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Governance Intel: March 2012

Busara Governance Intel Newsletter


Welcome to Governance Intel, the first newsletter of Busara Integrated Governance, a division of Busara Leadership Partners. Our quarterly newsletter will explore issues of governance, strategy and leadership that we hope will be of interest to you.

In this issue we explore the controversial, but little-aired, issue of “Ethics, Sex and Power” – do men and women have differing ethical beliefs and responses to ethical transgressions? We also look at why having courage is a pre-requisite to being an effective board member.

Ethics, Sex and Power

Our media is rife with reports of unethical conduct by both men and women. We also often read stories of unethical sexual behaviour between persons where there is a power differential – that of supervisor or manager and subordinate. This started me thinking: do men and women have differing responses to ethical transgressions? And if they do, would a woman’s response to a situation change when she is in a position of power? Women have been fighting inequality on all fronts for centuries. We want to be treated equitably and we want to occupy positions of power without obstacles being put in our path. Are we, however, willing to rationalise certain unethical behaviour to achieve the power? Are some of us in fact becoming transgressors as we rise to power?

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Can't stand the heat, get out of the boardroom!

The economic crisis and the prolonged global downturn and uncertainty have placed immense stress on organisations which have added greater demands and pressures on boards. There has been a demand for increased regulation and legislation, especially with regard to governance, transparency, sustainability and accountability. Personal values and ethical aspirations of boards are implicit in good corporate governance. When we assess the financial crisis and the corporate scandals that have rocked our world in the past few decades, in retrospect, it appears that board members were fiscally irresponsible and negligent in their fiduciary duties. Ethics without the courage to stand up for and to act in line with one’s belief system, keeps corporate governance in the realm of theory and ideals rather than practice. The lack of potent courage that is required for assuring organisational integrity could have been contributory to corporate failures and the economic crisis. It is likely that some board members did not have the courage to intervene timeously so as to not be seen as being distrustful of the motives and activities of the management, their practices and internal controls.

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What is Good Governance?

Governance has become an issue of global importance. An important theme of corporate governance deals with issues of accountability and fiduciary duty, essentially advocating the implementation of policies and mechanisms to ensure good behaviour and protect shareholders. Well-defined and enforced governance provides a structure that, at least in theory, works for the benefit of everyone concerned by ensuring that society adheres to accepted ethical standards and best practices as well as to formal laws. Laws and regulations alone will not improve governance practices. You cannot legislate ethics. Good governance is about effective, ethical leadership based on the universal governance principles of transparency, fairness, responsibility and accountability.

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Our blog

African Women in Leadership

The Telephone ConversationMonday, 8th of March was International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world”. I anticipated that most discussions, as every year, would lament under-representation of #women in leadership. The business sector has continued not to fare well since the inception of democracy with the public sector (government and civic society organisations) doing better in gender equity and granting access to women into senior #leadership and management positions... Read More

The Telephone Conversation

The Telephone ConversationHumanity can use reflective times such as the Covid-19 pandemic to become better. Or miss the opportunity to reset. To dust we return. Our physical appearance is the test of our humanity. How we treat each other in the shells of race and gender is the lesson for our Souls. One of my most favourite poems! Read More

Cheating is about how you feel about yourself

Reflecting on what being inspirational means.Reflecting on what being inspirational means. What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.Nelson Mandela How do you know when you inspire someone? If no one ever gives you the feedback (or it never reaches your ears) does that...Read More

Reflecting on what being inspirational means.

Reflecting on what being inspirational means.Reflecting on what being inspirational means. What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.Nelson Mandela How do you know when you inspire someone? If no one ever gives you the feedback (or it never reaches your ears) does that...Read More

Busara Leadership Partners - changing the image and experience of consulting

Busara Leadership Partners  - changing the image and experience of consultingBusara Leadership Partners - changing the image and experience of consulting I reached back into the archives for an article I wrote in October 2016. What has really changed since then, despite the Covid-19 epidemic? Well maybe that we use Zoom rather than Skype these days 😃😀😃 #Throwback2016: My American Mentor chuckled last night when she was reading out the agenda I had sent...Read More

Steve Bantu Biko - Black (Wo) Man You Are On Your Own

Steve Bantu Biko  - Black (Wo) Man You Are On Your OwnSteve Bantu Biko - Black (Wo) Man You Are On Your Own Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life. Its essence is the realisation by the black (wo)man of the need to rally together and to operate as a group to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude. - Steve BikoThat is where we missed the plot. Political power...Read More

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Wisdom of the Month

"When the music changes, so does the dance." African Proverb