Accountability for Business Ethics in the Context of Financial Markets Authority’s Corporate Governance Principles

Murugesh Arunachalam, The University of Waikato
Andrea Mclachlan, The University of Waikato

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to delineate the meaning of accountability for business ethics in the context of the policy document “Financial Markets Authority Corporate Governance in New Zealand Principles and Guidelines”. The policy document, first published by the Securities Commission in 2004 and revised in December 2014 by the Financial Markets Authority, provides the textual content for the interpretive analysis undertaken in this study. The purpose of the interpretation is to understand how accountability for business ethics acquires meaning in the policy document. The findings of this study indicate the manifestation of a strong sense of traditional accountability to shareholders but significant gaps in accountability towards non-equity stakeholders. The principle-based approach to corporate governance and the lack of legal backing are major drawbacks in implementing accountability for business ethics. We recommend the enactment of codified laws to enforce accountability for business ethics.