The big, brutal, business of aged care: how one specialist in business ethics is making a difference to some of our most vulnerable people
The aged care sector is a growing and vitally important sector. It is also a perfect example of where ethics and capitalism can collide. A recent senate enquiry has shown that many aged care businesses are under significant strain, especially when it comes to maintaining a skilled workforce in the face of competitive pressures and regulatory requirements.
These pressures can have implications for human suffering, both for residents and workers. Many of our baby boomers, who have contributed so much to this country, will soon be in aged care. How do we affect change in residential aged care to ensure they continue to flourish?
Dr Rob Macklin specialises in business ethics. He is driven by a desire to end social suffering and really make a difference to society and some of its most vulnerable people. Dr Macklin is making a difference, through both his research, and as Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Management.
“We are trying to end this notion that you can’t be a successful business person and ethical at the same time”, says Dr Macklin.
“That’s where education plays such a role. We want to teach our business students ethics, not just how to make money. For us, ethics forms an integral part of business decision-making. We are trying to embed ethics into the core of all management thinking.”
“Every management decision is an ethical decision. All business practices are dripping in moral dilemmas and issues. The aged care sector is one of the clearest examples of where commerce meets humanity.”
“If ethics is not part of aged care managers’ decision making, real suffering can result. It is also a perfect case study for business ethics”, says Dr Macklin.
Dr Macklin’s current research is focused on the aged care sector. “These are sites of potentially significant social suffering”, says Dr Macklin. “It is a lucrative industry with great potential for growth. But, we must ensure that residents and aged care workers are treated with care and respect. There have been some horrifying stories, so it’s important that we keep working for improvements.”
“People that enter a nursing home can feel they have lost everything”, explains Dr Macklin.
“Residents are sometimes dealing with loss of identity, loss of significance, loss of dignity and loss of respect. They can become invisible very quickly, and the significance they once had in society and work can be easily forgotten.”
“By interviewing aged care teams and managers, we want to establish what is happening and how management in these organisations can be improved. The people working in the aged care sector are very committed to meeting the needs of the residents, but commercial and other pressures can make it very difficult”, says Dr Macklin.
Through his research, Dr Macklin has established that organisations in the aged care sector find it hard to recruit skilled labour. He has also applied for a grant to look at the management, workplace structures and processes across a range of aged care facilities.
“Managers of these organisations, and their staff, are working with some of society’s most vulnerable people”, explains Dr Macklin.
“Tasmanian organisations are often not as financially well off as they are in say Melbourne or Sydney, because Tasmanian residents who sell their homes to move into an aged care facility, generally have less money to contribute. This means the organisation has less resources to work with.”
“We hope to eventually come up with management development and training interventions that will up skill management teams and help them manage effectively, efficiently and ethically.”
As Senior Lecturer, Dr Macklin spends a lot of time helping his students identify and argue for their values. Sometimes it is harder to do what is right.
“I have the opportunity to train managers of the future, and convince them there are good things they can do”, says Dr Macklin. “It is important that our managers gain moral guidance and I love being able to make a difference in people’s lives.”
“We do a lot of role play where the students need to voice their values. One of their last assessments is to have an argument with me around a moral case”, says Dr Macklin.
“Everything I do is orientated towards helping them develop professional skills they can use, and making them think much more about moral values in their everyday business decisions.”
Dr Rob Macklin is a senior lecturer in management at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics. He is also the Director of the TSBE MBA. His research and teaching passions are in the area of business ethics, human resource management, and the management of mental health in the workplace. He has published works on ethics in human resource management, moral climates in organizations and on phronesis and aporia in professional practice and qualitative research. He is currently investigating the ethical dimension of the management of mental health in organisational contexts, and the relevance of love – agape – in management practice.
Before joining the University of Tasmania Rob worked at Charles Sturt University in a number of roles. He was a lecturer, senior lecturer, and Head of School of the School of Management in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Rob completed his PhD at CSU, which looked at applying the moral philosophy of Agnes Heller to the roles and practices of human resource managers across a number of Australian organisations. Rob taught a variety of subjects at CSU including organisational analysis, managing change, business ethics, ethics and leadership, human resource management, and industrial relations.
