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Corporate governance disasters and developments: Implications for university governing bodies

Holloway, D.A. (2004) Corporate governance disasters and developments: Implications for university governing bodies. Australian Universities Review, 46 (2). pp. 23-30.

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The last decade has seen a series of financial disasters in large corporations worldwide, many of them precipitated by shoddy and unethical corporate governance. The higher education sector has for the moment avoided disasters of this scale but the threat is a real one. Australia needs to seriously consider international best practice lest it experience a 'Unigate'. This paper investigates parallel issues in corporate governance and university governance. It analyses the recent recommendations for reform of university governance embedded in the federal government's 2003 Our Universities: Backing Australia's Future document, in the wider context of proposed reforms to corporate governance. The author advocates an expansion of the role of the chair and the independent members of university governing bodies as well as the role of independent directors on company boards. In addition, he argues that the construction of a healthy 'boardroom' culture is central to the effective functioning of the governance process. The article analyses the notion of management prerogative in decision- making the public sector, and details international developments in corporate governance during the 1990s and later. It then focuses on events and changes in the Australian context and try to determine the best of the 'best practice' models that have emerged from this reform fervor and discusses whether this has had any impact (negative or positive) on corporate performance. It concludes by exploring the implications for senior university managers and members of governing bodies.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Publisher: National Tertiary Education Union
Copyright: 2004 NTEU
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