Martijn Boersma is a senior lecturer in the Management Department at the University of Technology Sydney Business School. He is interested in the intersection of business and society and has extensively published on these topics.
Martijn has been active in the trade union movement since 2012, when he joined Catalyst Australia, a progressive policy institute and think tank, which worked closely with trade unions, non-governmental organisations and academics to promote policy solutions for pressing social and economic issues. He has also worked as a researcher for United Voice, a trade union that represents over 120,000 Australian workers in various industries. Previously, throughout his seven year career with Greenpeace International in Amsterdam, his interest has been the socio-economic impact of global campaign work by civil society organisations.
Can supervise: YES
Labour Rights, Employement Relations, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Business Ethics, Supply Chains, Business and Human Rights, Modern Slavery.
Employee Relations, Industrial Relations, Human Research Management, Business Ethics
Nolan, J & Boersma, M 2019, Addressing Modern Slavery, UNSW Press, Sydney.
Long after slavery was officially abolished, the practice not only continues but thrives. An estimated 40 million people are modern-day slaves, more than ever before in human history. Whether they are women in electronics or apparel sweatshops, children in brick kilns or on cocoa farms, men trapped in bonded labour working on construction sites, or girls forced into domestic servitude or sex work, millions of people are forced to perform labour through the use of force, intimidation or deceit.
A research book commissioned by the Australian Government Equal Opportunity Agency. This work reports the results of the 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership. The survey includes an analysis of the ASX 500 companies boards and executives gender diversity; gender diversity in public sector boards; and comparison with international initiatives in gender diversity in leadership positions. The work provides a detailed analysis of a large data base, and analytical commentary of the results. There is an assessment of remaining obstacles to achieving greater diversity, and analysis of what is required to create a better pipeline for the development of women for leadership.
Boersma, M 2018, 'Between Norms and Practice: Civil Society Perspectives on the Legitimacy of Multistakeholder Initiatives to Eliminate Child Labour', Business Strategy and the Environment, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 612-620.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Child labor in global supply chains is increasingly addressed through multistakeholder
initiatives. However, the participation of stakeholders with distinct views and interests
can generate tensions. Based on interviews with civil society actors, this research
finds that tensions exist between the normative‐ethical and political‐strategic dimensions
of multistakeholder initiatives, which are manifest in the existence of international
and national norms and their contextual application, in definitions of child
labor, risk and responsibility, and in doubts about corporate incentives to join
multistakeholder initiatives. In addition, tensions exist concerning the effectiveness
of supply chain auditing, enabling broader labor rights as a means to remediate child
labor, and whether standards need to be mandatory or self‐regulation suffices. The
success of collaboration depends on the effective navigation of these tensions. Failure
to do so can undermine the legitimacy of multistakeholder initiatives from the perspective
of civil society actors. The research finds that due diligence, in the shape
of human rights risk assessments, is not subject to normative‐ethical/political‐
strategic tensions, and can play a key role in the success of multistakeholder initiatives
and the fight against child labor.
Throughout 2017, public interest, parliamentary debate and academic research about women, work and industrial relations centred around a few key themes: pay and income inequality, health and well-being at work and the intersection of paid and unpaid work. These themes were identified in three related yet distinct mediums: the media, parliamentary debate and academic literature. Automated content analysis software was used to assist in the thematic analysis of media articles and the House of Representatives Hansard, supplemented by a manual analysis of relevant academic publications. A thematic overlap was evident across the three datasets, despite the time lag associated with academic research and publication. This is a significant finding, emphasising that the inequalities experienced by women in the labour market are long term and entrenched.
Boersma, M 2017, 'Changing Approaches to Child Labour in Global Supply Chains: Exploring the Influence of Multi-stakeholder Partnerships and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 1249-1274.
Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2017, 'The Governance of Global Value Chains: Unresolved Human Rights, Environmental and Ethical Dilemmas in the Apple Supply Chain', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 143, no. 1, pp. 111-131.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht The continued advance of global value chains as the mode of production for an increasing number of goods and services has impacted considerably on the economies and societies both of the developed world and the emerging economies. Although there have been many efforts at reform there is evidence of unresolved dilemmas of human rights, environmental issues and ethical dilemmas in the operation of the global value chain. This paper focuses on the role and performance of Apple Inc in the global value chain in Asia. Apple is the most successful corporation on earth measured in financial terms and yet has failed to find a solution to recurrent employment and environmental problems occurring in plants manufacturing Apple components. This analysis informs the current theoretical debate on the development of the global value chain and the continuing institutional failure that leaves employees vulnerable and the environment neglected.
Boersma, M 2016, 'Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck, Labor Standards in International Supply Chains - Aligning Rights and Incentives', Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 58, no. 5, pp. 699-700.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Klettner, AL, Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2016, 'Strategic and Regulatory Approaches to Increasing Women in Leadership: Multilevel Targets and Mandatory Quotas as Levers for Cultural Change', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 133, no. 3, pp. 395-419.View/Download from: Publisher's site
While substantial evidence is emerging internationally of positive increases in the participation of women on company boards, there is less evidence of any significant change in the proportion of women in senior executive ranks. This paper describes evidence of positive changes in the number of women on boards in Australia. Unfortunately these changes are not mirrored in the senior executive ranks where the proportion of women remains consistently low. We explore some of the reasons for these disproportionate changes and examine the likely effect of the recent amendments to the Australian stock exchange's corporate governance code designed to improve gender diversity both on boards and throughout organisations. Based on the early corporate response to these regulatory changes, it is interesting to consider whether Australia's approach in promoting voluntary self-regulation at the corporate level may be as effective in the long run as the emerging trend in Europe to apply legislated quotas for female corporate board representation. Interview evidence is presented suggesting that the primary reasons for the lack of women in leadership are not simply lack of opportunity at the apex of the corporation, but issues at mid-management level that are unlikely to be resolved by mandatory board quotas. In some circumstances carefully monitored voluntary targets may be more effective at promoting cultural and strategic change at the heart of the corporation. In summary, mandatory quotas (set through hard law usually with sanctions for noncompliance) may achieve early and significant results in terms of female board representation. However, voluntary targets for women's participation on boards and in executive ranks (proposed in soft regulation such as corporate governance codes and set as part of corporate strategy) may promote more effective cultural and practical change in support of greater representation of women in leadership.
Chelliah, J, Boersma, M & Klettner, A 2016, 'Governance Challenges for Not-for-Profit Organisations: Empirical Evidence in Support of A Contingency Approach', Contemporary Management Research: an international journal, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1-22.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This article presents empirical evidence of the governance challenges faced by Australian not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. There is a dearth of academic research in the not-for-profit sector on issues of governance. Using survey and interview data, we explore what NFP leaders believe are key governance challenges, and what this means for theory and practice of NFP governance. We demonstrate that the effectiveness of governance systems is influenced by internal and external contingencies that NFP organisations face, such as variations in board roles, stakeholder and membership demands, funding arrangements, board member recruitment processes, skills of board members, and resources for training and development. We argue for a shift of focus away from prescriptive and normative NFP governance models, and contend that generic best practice governance standards for NFPs ought not to be further pursued, and that a contingency approach is more promising.
