Section 6: Dialogue
|Principle 6 | Dialogue: We will facilitate and support dialog and debate among educators, students, business, government, consumers, media, civil society organisations and other interested groups and stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.|
UNSW Strategy 2025 positions us to lead the discussion on the major challenges of our time and translate our discoveries into social benefit. Our thought leadership, and equity, diversity and inclusion programs influence debate, policy and practice to create a more just society.
In playing our role, UNSW Business School engages in dialogue with multiple stakeholders in multi-media ways on critical issues of social responsibility and sustainability. Our stakeholders include educators, students, business, government, consumers, media, civil society organisations, groups and individuals.
Our dialogue occurs through multi-media, including conferences, workshops, radio, print, such as journals and submissions, and of course, web technology. Through dialogue we promote collaboration across our own campus. We use various media to explore critical issues, such as climate change and social disadvantage, and to celebrate the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and continue to make – to their communities, families, and to our nation. We publish research that explores, for example, rights, equality or justice-based approaches to labour relations and social policy. We contribute to public debate as well as educate and promote business and economic literacy through radio and we use our networks nationally and internationally with other institutions and business schools to promote the principles of responsible management education and encourage others to join the PRME organisation.
6.1 Business School’s PRME Community of Practice
The Business School’s commitment to fostering dialogue on critical issues of social responsibility and sustainability is coordinated through the PRME Community of Practice (CoP), which has been active since its inception almost 10 years ago. Recent activities include a CoP lunch meeting which celebrated the group’s 2018 achievements (including Global Climate Change Week – see Section 6.2) and planned for topics, presenters and events for 2019. On the agenda was a special presentation by Professor Peter Sheldon his report for the CFMMEU, investigating how to achieve a just transition for mining communities in Australia (see Section 2.2).
The success of the PRME CoP is due, in large part, to the dedication of our champions, such as Dr Tracy Wilcox. A founding member of the CoP and Postgraduate Academic Program Director, Dr Wilcox is an established ethics scholar and Associate Editor of the Journal of Business Ethics, a FT50 journal. As well as providing guidance and direction to the School’s PRME program, Dr Wilcox is regularly called on to share her experience and insight on PRME related themes. She was invited to Massey University (New Zealand) in 2017 to conduct PRME professional development with Massey Business School staff and deliver a keynote, “Responsible Management Education: 21st Century Challenges”. Dr Wilcox was a lead organiser of a workshop on “Domestic Violence and Organizations: Creating a Dialogue between Practice & Management Studies” held in June 2018, at which 50 scholars and domestic violence practitioners from Australia, North and South America, UK, and Europe shared current practice and future directions in this important area. In May 2017, she presented a public workshop on “Leadership for Social Purpose” at the Think Outcomes conference, CSI, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia (SIMNA).
In 2018, Dr Wilcox was awarded the Business School’s PRME Award for Social Engagement in recognition of her outstanding contribution to A Just Society (a Strategy 2025 pillar) and sustained passion and commitment to furthering responsible management education and research.
Co-ordinator of the PRME CoP, Dr Louise Fitzgerald, was invited to STIESIA Business School, Surabaya Indonesia, in January 2019 to lead a workshop on “How PRME could benefit STIESIA”. If STIESIA goes ahead with its plan to join up as a signatory to the PRME community, it would be the first institution in Indonesia to do so.
6.2 Global Climate Change Week (GCCW)
In October 2018, the Business School’s PRME CoP coordinated GCCW activities across the UNSW campus, drawing attention to how the university engages in addressing climate change. Presentations, workshops, discussion panels, a PechaKucha and an industry visit were held involving staff, students and community.
The UNSW Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) hosted two events: firstly, a simulcast from a conference expert panel discussion of the newly released IPCC special report, ‘Global Warming of 1.50C’. The second was a lunchtime panel discussion titled, “What global warming means for changes in climate extremes” featuring Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick and Ana Corpuz. Research students of the Faculty of Built Environment held a highly successful Pecha ucha where they presented their research on sustainable building and urban design concepts.
The Business School hosted three events: “Acting on climate change at home, in the community and at work” for professional staff (which included a dynamic group of students describing their project initiatives for dealing with waste on campus) and “The business of Climate change”, featuring Dr Maria Balatblat, senior lecturer in Accounting and Joint Director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM) who spoke on the business trends in decarbonisation of the economy. Dr Janis Wardrop, from the School of Management spoke on the interspaces between business education, ethics and sustainability. A site tour also took place, for students and staff, to Interface, an organisation that produces flooring products from recycled materials and is renowned for its sustainability practices.
An outcome of GCCW 2018 has been the formation of a Climate Change Network @ UNSW. The network has been joined by staff and students across many faculties and centres, including Business, Engineering, Arts & Social Sciences, Medicine, Built Environment and CCRC. An organising committee meet weekly and two events have been held in which experts from each of these faculties and centres have presented their research to audiences of academic and professional staff, students and community. Working parties have been formed to focus on areas such as waste management in close collaboration with UNSW Sustainability, on policy and advocacy, and on community engagement.
