Doing good for whom? Exploring corporate governance and the role of ethical climates in an Australian not for profit aged care organisation:  A hybrid practitioner/researcher perspective.

Ms Donna Dark1

1Lighthouse Advisory Services/University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia


Not for profit aged care organisations in Australia have had a longstanding and trusted role as service providers to older Australians. However, this role is increasingly under threat.

These threats come from multiple sources: a dual reform agenda across the not for profit and aged care sectors converging on the governance principles of accountability and transparency; increased competition from for-profit organisations; and the fallout of a series of corporate and clinical governance failures across the sector.

Although governance is a new area of assessment within the aged care quality standards in Australia,  it is not a new concept for any organisation.

Rather than recommend a new corporate governance approach, or an overhaul of existing corporate governance frameworks, this presentation suggests that good governance today requires not for profit aged care organisations to initially spend some time understanding their existing organisational ethical climates before they determine next steps.

An ethical climate is described as the shared perception of employees, Board and other members of an organisation regarding its norms, values and behaviour. The ethical climate in an organisation acts as a reference point for members to determine the correct decision to make in a given situation.

Ethical climates are a subset of an organisation’s culture and are influenced by a variety of factors both internal and external to the organisation. Importantly, ethical climates tell us how it is, rather than how it should be.

This presentation provides insights from recent doctoral research and practitioner observations to help organisations start the conversation.

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