The HGII journey began in 2007. Disturbed by the never-ending stories of corporate scandals despite the ever-increasing stringency of rules and regulations, then Professor of Risk Management Practice, Dato' Dr Aziuddin Ahmad and Professor of Accounting, Dr Arfah Salleh decided to explore ways to get their concern to a wider audience. Subscribing to the notion of organizations and communities as networks of relationship between humans rather than collections of individual objects, they believe that governance, at the core, should be human-focused. When we human, actualize the potentiality innate in us by being human, good governance within the corporate, family-based, private or public settings will ensue.
With this easy-to-grasp (but difficult to implement?) concept, they introduced Human Governance first to the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). After all, aren't accountants supposed to be the custodian of public interest?
The MIA Partnership
The dialogue with the MIA centred around questioning the completeness of governing corporations through the codes of corporate governance. What resulted from the interaction was the publication of a monograph, "Soulful Stewardship" launched at the annual National Accountants Conference 2007.
The acceptance of human governance by the Malaysian accounting regulator went up one notch when the article, "Human Governance: Bringing the Meaning of Integrity in the Life of Professional Accountants" written by Dr Arfah and Dato' Dr Aziuddin was nominated by the MIA as the Malaysian entry in the Article of Merit Award organized by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). This article went on to receive among the Top-Ten Articles of Merit Award by IFAC in 2010.
KPMG too had organised a morning breakfast talk on human governance.
Journey to the Corporate World and the Public Sector
Following the introduction of human governance to the accountants fraternity, the book, "Human Governance: A Paradigm Shift in Governing Corporations" was written. The book published by MPH basically invites readers on a journey of reflection to question if the structure of governance that is in place today is adequate in promoting ethical human behavior including aspiring one to give one's best. More fundamental questions such as "what does it mean to be human?" and "what is the nature of the universe?" are also raised. Referencing to the workings of the science of quantum physics as against the foundations of classical Newtonian/Cartesian science, the authors hope that readers will contemplate on their own individual's assumptions of the model of nature of human and reality.
How does this relate to human behavior? Quite simply - a model of nature of human which does not represent the reality of human only leads to decision making that naturally does not lead to the intended results. For instance, in an organization where the belief is that humans are only of machine-like physical material consitution, one's aspiration to observe ethical values among colleagues bears no place. This is because ethics is non-physical and subjective in nature. Likewise, if the model of reality is that it is a collection of independent stand-alone objects, the action of one object will not impact others.
While the initial addressee of the human governance message was the accounting profession, given that the emphasis of human governance is about being human, human governance is just as equally applicable to the corporate world and the public sector among others.
Initiatives to get the main message - taking the same path only leads to the same destination - across to corporate players and public servants came in the form of talk sessions, dialogues and corporate trainings both within and outside the country.
On 7 November 2008, at the National Integrity Convention organized by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC), human governance as an approach to strengthening the integrity of public service and institutions took one of the presentation sessions. Human Governance made another international debut at the Leadership Summit IMD Lausanne, Switzerland in February 2009. Dato' Dr Aziuddin was an invited speaker to deliver on "Human Governance: Realization of Oneness". Within Corporate Malaysia, Human Governance was featured as the theme for the Majlis Ilmu - Sharing of Knowledge - session during the launching of the "Orange Book - Cross Assignment Day" of the Government-Linked Companies Transformation Program by Khazanah Nasional 6 July 2009. Some other organisations that have included human governance in their events include Siemens, Tabung Haji Berhad, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Petronas and Telekom Malaysia. The Securities Commission and the Companies Commission of Malaysia both have also organized talk sessions and forum dedicated to human governance. The Darul Ridzuan Institute, a public policy think tank for the Perak State Government had organised several awareness sessions on human governance including one for top state officials.
While continuing the efforts within the corporate and public sector space, these two Malaysian propagators of the original concept and practice of human governance additionally took their journey into the sphere of education - the formal birthplace of future leaders. The idea is to start human governance thought and actualization even before the workplace.
The Education Experience
From focusing initially on the curriculum and management of business schools, they shifted gear to the education of teachers and re-education/training of future academic leaders. Working with the higher education leadership academy, AKEPT, the HGII has conducted leadership training on human governance as a pathway to bring human soul to higher education.
At the international front, participants of various academic conferences and leadership training programs in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, San Diego and Tampa among others have been exposed to human governance both as a philosophy as as well as a management system.
From the perspective of teachers, the aspiration of HGII is for teachers to always be aware of who the learners are in the journey of discovery. But more importantly, all teachers MUST know who they are as humans. Sounds strange? Just look around. Listen to the news. One after another incidence of manifestations of non-human behavior looms the media. So what has today's education turn the young minds into?
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