Klettner, A, Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2014, 'The Governance of Corporate Sustainability: Empirical Insights into the Development, Leadership and Implementation of Responsible Business Strategy', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 122, no. 1, pp. 145-165.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This article explores how corporate governance processes and structures are being used in large Australian companies to develop, lead and implement corporate responsibility strategies. It presents an empirical analysis of the governance of sustainability in fifty large listed companies based on each company's disclosures in annual and sustainability reports. We find that significant progress is being made by large listed Australian companies towards integrating sustainability into core business operations. There is evidence of leadership structures being put in place to ensure that board and senior management are involved in sustainability strategy development and are then incentivised to monitor and ensure implementation of that strategy through financial rewards. There is evidence of a willingness to engage and communicate clearly the results of these strategies to interested stakeholders. Overall, there appears to be a developing acceptance amongst large corporations that efforts towards improved corporate sustainability are not only expected but are of value to the business. We suggest that this is evidence of a managerial shift away from an orthodox shareholder primacy understanding of the corporation towards a more enlightened shareholder value approach, often encompassing a stakeholder-orientated view of business strategy. However, strong underlying tensions remain due to the insistent market emphasis on shareholder value. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Klettner, AL, Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2013, 'The impact of soft law on social change: Measurable objectives for achieving gender diversity on board of directors', Australian Journal of Corporate Law, vol. 28, pp. 148-176.
In 2010 the Australian Securities Exchange's Principles of Corporate Governance were amended to include three new recommendations dealing with gender diversity in listed corporations. The recommendations suggest that companies implement a diversity policy, set measurable objectives for achieving gender diversity and measure the number of women at various levels of the organisation. This article examines companies early response to the amendments. It presents an empirical analysis of the disclosures made by ASX 200 companies in their 2011 annual reports. The article builds on and develops research carried out by the authors for the 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership which found that, although the number of women on corporate boards had increased since 2010, there was not a similar increase in women in senior executive teams. It presents evidence that there are positive changes being implemented in the majority of ASX 200 companies that should, over time, make a difference to the ability of women to reach positions of leadership. The Australian approach of encouraging change through organisation-wide policy improvements and targets will hopefully improve female representation along the length of the pipeline to leadership and not only at the top. The ASX policy was formulated in the context of an international debate regarding the relative benefits of quotas and targets in achieving gender diversity on boards. In major European countries mandatory quotas were adopted, while in Australia and other countries voluntary targets set. Quotas secure substantial change through compliance, while targets may encourage change through strategic initiatives. This research examines early evidence of the impact of both hard and soft law on social change
Launching the 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership, the Governor General of Australia Quentin Bryce was able to announce a significant increase in the number of women on ASX 200 boards to 12.3 per cent of directorships, up from 8.4 per cent in 2002. Successive earlier Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) censuses conducted over the ten years since 2002 had indicated no significant improvement in female board representation. However, now a breakthrough has occurred.
Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2019, 'Global Corporation and Global Value Chains - The Disaggregation of Corporations?' in Clarke, T, O'Brien, J & O'Kelley, C (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Corporation, Oxford University Press, UK.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Many of the great international corporations of the past have now largely been disembodied into global value chains. This chapter considers the implications of the continued advance of global value chains as the mode of production for an increasing number of goods and services, and how this has impacted considerably on the economies and societies both of the developed world and the emerging economies. In turn, this has transformed corporations themselves into largely finance, design, and marketing agencies which are often distant from the production and operations which they ultimately control. While the globalization of production has brought employment and economic growth to many developing countries, it is also associated with exploitative employment relations, environmental irresponsibility, and recurrent ethical dilemmas. While corporations may disaggregate production in distant networks of contractors, they cannot as readily disaggregate the moral responsibility for the social and environmental impact of their mode of production.
Boersma, M, Bedford, D & Johns, K 2020, 'Addressing Modern Slavery through Strategic Transparency - A Study of the Australian Cleaning Industry', Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, Virtual.
Klettner, A, Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2019, 'Corporate responsibility and financialisation in the international banking sector: the limits of current governance systems', European Academy of Management, Lisbon, Portugal.
Boersma, M & Ortiz, M 2018, 'Ten Challenges for the Effective Use of Blockchains in Global Supply Chains', 20th IESE International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society, Barcelona.
Dalton, B & Boersma, M 2018, 'Inhabiting parallel universes: the differing world views of impact investors and nonprofits and implications for building impact investment markets', 47th ARNOVA Conference, Austin, Texas.
Boersma, M 2016, 'Exploring the Role of Strategic Management and Stakeholding Ethics in Effective Approaches to Child Labour in Global Supply Chains', 19th IESE International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society, Barcelona.
