What were the key areas of content?
The business capstone subject substantiated and reinforced concepts of project management and leadership learned in other subjects throughout business-related degrees. The subject reiterated principles of corporate governance and responsibility, human rights, and the implied responsibility of companies to act responsibly with regard to their environment – both on a macro and micro scale. Social and environmental issues in global commerce were examined, paired with suggested courses of action. The subject also provokes students to devise their own solutions to problems based on the concepts outlined in the course material. This enables students to build practical problem-solving abilities crucial to any position of corporate leadership.
How will this apply to my future working life?
Since the responsible decision-making practices covered in COMM331 are practical in nature while still remaining broad enough to cover many different positions and industries, I can see the course content and its accompanying skill set becoming useful for any leadership role I may undertake or apply for. Corporate responsibility does not only apply to CEOs and the board of a company, rather it encompasses all agents of the company. Whether my roles involve employee or board member roles, principles of CSR, the UN Global Compact, values and identity as well as all other areas covered in COMM331 involve all parties of responsible organisations. For this reason, I can see these skills being useful in almost any position or industry I find myself in.
UNGC: A belief statement
Throughout businesses, the UN Global Compact principles guide agents and stakeholders of the company to act in a way that reflects its outlined principles of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. It’s up to the business themselves to actually implement this and determine the measures by which staff will be trained accordingly. Effectively, this means that as long as businesses are seen as being sufficiently compliant with the UN Global Compact, their specific implementation and management of these policies is largely self-regulated. On one hand, implementation of policies compliant with the UN Global Compact could yield financial and timely costs to the company, the reputational benefit of a company fully compliant with these policies across all facets of the company could be well worth the outlay. This effect was observed first-hand in the IDLE simulation exercise, whereby significant one-time or ongoing investments in CSR and UNGC increased the company’s reputation. These improvements in reputation led to proportionate increases in sales. It’s up to the company to weigh the initial investment against projected positive outcomes and decide on how these responsible business practices are implemented.
Does this change my opinion?
I came into COMM331 with just an average understanding of CSR concepts from previous subjects; this subject helped to link together a lot of small, seemingly disjointed parts into a coherent understanding of CSR and UNGC. The new content made me realize that the implementation of CSR and UNGC compliant policies is not as simple as it may seem on the surface. The importance of being compliant is higher than I had initially thought; I also hadn’t closely thought about the potential upside benefits in terms of reputation and consecutive sales that could be experienced by the company. I also hadn’t considered the flexibility on companies’ part as to how they actually implement CSR and UNCG compliant behaviours into their ecosystem.