6.3 Dialogue Through Conferences
6.3.1 NAIDOC Women’s Conference
As a result of longstanding relationships between Rebecca Harcourt, Indigenous Program Manager in the Business School and Sharon Kinchela and Christine Ross the convenors, the National Aborigines & Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Women’s Conference was held at UNSW Sydney campus in July 2018. Entitled “Because of Her We Can”, this was the largest gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in over 30 years and celebrated the invaluable contributions they have made – and continue to make – to their communities, families, and to our nation. As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women play active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels.
UNSW Business School and UNSW Campus Services were major sponsors and integral to the development and preparations in the preceding months for the Women’s Conference. Over 600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women convened at UNSW Sydney on Bidjigal Country, hosted by Ngiyani Pty Ltd and joined by Business School students, staff and alumni involved as ambassadors, speakers, panellists and curators.
A panel of UNSW Business School alumni explored “Culture Community Education Technology Governance Entrepreneurship Industry” and shared how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are navigating significant social and economic change with cultural nuances and agility. The panellists reflected on their vision of driving change in the western world, building on the legacy of women who have fought to improve the lives of Indigenous people.
6.3.2 AFOA Canada International Conference
In October 2017, Rebecca Harcourt, Indigenous students and graduates were invited to attend the inaugural AFOA Canada International Conference as part of an Australian delegation. Rebecca and two Indigenous Business School alumni spoke on the challenges and opportunities within the intersectionality of Indigenous culture(s) education and business; and innovative approaches to Indigenous Business education, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Alumnus George Brown presented his work with Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council on creating income, employment and financial security through environmentally sustainable development. In addition to speaking, Owen Walsh, graduate and Cultural Ambassador, also accepted invitations to play didgeridoo and talk in Wiradjuri language to open several events.
Rebecca, who facilitated the visit to Vancouver, said that it was “an incredible opportunity to learn form and exchange diversity of ideas, approaches, culture, challenges and opportunities with other Frist Nations business leaders from around the world.”
6.4 Dialogue Through Radio and Journals
6.4.1 ‘The Economists’
Professor Gigi Foster, School of Economics, co-hosts this weekly radio program, described as using “the tools of economics to shine a light on life”. Professor Foster is one of Australia’s leading economics communicators and is an established voice in such fields as the economics of social influence, behavioural economics, education and time use. The Radio National program explores everyday issues from an economics perspective and conveys economic theories and complex topics, such as inequality, quantitative measurement, and aging in accessible and entertaining ways.
6.4.2 “The Economic and Labour Relations Review”
The Business School’s Industrial Relations Research Centre (IRRC) has promoted dialogue through its journal, The Economic and Labour Relations Review (ELLR). The journal’s policy mandate is to encourage the publication of research exploring “rights-, equality- or justice-based approaches to labour relations and social policy”.
- In 2017, Professor Harcourt and IRRC Associate Professor Raja Junankar organised a special issue celebrating the pioneering inequality research of Tony Atkinson on the first anniversary of his death. Contributors included Nobel laureate Professor J Stiglitz, renowned economist T Piketty, climate report author N Stern, pioneering poverty and health theorist Professor P Saunders and esteemed development economist J Ghosh.
- In 2017 and 2018, Editorial Board member Professor Michael Quinlan managed calls for papers on the issues of truck drivers hours, rates and safety and on the Australian trend to underpayment of statutory wage minima. One result has been an ongoing collaboration with well-known US road transport safety expert Michael Belzer (author of Sweatshops on Wheels); another has been a stream of Australian and Canadian articles on underpayment of disability support and hospitality workers and of migrant and contract labour.
- Working closely with Professor J Stanford of The Australia Institute, in September 2017 ELLR produced a very high impact symposium on regulation of work in the ‘gig economy‘.
ELRR has consistently promoted policy dialogue by publishing research studies on all the major themes in the UN Global Compact, including, environmental sustainability, human rights and labour rights, equality, development and anti-corruption. Wherever possible, the publications of articles has been accompanied by a print, broadcast and social media strategy undertaken by the IRRC in conjunction with authors, designed to bring issues to the attention of policy makers and the wider public.
6.4.3 Australian Journal of Management
In 2018, the Business School’s Australian Journal of Management (AJM), called for papers for a special issue investigating the implications of Grand Challenges (“fundamental global challenges that require significant action through coordinated and collaborative efforts across societal stakeholders”) for organisational strategy and management in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The aim is to explore how organisations both impact and are impacted by large-scale social and environmental change … and how they can contribute to positive economic, societal and environmental outcomes. A focus of the special issue is to better understand the structures, mechanisms and processes behind large-scale change, innovation and transformation in the face of Grand Challenges, and to explore further the intersection of organisations, management, environment, markets, society and policy.”
In November 2018, the AJM conducted a highly successful workshop with a program covering a range of topics on some of the most important issues of our time: climate change, biosecurity, population growth and taxation of robotic labour. The journal is not only publishing excellent academic work, but also contributing to providing rigour to the public debate on important issues.