Logue, DM & Boersma, M 2016, 'Social Innovation in Interstitial Spaces: The Case and Unintended Consequences of Civic Crowd Funding', Latin America and European Meeting on Organization Studies (LAEMOS), Santiago, Chile.
Boersma, M 2015, 'Sustainable Finance: Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance of Banks', 7th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, London.
Chelliah, J, Boersma, M & Klettner, A 2015, 'Governance Challenges for Not-For-Profit Organisations: Empirical Evidence in Support of a Contingency Approach', Australasian Conference on Business and Social Sciences 2015, Sydney, Sydney.
Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2016, 'The Governance of Global Value Chains: The Internationalisation and Intensification of Accumulation and Exploitation', European Group for Organisational Studies Colloquium (EGOS), Rottterdam, pp. 1-21.
Clarke, T, Chelliah, J, Klettner, A & Boersma, M 2014, 'Governance Challenges for Not-for-Profit Organisations: Empirical Evidence in Support of A Contingency Approach', 28 th ANZAM Conference 2014, Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, ANZAM, Sydney, pp. 1-11.
ABSTRACT: This article presents evidence of the governance challenges faced by Australian not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. We find a key challenge for NFPs is recruiting individuals with appropriate skills, as directors are volunteers often elected by the membership and frequently lack relevant experience. Another issue is balancing the needs of a diverse constituency with competing demands. We find that the often proposed solution to this challenge – stakeholder representation on boards – can further hinder the recruitment of suitable directors and create tensions detrimental to board effectiveness. We argue to shift focus away from normative governance models towards a contingency approach and posit a role for a national NFP sector regulator in assisting to develop appropriate governance systems according to contextual factors.
Boersma, M & Nolan, J Australian Border Force 2020, Submission to National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-24: Public Consultation Paper, Sydney.
Kaine, S, Josserand, E, Rawling, M, Boersma, M & Johns, K Economics References Committee 2020, Inquiry into unlawful underpayment of employees' remuneration: Submission of the Centre for Business and Social Innovation UTS Business School, pp. 1-10, Canberra.
Justine, N & Boersma, M Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues, Parliament of NSW: 2019, Submission to Inquiry Into Modern Slavery Act 2018 and Associated Matters, Sydney.
Kaine, S, Rawling, MJ, Josserand, E, Boersma, M, Johns, K & Ryan, R Commonwealth Senate Education and Employment Committee 2018, 'Submission to Inquiry into the Exploitation of General and Specialist Cleaners Working in Retail chains for contracting or subcontracting cleaning companies' Centre for Business and Social Innovation UTS, pp. 1-8, Canberra.
Boersma, M Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation & The Australia Institute 2017, Do No Harm? Procurement of Medical Goods by Australian Companies and Government.
O'Brien, B & Boersma, M Catalyst Australia & The Australia Institute 2016, Human Rights in the Supply Chains of Australian Businesses: Opportunities for Legislative Reform, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Black, Z 2020, ''Bullying' clothing companies are asking struggling suppliers for discounts', The New Daily.
Boersma, M 2020, 'Amazon or Harvey Norman – which is better (or worse) to buy from?', The New Daily.
Boersma, M 2020, 'Paradox of the social license to operate', Sydney Morning Herald.
Boersma, M 2020, 'Wage theft: Employer calls to 'reform' award system are a bare-faced con job', The New Daily.
Boersma, M & Nolan, J 2020, 'The real economic victims of coronavirus are those we can't see', The Conversation.
The COVID-19 coronavirus is officially a pandemic, the US and Australian share markets have collapsed, both governments have unveiled stimulus packages, and Australia's trade union movement is worried about the position of casuals. But things are worse overseas, including for the workers who make products for Australians.
Veness, G 2020, 'Interview on ABC News on Coles Wage Theft', ABC News.
Black, Z 2019, 'Shoppers want more from the brands they're supporting: Survey', The New Daily.
