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Social & Ethical Accountability Model (SEAM)

Many organisations believe that they are socially and ethically responsible. Most believe that they achieve a good outcome for the people in their organisation, the people in their community and for society. They may also believe that they do not adversely impact those communities.

Businesses, associations, community organisations, co-operatives, governments and a host of others, regardless of their structure, have a range of reasons for wanting to examine their outcomes and how they contribute to a sustainable future.

An organisation may need to:

Value adding to marketing campaign. Add value to a marketing campaign
Value adding to marketing campaign. Build and enhance corporate image
Value adding to marketing campaign. Support submissions to government and others
Value adding to marketing campaign. Manage risks to corporate image or reputation
Value adding to marketing campaign. Respond to greater transparency of information

What is SEAM?

The Social & Ethical Accountability Model (SEAM) is a framework for decision making developed by the Australian Social and Ethical Accountability Centre (ASEAC). It is a practical, structured, modular method of documenting an organisation's impact in a way that enables independent verification and a clear path to business improvement.

SEAM is based on four key principles, and the understanding of the relationships that connect an organisation with its surroundings. These relationships are with people or with organisations that represent people. SEAM's clear focus on people helps you manage your impact in a practical and structured way.

Why would you use SEAM?

SEAM is a strategic method to enable you to formalise, strengthen or change the way your organisation delivers and lives its values and directs its culture and behaviour. It systematically examines the impact that values have on the people who care about what happens to the organisation. It ensures that consistent values are applied throughout the organisation.

It provides for both internal and external verification and public disclosure of the way you treat those involved with, or affected by, the organisation.

The modular structure of SEAM allows you to manage the resources involved and maintain an appropriate balance. It is an iterative process that allows growth in each cycle.

SEAM leads to an increased trust in your organisation because you state your intentions and clearly demonstrate them in daily practices.

SEAM provides for increased accountability, distinguishes you from your competitors, provides direction for future planning, and improves the communication process, thereby reducing your business risk.

How would you use SEAM?

Organisations can progressively implement the Social & Ethical Accountability Model dependent on their needs. The following four options illustrate the different levels of use and starting points:

Strategic Planning: The model can be used to either supplement an existing planning process, by using stages six to twelve, or as a total framework for the planning process.
External Pressure: The market, your competitors, or your stakeholders may require a focus on only one key aspect of your organisation's operations. An examination of your practices may involve only one quadrant.
Internal Pressure: An event or activity within your organisation may lead you to look at the way you do things, which may result in a need for a structural change process to be undertaken. Commence with one of the four quadrants, and then further benefit by activating all twelve stages.
Doing it Better: You like the concept and would gain substantial benefit from a preliminary audit, using the full model and its twelve stages of implementation, to compare your practices against your intentions.

Key benefits

The key benefits to your organisation from applying the Social & Ethical Accountability Model (SEAM) include:

Value adding to marketing campaign. Engaging your stakeholders in a continuous improvement process
Value adding to marketing campaign. Having a clear vision of how you want your organisation to behave, what it is actually doing and how it is differentiating itself
Value adding to marketing campaign. Having a good understanding of a social and ethical accountability process which your organisation can control the implementation of on an ongoing basis
Value adding to marketing campaign. Developing a sound business that incorporates broader social and ethical features with your financial and operational practices
Value adding to marketing campaign. Dynamically contributing to a healthier and sustainable society


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Last modified 11/06/2009