Prior to joining Charles Sturt University, Rob worked for many years in a variety of managerial roles in industry. His professional work included human resource management and work as an industrial relations adviser and advocate for an Employer Association. His early experience grounded Rob in business practice and thus gave him a strong appreciation of the realities of managing and working in large business organisations, including the public service.
|Degree||Title of Thesis||University||Country||Awarded|
|PhD||Justice, Morality and the Role of Human Resource Managers in Australian Organisations: An Evaluation of the Applicability of the Moral Theory and Philosophy of Agnes Heller||Charles Sturt University||Australia||2001|
|MCOM||Managerial Strategy and Industrial Relations in Telecom Australia||University of Woollongong||Australia||1993|
|GCert||Charles Sturt University||Australia||2006|
|BCOM||University of NSW||Australia||1984|
|Cert||The Practitioner's Certificate in Mediation||The Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia||Australia||2007|
Rob is a member of and deputy chairperson for the Australian Business Ethics Network
Prior to becoming an academic, Rob was a human resource manager in several organisations. As an academic he has been a course coordinator for many courses and is currently the MBA Director at the TSBE. Rob was a Head of School in the School of Management at Charles Sturt University.
Business ethics; Human Resource Management; Management Theory and Practice; Qualitative Research; Management Epistemologies; Managing Change
Rob's teaching expertise is in the areas of business ethics, human resource management, management theory and practice, and qualitative research, especially at the postgraduate level.
- Business ethics
- Human Resource Management
- Mental Health at Work
- Qualitative Research
Rob's research aligns to the University's research theme of Better Health, and in the future he will also be seeking to make a contribution to the research theme of Environment, Resources and Sustainability.His research interests include investigating the role that ethical managerial practices can have on the well-being of employees as well as the impact of moral climates on employee perceptions and
attitudes. He has also conducted research and is submitting a paper with a work colleague from the Menzies Centre on the professional identity of medical interns. Rob has also conducted research and published articles as part of research teams into the use of computer aided qualitative data analysis programs in qualitative research. He is currently investigating the ethical dimensions of managing employees with mental illnesses in the workplace.
Rob's future research in the Better Health and Environment, Resources and Sustainability themed areas will progress two programs of research. Both will focus on the discretion managers have at work to 'love' in the sense of 'agape'- i.e. to intentionally and sympathetically promote overall wellbeing when responding to imperatives that promote ill-being. At their most narrow focus, one will investigate managers' discretion to love when managing mental health in the workplace; the other, managers' discretion to love as part of their social responsibility to contribute to global food security and sovereignty. Both will be informed by moral philosophical and theological understandings of love and empirical studies of managers using a phronetic social science approach.
Rob is currently involved in an international project examining the use of Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software in qualitative research.
Rob is currently investigating the role that ethical managerial practices can have on the well-being of employees as well as the impact of moral climates on employee perceptions and attitudes. This includes investigating the ethical dimensions of managing employees with mental illnesses in the workplace. Rob will soon focus his research on a new project investigating the discretion managers have at work to 'love' in the sense of 'agape'- i.e. to intentionally and sympathetically promote overall wellbeing when responding to imperatives that promote ill-being.
Fields of Research
- Business Ethics (220102)
- Organisation and Management Theory (150310)
- Human Resources Management (150305)
- Higher Education (130103)
- Innovation and Technology Management (150307)
- Sociological Methodology and Research Methods (160807)
- Organisational Behaviour (150311)
- Business Information Systems (150302)
- Entrepreneurship (150304)
- Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics) (220107)
- Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement (150303)
- Economics, Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy (130203)
- Public Health and Health Services (111799)
- Technical, Further and Workplace Education (130108)
- Management (910402)
- Business Ethics (950402)
- Professions and Professionalisation (940502)
- Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services (970115)
- Public Sector Productivity (910405)
- Application Software Packages (excl. Computer Games) (890201)
- Work and Institutional Development (940599)
- Communication (950299)
- Technological Ethics (950408)
- Syllabus and Curriculum Development (930302)
- Workplace Safety (940505)
- Social Ethics (950407)
- Education and Training (939999)
- Health (929999)
- Workforce Transition and Employment (939908)
Rob has published in a range of internationally refereed journals. He has also co-edited a book on ethics and human resource management: Pinnington, A. Macklin, R. and Campbell, T. (Editors) (2007) HRM: Ethics and Employment, Oxford: Oxford University Press. The majority of Rob's publications have been in the area of ethics and human resource management. In the last year for example he has published three internationally refereed papers as follows.
