Corporate governance has gained increasing importance in the last decade as organisations have been involved in bankruptcies and frauds alongside decreases in organisational value and jobs. Researchers have signalled a need for new perspectives and models of governance, especially one that clearly identifies and embeds employees as part of the system. This article explores the importance of human resources as a key component of the governance system. It discusses whether organisational rhetoric in relation to stakeholders and social responsibility incorporates employees and in doing so it delves into the concept of labour as a key stakeholder. The article examines publicly available reports of two resource-based firms and two finance-sector firms: Rio Tinto, Shell Australia, Westpac and ANZ Bank to explore the position of labour. It concludes that the position of labour as a stakeholder is problematic, with a divergence between espoused statements on CSR and how they are operationalised throughout the organisation. The emphasis seems to be on environmental and financial sustainability with lesser importance placed on dimensions of workplace management and accompanying employee relations approaches.
Field of Research
150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement