What a waste of time and money. A new study launched this morning by Deloitte on behalf of Mark Brennan, Victorian Small Business Commissioner, made the staggering finding: “Successful relationships means successful business.”
The study started out with the right aim. Brennan wrote to Australian and Victorian business leaders highlighting his concerns about unacceptable conduct by many business organisations – including bullying, harassment and abuse of market power.
Good for him. We all know it is a major, ongoing problem. A SmartCompany survey recently found that 49% had been bullied and 81% say the ACCC is not doing enough about it.
Brennan says there was a great response, with 50 business leaders having their input into the study.
But then the results seem little more than a whitewash. Instead of a hard-hitting report that looks at identifying and analysing these behaviours, and offering solutions, the result is little more than a glossy brochure full of platitudes.
There were happy quotes from a number of companies who are regularly accused of bullying small business.
The one that stuck out however was the quote from Amcor – yes Amcor, which has admitted to conspiring to fix the prices of cardboard boxes with Richard Pratt’s Visy.
Julie McPherson, general counsel of Amcor, kindly reminds us: “It is very important to set out terms of engagement at the outset of the relationship clearly and transparently because the mismatch of expectation is often the cause of relationship breakdown.”
Now what relationship would that be?