Ethical Decision-Making in Indigenous Financial Services: QSuper Case Study

Clare Burns*, Luke Houghton*, Deborah Delaney*, Cindy Shannon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This case study details how and why integrating storytelling, empathy, and inclusive practice shifted QSuper, a large Australian finance organisation, from minimal awareness to moral awareness then moral capability in the delivery of services to Indigenous customers. During the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation, and Financial Services Industry, QSuper were recognised for their exemplary service with Indigenous customers (Hayne, Interim report: Royal commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry, Volume 1. Commonwealth of Australia, 2018; Transcript of Proceedings, 13 August, Commonwealth of Australia, 2018). This position was in stark contrast to the inaccessible service offerings of other financial organisations where some used predatory practices to sell unethical financial products to Indigenous Australians (Hayne, Interim report: Royal commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry, Volume 1. Commonwealth of Australia, 2018; Hayne, Final report: Royal commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry, Volume 1. Commonwealth of Australia, 2019a). Storytelling garned from visiting customers in remote communities and other meaningful activities involving inclusive practice to facilitate ethical decision-making in finance is different to standard functionalist finance approaches (Schinckus, Int Rev Financ Anal 40:103–106, 2015). Two empathetic questions asked within QSuper complementing the storytelling, were: “What is the right thing to do by the customer?” and “How would I feel if this were my mother?” Exploration into the lived reality of moral capacity is important based on the Commission finding many of the 490,000 finance staff do not know how to provide ethical services to vulnerable customers, in particular remote Indigenous customers (Australian Bureau of Statistics. Labour force, Australia, detailed. ABS. Retrieved from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/latest-release, 2021; Hayne, Final report: Royal commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry, Volume 1. Commonwealth of Australia, 2019a). Furthermore, there is minimal literature on the role of Indigenous storytelling to heighten moral awareness in the finance industry which was found to lead to better ethical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-29
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume186
Issue number1
Early online date21 Sept 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

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