Journal Article(12 outputs)
|2018||Newstead T, Macklin R, Dawkins S, Martin A, 'What is virtue? Advancing the conceptualization of virtue to inform positive organizational inquiry', The Academy of Management Perspectives, 32, (4) pp. 443-457. ISSN 1558-9080 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Newstead T; Dawkins S; Martin A
|2018||Schonell S, Macklin R, 'Work integrated learning initiatives: live case studies as a mainstream WIL assessment', Studies in Higher Education pp. 1-12. ISSN 0307-5079 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Schonell S
|2017||Macklin R, Mathison K, 'Embedding ethics: dialogic partnerships and communitarian business ethics', Journal of Business Ethics pp. 1-13. ISSN 0167-4544 (2017) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1
Co-authors: Mathison K
|2017||Paulus T, Woods M, Atkins D, Macklin R, 'The discourse of QDAS: reporting practices of ATLAS.ti and NVivo users with implications for best practices', International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 20, (1) pp. 35-47. ISSN 1364-5579 (2017) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 3
Co-authors: Woods M
|2016||Woods M, Paulus T, Atkins D, Macklin R, 'Advancing qualitative research using qualitative data analysis software (QDAS)? Reviewing potential versus practice in published studies using ATLAS.ti and NVivo, 1994-2013', Social Science Computer Review, 34, (5) pp. 597-617. ISSN 0894-4393 (2016) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Web of Science - 13
Co-authors: Woods M
|2015||Macklin RB, Martin A, Mathison K, 'An integrated model of justice and ethical climates and the influence of cultural diversity', Management and Organization Review, 11, (Special Issue 1) pp. 101-121. ISSN 1740-8776 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 3
Co-authors: Martin A; Mathison K
|2015||Woods M, Macklin RB, Lewis GK, 'Researcher reflexivity: exploring the impacts of CAQDAS use', International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 19, (4) pp. 385-403. ISSN 1364-5579 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 7
Co-authors: Woods M; Lewis GK
|2014||Macklin RB, 'Dynamic Justice and organisational change', The Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, 14, (2) pp. 65-75. ISSN 1328-4576 (2014) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||Macklin RB, Mathison K, Dibben MR, 'Process Ethics and Business: Applying Process Thought to Enact Critiques of Mind/Body Dualism in Organizations', Process Studies, 43, (2) pp. 61-86. ISSN 0360-6503 (2014) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Mathison K; Dibben MR
|2012||Trede F, Macklin R, Bridges D, 'Professional identity development: a review of the higher education literature', Studies in Higher Education, 37, (3) pp. 365-384. ISSN 0307-5079 (2012) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 113Web of Science - 104
|2010||Plummer K, Burmeister O, Muntean D, McGrath D, Murphy D, et al., 'A whole of curriculum approach to teaching business ethics', Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, 12, (1/2) pp. 14-28. ISSN 1328-4576 (2010) [Refereed Article]|
|2006||Macklin RB, 'The moral autonomy of human resource managers', Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 44, (2) pp. 211-221. ISSN 1038-4111 (2006) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||Wickham MD, Macklin RB, Wong TL, 'Regional economic development: The role of regional government in the development of internationally competitive industry clusters', Palmer-Higgs, Australia, pp. 178. ISBN 978 0 992 54937 4 (2014) [Authored Other Book]|
Co-authors: Wickham MD; Wong TL
Chapter in Book(9 outputs)
|2018||Neesham C, Macklin R, 'Political philosophy and business ethics', Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics, Springer International Publishing AG, DC Poff and AC Michalos (ed), United States, pp. 1-6. ISBN 978-3-319-23514-1 (2018) [Other Book Chapter]|
|2018||Woods M, Dawkins S, Macklin RB, Martin A, 'Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Policing', Organisational Behaviour: Emerging Knowledge, Global Insights, McGraw-Hill Education, S McShane, M Olekalns, A Newman, and T Travaglione (ed), Sydney, Australia ISBN 9781760421649 (2018) [Other Book Chapter]|
Co-authors: Woods M; Dawkins S; Martin A
|2017||Dibben M, Wood M, Macklin RB, Riggio RE, 'Rethinking ethical leadership using process metaphysics', Radical Thoughts on Ethical Leadership, Information Age Publishing, Inc., CL Jurkiewicz and RA Giacalone (ed), Charlotte, NC, pp. 169-198. ISBN 978-1681239897 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]|
