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A critical appreciation of the main theories of corporate governance and ethics;

Unit Name: Corporate Governance and Ethics

Assignment Title: CWK 1 – Critical Appraisal of Governance Disclosures (Individual Assignment)

Details of what you are expected to do:

1. Rationale

This individual assignment acts as a bridge between theory and practice. The assignment is designed to assess the ability of the students to evaluate corporate governance practice in real practical situation from different theoretical perspectives. This assignment asks students to undertake a detailed critique of the corporate governance disclosures of a major company with a view to development a detailed understanding of both how the companies organise its governance and risk at board level.

2. The learning outcomes being assessed

• A critical appreciation of the main theories of corporate governance and ethics;

• A critical evaluation of the application of theories of corporate governance and ethics to practice;

3. Overview of assignment

For the purpose of this assignment you will choose a major UK public company (FTSE100). The most recent annual report and accounts may be downloaded from its website. Although you may seek other background information on the company, the focus perspective and report on the following areas:

A) Compliance and disclosure of principles of corporate governance (60% of this assignment)

(1) If the company claims to comply with the provisions of the 2018 UK code of Corporate Governance, just confirm this fact. Discuss any areas where any non-compliance occurs and appraise whether this impacts on the integrity of the company.

Or If the company claims to comply with the provisions of the 2016 UK code of Corporate Governance:

(i) Just confirm this fact. Discuss any areas where any non-compliance occurs and appraise whether this impacts on the integrity of the company.

(ii) Discuss briefly how your chosen company would improve its compliance and disclosure, i.e. good practice, if the 2018 Corporate Governance Code to be applied.

(2) Examine the disclosures on corporate governance and evaluate whether these demonstrate good principles of governance within the company. Appraise whether these disclosures demonstrate that the agency problem is reduced.

(3) Assess whether the risk management disclosure implies that the company has a satisfactory structure in place to identify and manage risk.

B) Stakeholders and Ethics (40% of this assignment)

(4) State, with your reasons, who you consider to be the significant stakeholders are, taking account of the company and its operating environment. State whether the company identifies or ignores important stakeholder groups and evaluate any strategy disclosed for engaging and managing stakeholders. If the company discloses little information, suggest general strategies for stakeholder engagement.

(5) How corporate social responsibility and sustainability are applied within the company?

(6) Does the company refer to values and ethics? Have there been any ethical challenges for the company over the year? In what ways do you consider that the company is meeting its ethical obligations?

General Points to Consider

Your arguments should be based on your analysis of the company, backed up by academic references. It is no use saying something is good or bad without giving your reasons and supporting these by reference to relevant literature.

4. Assessment criteria and weightings

Assignments will be judged principally on the quality of its argument, that is, the clarity of its exposition of the problem, the theoretical perspectives selected, the use of literature to support contentions, and the structure of discussion. <50% Assignment tends to be descriptive with a few unsubstantiated comments 50-59% Some attempt at critical analysis. Some substantiated comments by way of evaluation, literature sources present but either insufficient or not used as underpinning. 60-69% Reasonable use of literature with substantiated evaluation being made on most areas of the assignment. >70% Excellent arguments, demonstrating knowledge of theoretical aspects of governance and good analytical skills. Wide use of literature which underpins all the discussions. Additionally, the assignment should be well presented and referenced in accordance with the Harvard system of referencing and should show a logical structure and good grammar and spelling. There is no guidance between given on the word count in the different sections, because all companies are different in their structure and operating environment. You must therefore use your own judgment to fulfil the requirements of the assignment within the word count limit of your assignment is to be the annual report and accounts. You are required to examine all the narrative sections of the report and accounts from a corporate governance


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