation, or interfere with the student's ability to participate in normal university activities or disturb the peace in the university premises.
Transparency appraisal involves conducting an analysis of an organization's activities to determine the level of transparency. This involves analysis of the policies, their content and ease of access of these policies. In my own opinion, CQUniversity is transparent. This is evident from the universities policies and procedures that the administration follows to the letter.
The policies are readily available at the institution's website, and are easy to locate. The policies are easy to read and understand. This amount to visibility and clarity, both which amounts to transparency. The policy clearly indicates what the administration's duty, and what is expected from the students. The policies cover issues concerning critical issues such as grades review, refund of credit balances and plagiarism among others.
For example, in the refund of credit balance policy, the university lays out the procedures to get a refund. This policy does not discriminate against any students or workers. Student eligible to get a refund can easily do so by following the procedure stipulated by the policy. The university may only retain the funds only if the student or staff fails to claim the funds. This demonstrates honesty and integrity on the part of the university. The issue of grading review has clearly stipulated the manner in which the teachers award grades on assessments and the range of marks for these grades. Students can easily consult the policy in order to ensure that the grades awarded to them are legitimate.
These are just but a few issues that the institution has disclosed and are visible to the students and the public. These policies clearly indicate that the universities procedures are clearly known. Transparency increases the confidence of the stakeholders especially the students in the learning system, which translates to excellent performance. This also enhances the reputation and integrity of the organization (Placeholder2).