Co-authors: Dibben M
|2012||Macklin R, Whiteford G, 'Phronesis, Aporia and Qualitative Research', Phronesis as Professional Knowledge: Practical Wisdom in The Professions, Sense Publishers, E Kinsella, A Pitman, and The University of Western Ohio (ed), The Netherlands, pp. 87-101. ISBN 978-94-6091-729-5 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2010||Macklin RB, 'Researching in the face of the other: Doing decent research', Research Practice: A Discourse on Qualitative Methodologies, SENSE Publishers, Higgs, Cheery, Macklin & Ajjawi (ed), Netherlands, pp. 93-104. ISBN 978-9460911811 (2010) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2010||Macklin RB, Higgs J, 'Using lenses and layers', Research Practice: A Discourse on Qualitative Methodologies, SENSE Publishers, Higgs, Cheery, Macklin & Ajjawi (ed), Netherlands, pp. 65-74. ISBN 978-9460911811 (2010) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2009||Macklin RB, 'Moral judgement and practical reasoning in professional practice', Understanding and Researching Professional Practice, SENSE Publishers, Green & Kemmis (ed), Netherlands, pp. 83-99. ISBN 978-94-6091-181-1 (2009) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2007||Macklin RB, 'Moral judgement in management: The role of phronesis and aporia', Engagement & Change: Exploring Management, Economics & Financial Implications of a Globalising Environment, Australian Academic Press, Basu, O'Neill & Travaglioni (ed), Australia, pp. 227-236. ISBN 9781875378883 (2007) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2007||Macklin RB, 'The morally decent HR manager', Human Resource Management: Ethics and Employment, Oxford, Pinnington, Macklin & Campbell (ed), UK, pp. 266-281. ISBN 978-0-19-920378-9 (2007) [Research Book Chapter]|
Conference Publication(4 outputs)
|2017||Loghman S, Macklin R, Woods M, Dawkins S, 'Investigating the effect of ethical leadership on employees' psychological capital with the mediating role of organisational identification', 7th Annual Australasian Business Ethics Network (ABEN) Conference: Business Ethics and the Public Interest, 10-12 December 2017, Melbourne, Vic, pp. 28-29. (2017) [Conference Extract]|
Co-authors: Loghman S; Woods M; Dawkins S
|2017||Newstead T, Macklin R, Dawkins S, Martin Angela, 'Virtues at work: A leadership development study', 7th Annual Australasian Business Ethics Network (ABEN) Conference: Business Ethics and the Public Interest, 10-12 December 2017, Melbourne, Vic, pp. 34-35. (2017) [Conference Extract]|
Co-authors: Newstead T; Dawkins S; Martin Angela
|2014||Macklin RB, Mathison K, 'Ties That Define: A Communitarian Theory of Ethics in Organizations', 2014 Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1-5 August, Philadelphia, pp. 1-34. (2014) [Conference Extract]|
Co-authors: Mathison K
|2013||Schonell SH, Macklin RB, 'A live case study approach to management education', Proceedings of the 27th ANZAM Conference, December 4-6, 2013, Hobart, pp. 1-19. ISBN 978-0-9875968-1-9 (2013) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
Co-authors: Schonell SH
Grants & Funding
Rob has received a number of grants whilst at UTAS, including one University research enhancement grant and two faculty grants.
Number of grants
- This project takes our research on mental health in the workplace and explores its translation into practice by developing a case study with an organisation seeking to improve its mental health management capability.
- Museum of Old and New Art ($8,000)
- Contract Research
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Dawkins S; Woods M; Macklin RB
- University of Tasmania ($5,000)
- Grant-Research Enhancement (REGS)
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Hemmings LC; Macklin RB
Rob has supervised a range of research students at the research masters and PhD level. He is particularly interested in supervising students interested in the ethical dimensions of human resource management and the ethics of managing employee's with a mental illness.
|PhD||A Core-Periphery Model of Voluntary CSR Disclosure in Corporate Comminications: A Comparative Study of Multinational Finance Corporations||2013|
|PhD||Virtues-Based Leadership Development: A conceptual analysis and evaluation of The Virtues Project||2015|
|PhD||A Comparative Evaluation of Workplace Mental Health and Psychological Capital in Public and Private Workers in a Cross-cultural Population: The role of union workers||2017|
|PhD||Academic Viewpoints on Spirituality in Higher Education: An exploratory qualitative study|
Candidate: Lubna Asrar Siddiqi