Corporate Culture, Ethics and Performance – the Role of the Board and the Executive

Company Directors Program

Corporate Culture, Ethics and Performance – the Role of the Board and the Executive

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As the pace of change accelerates, decisions facing Boards and Executive teams have become ever more challenging.

Dealing with large volumes of complex information is not new, but now leaders are required to do this under closer-than-ever scrutiny by shareholders, proxy advisers, regulators and Governments – not to mention employees, suppliers and contractors.

The focus of this masterclass is on the collaboration needed between the Board and management (particularly the Executive leadership) to navigate this complexity. We will examine the Board’s role in monitoring and shaping organisational culture and corporate ethics and on the executive’s role in reporting to, and working with, the Board on corporate culture and performance. The dynamics of board executive relations are critical, both for effective Board decision-making and to the culture and performance of the company and its executive.

Guided by expert facilitation, participants will be stimulated by contemporary academic research insights and perspectives, carefully selected readings, and stimulating guest speakers. Participants will have extensive opportunity to network and learn with, and from, fellow participants.


Across this residential program, participants will explore practical frameworks, strategies, and techniques through nine explorative sessions. You’ll hear from panels of diverse and experienced players sharing their best insights and recommendations on:

  • Corporate Culture and Ethical Failure

    What are the links between culture, ethics and performance? What role does the board-executive dynamic play influencing culture and ethics?

  • Leadership virtues and Accountability

    What virtues do leaders need to cultivate and are the same in the board room as the executive suite? How do business leaders navigate different accountabilities that may overlap or even conflict?

  • Responding to Ethical Challenges

    In small groups, participants will work through a realistic scenario in which a board and an executive team must resolve a clash between competing but legitimate concerns. The scenarios will have a strong ethical component.

  • Provocation 1:  Do ethics really matter to business?

    How strong is the evidence that ethical practice is good for business? if so, why do we see so many corporate scandals. Is talk of business ethics more than "good washing")?

  • Provocation 2: Can you really change culture?

    Value statements and codes of conduct are clearly not enough to change behaviour. So what can we measure and monitor, and what levers executives and directors pull to bring about change?

  • Provocation 3:  Typical leadership communications don’t build trust

    Board directors and senior executives are not good at transparent, descriptive and honest conversations. Trust is easily eroded, factions quickly form, and it’s easy to focus on looking good rather than listen and engage.

  • Board-Executive Dynamics

    This session examines the complex working parts that contribute to board-executive dynamics and identifies the red flags that signal things are going wrong.

  • Ethics and Organisational Change and Culture

    Participants will work in small groups to draw together and consolidate key insights from the masterclass.

  • Critical Discussions and Reflections

    What have we learned? What can we do differently?

You will leave this program with a renewed vigour for pursuing your role, deeper bonds with peers in other organisations and fresh thinking and practical tools for shaping and monitoring organisational culture from the boardroom

Learning journey


Who should attend?

Senior managers, executive team members, and active non-executive directors from listed, private, public sector and not-for-profit companies and entities.

Program dates and times

For 2023, Corporate culture ethics and performace will be offered as a custom program, delivered on-demand for individual organisations with a minimum of 15 participants. Please contact to discuss how we can tailor this program to meet your organisation's unique skills needs.


The Masterclass brings together a team of experienced presenters led by Monash Business School Professors, together with the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership and special guest speakers.

Professor Richard Hall is Deputy Dean, Leadership and Executive Education, at the Monash Business School.

Richard has extensive experience in the design and delivery of leadership development programs for managers, professionals and senior leaders. He has published widely in the areas of management and organisation studies, including leadership, technology, organisational change, transformation and development and the future of work. He has designed, managed and delivered MBA programs at a number of universities and currently teaches Executive Leadership Mindsets in the Global Executive MBA at Monash University. He has deep experience working with major corporations, and organisations in the business, government, community and not-for-profit sectors.

Richard has held previous appointments at the Universities of Queensland, Melbourne and Sydney. He has been visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde, Imperial College London, and Harvard University.

Vanessa is the CEO of Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership, an independent, not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to developing the ethical decision-making skills of Australia’s leaders.

In this role, she is responsible for shaping the strategic direction of the organisation and leading a diverse and ambitious team in work to transform the Australian business landscape to one where leaders put ethics at the centre of their decision making.

She has over 25 years experience in the arts and culture sector, and in leadership development, where her focus and passion has long been in driving strategic transformation within organisations and teams.

Vanessa's leadership roles with organisations such as the Arts Centre Melbourne, the City of Darebin Creative Culture, the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and CHUNKY MOVE has seen her develop innovative programs, navigate complex stakeholder relationships, manage multi-million dollar budgets, and drive international commercial activity.

Prior to her transition into organisational management roles, Vanessa studied Law. She also has credentials as a mediator and executive coach.

Richard is a non-executive director and independent adviser, having held a range of senior leadership, legal and M&A roles, most recently as the Chief Legal Officer & Company Secretary of Woolworths Group (ASX:WOW).

He currently serves on the boards of Aussie Broadband Limited (ASX:ABB), Doctor Care Anywhere PLC (ASX:DOC), Nexus Hospitals Group (QIC) and Creative Partnerships Australia. Richard is an active supporter of, and investor in, a range of early stage technology companies.

He is an adjunct Professor and Industry Fellow at Monash Business School, and holds degrees in Arts and Law from Monash University, an MBA from Melbourne University, and a Ph.D from the University of Cambridge where he was a Senior Rouse Ball scholar at Trinity College. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Peter Mares has been working with Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership since 2013. Peter has a background in journalism and public policy research and is the author of three books: No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia’s Housing Crisis (Text, 2018); Not Quite Australian: how temporary migration is changing the nation (Text, 2016) and Borderline (UNSW Press 2001), an award-winning analysis of Australia’s approach to refugees and asylum seekers.

Peter spent 25 years as a broadcaster with the ABC, mostly with Radio National. During that time, he served as a foreign correspondent based in Hanoi and presented national radio programs, including the daily current affairs show, Asia Pacific, and the weekly public policy discussion program, The National Interest.

Peter is a regular contributor to Inside Story magazine and an adjunct fellow at the Centre for Urban Transitions at Swinburne University.