Boersma, M & Nolan, J 2019, 'Blockchain can help break the chains of modern slavery, but it is not a complete solution', The Conversation.
It is the latest promise for a technology that is touted as a solution for unregulated prison economies, climate change and counterfeiting. Maybe it will prove part of the solution. But we can't put all our hopes on any technology solving a complex social problem.
Lane, I 2019, 'As major brands go into damage control, here's how you can end forced labour', The New Daily.
ABC, N 2018, 'Apple Fine: Tech giant fined $9million for breaches or consumer law', ABC News.
ABC, TB 2018, 'Financial Services Royal Commission: AMP Boss gone, calls for chair to resign', ABC The Business.
Boersma, M 2018, 'How Can a Bank Win a Sustainability Award While Funding a Coalmine?'.
Boersma, M 2018, 'Opinion: 'Corporate Social Responsibility' Is a Band-Aid for a Broken System', SBS - The Feed.
Boersma, M 2016, 'Australian government slow to respond to supply chain labour exploitation', Sydney Morning Herald.
Boersma, M 2016, 'Companies prefer ticking boxes to breaking the glass ceiling', The Conversation.
Boersma, M & O'Brien, B 2016, 'Australian Government Must Protect Vulnerable Workers in Supply Chains', Pro Bono Australia.
Holmes, TL 2016, 'The 2022 World Cup Tarnished by Labour Exploitation in Qatar', ABC News Radio.
Ingram, T 2016, 'Andrew Forrest calls on government to lead regional response against slavery', Australian Financial Review.
Logue, DM & Boersma, M 2016, 'Social Innovation in Interstitial Spaces: The Case and Unintended Consequences of Civic Crowd Funding'.
Matthews, R 2016, 'Gender Inequality in Senior Management', 2SER.
Reyes, A 2016, 'Legislation to Combat Slavery and Trafficking in Supply Chains', 2SER.
Riordan, P 2016, 'Best and worst companies for women on boards revealed', Australian Financial Review.
Riordan, P 2016, 'Minister accused of killing supply chain abuse findings', Australian Financial Review.
Turton, P 2016, 'Gender Equality at Work', ABC Newcastle.
Clarke, T & Boersma, M 2016, 'Analysis of the Regulation, Policies, Strategies, Implementation and Reporting on Sustainability in International Finance', UNEP Inquiry: Design of a Sustainable Financial System.
Boersma, M 2015, 'Australia's banking four pillars wobbly on sustainability record', The Conversation.
Boersma, M 2015, 'Mind the Governance Gap: Banks Gilding the Sustainability Lily', Pro Bono Australia.
Davey, M 2015, 'Australian fashion retailers have supply chains that risk exploitation, audit finds', The Guardian.
O'Brien, B & Boersma, M 2015, 'Cracking down on migrant workers isn't how to hold supermarkets to account', The Guardian.
This article presents empirical evidence of the governance challenges faced by not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. Drawing on interviews and survey data, the paper explores perceptions of NFP leaders concerning governance challenges, drawing implications for theory and practice.
The research shows that NFPs face internal and external contingencies that determine the effectiveness of governance systems. The study finds that considerable variation in the roles of boards exists. This has theoretical consequences as the usefulness of stewardship, agency,
resource-dependence and stakeholder theory varies according to the directives of NFP boards, and it provides empirical evidence in favour of taking a contingency approach towards theories concerning NFP boards. The study further shows that director recruitment is challenging,
particularly for NFPs with membership-based board models, as the constitution often determines a pool from which directors must be sourced.
Boersma, M 2014, 'Global supply chains link us all to shame of child and forced labour', The Conversation.
Boersma, M 2014, 'Tackling the Myths Around Child Labor', Pro Bono Australia.
Boersma, M 2013, 'Mind the gap: company disclosure discrepancies not sustainable', The Conversation.
Boersma, M 2013, 'The Australian Supply Chain Disclosure Imperative', Pro Bono Australia.