In partnership with The Ethics Centre, the Australian Institute of Company Directors presents a guide for making ethical decisions in the boardroom.

    The role of a director in governing an organisation is made more complex by a myriad of ethical issues that impact on board decision-making. Boardroom practices are also central to setting the right tone and values throughout an organisation.

    Ethics in the Boardroom: A Decision-Making Guide for Directors is designed to support directors in considering ethical issues as they discharge their duties.

    How can it be used?

    The report may be used:

    • as a general resource for directors;
    • to identify specific areas for strengthening a board’s capacity in relation to ethics; and
    • to inform conversations about the ethical dimensions of complex issues encountered by individual directors and by the board as a whole.

    Features of the guide

    Ethical issues vary in their scope. Some relate to organisational matters, while others are of broader societal concern. Ethics in the Boardroom invites directors to view decisions through four lenses.

    Ethical lenses:

    1. General influences – how an issue affects the organisation as a participant in society, e.g. climate change.
    2. The board’s collective culture and character – as reflects the purpose, values and principles of the organisation.
    3. Interpersonal relationships and reasoning – how the dynamics of the boardroom influence decisions.
    4. The individual director – the motivations, biases and reasoning styles of board members.

    To assist directors in identifying and examining ethical issues, the guide also provides a five-step decision-making framework through which to apply each of the four lenses.

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