Government and the Governance of Business Conduct: Implications for Management and Organization
Marie Laure Djelic, ESSEC Business School
Arno Kourula, University of Amsterdam
Jeremy Moon, Copenhagen Business School
Christopher Wickert, VU University Amsterdam
Paper submission deadline: 28th February 2017
In this special issue, we call on authors to explore the role(s) of government in the contemporary governance of business conduct. In the past couple of decades, we have seen a tremendous growth in different forms of governance of business conduct, often with a transnational scope and reach – including intergovernmental accords and agreements, networked multi-stakeholder negotiated rules, private and market-based standards and selfgovernance processes (see Brunsson, Rasche & Seidl, 2012; Djelic & Sahlin-Andersson, 2006; Moon, Crane & Matten, 2011; Rasche, de Bakker & Moon, 2013). While globalization has enabled and fostered these new forms of self, private, intergovernmental or multistakeholder governance, governments have arguably remained involved or they have even stepped back in to reassert some of their lost authority. However, this has happened in ways and forms that may be quite different from what had characterized earlier forms of government intervention (see Peterman, Kourula & Levitt, 2014; Wood & Wright, 2015). These dynamics surface in contexts such as financial regulation in the aftermath of the economic crisis, taxation, corruption, social and environmental responsibility in globalized production networks and supply chains, the regulation of information and communication technologies, the standardization of products and services, and lately government responses to terrorism and security concerns with potentially wide ranging effects on how businesses operate in the global marketplace.
A wealth of literature has argued that the last decades have seen an impressive shift of regulatory authority over business conduct from governments towards multi-stakeholder arenas or the private sector alone (Büthe & Mattli, 2011; Djelic & Sahlin-Andersson, 2006). This is particularly apparent in the contexts of healthcare, education, accounting and human rights, which had traditionally been administered and directly ruled by governments. Additionally, in various areas such as financial regulation, taxation, information and communication technology, biotechnology, or, more broadly community development, consumer information, responsible investment, and labour standards, regulation has lagged behind and often taken the form of self-regulation and self-policing. The trend toward ‘governance’ as assuming a greater role in the “direction of society” has been attributed to many sources, including globalization; privatization and the liberalization of formerly public utilities; the marketization of public services; the crisis of traditional government; increasing pressures towards representative forms of democracy and greater citizen participation; an ideological watershed towards neo-liberal policy-making; the search for more effective policy-making; and the irresistible power of business firms, most of all multinational corporations. While this evolution is seemingly a global trend, regional and national differences do exist. Management scholars, organization theorists, political scientists, sociologists, development studies experts, anthropologists and civil society researchers, among others, have all pitched in to understand the dynamics of governance at global, national and local levels. However, we have only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the implications for policy-making and business conduct of the major societal transitions associated with the progress of governance and its complex interactions with a resilient but transformed government.
By ‘government' we refer to those actors, which have exclusive authority over legitimate force in a specific territory (see Moon, 2002; Weber, 1949). We aim to examine a range of public actors including national, state, and local government, as well as ministries, departments and agencies. Thus governments are actors, which have been conventionally characterized by a unique mode of ‘authority’ – with the capacity to impose legally binding constraints and sanctions over given jurisdictions. By ‘governance’ we refer, first, to a trend where the ‘direction to society’ (Peters, 1996) tends to be increasingly provided through other modes than direct governmental authority – modes that involve market and network dynamics of various kinds. Secondly, governance is characterized by the participation of a multiplicity of actors, beyond states or governmental agencies – private actors, principally from business and civil society, each functioning in their respective characteristic mode of markets, networks or communities (Ahrne, Aspers & Brunsson, 2015; Auld, 2014; Moon, 2002; Wittneben, Okereke, Banerjee & Levy, 2012), and arguably even extending to the ‘authority’
mode (Crane, Matten & Moon, 2008; Matten & Crane, 2005). While analytically the two notions can be easily distinguished, the boundaries are becoming increasingly fluid – governments tend today to rely also on various kinds of governance technologies while some governance arrangements get close to exerting coercive authority. The European Union is, in that respect, an interesting space that may anticipate a broader evolution towards somewhat of
a hybrid form of ‘governance’/’government’.
We still know little about the changing roles of different actors in governance, and in particular we have not explored the ways in which governments are re-organizing their own imbrication into these evolving governance processes. The processes, power struggles, and dynamics arising as governments attempt to reclaim, the private sector strives to defend, and civil society actors learn to redefine their roles and territories need more attention. In contemporary forms of governance, governments are rethinking and re-inventing their role(s) in the provision of public goods (Arellano-Gault, Demortain, Rouillard & Thoenig, 2013; Peterman, Kourula & Levitt, 2014; Rhodes, 2007; Wood & Wright, 2015), and these transformations often have profound implications for the regulation of business. Recent evidence also suggests that national governments show a regain of interest for areas that had been brought under the rule of private and multi-stakeholder governance (Albareda, Lozano & Ysa, 2007; Gond, Kang & Moon, 2011; Knudsen, Moon & Slager, 2015; Steurer, 2009). National governments collectively (e.g., through the OECD, the European Union, or the United Nations) and individually (e.g., the US and UK) have taken initiative to reclaim authority by introducing, for example, anti-corruption or CSR reporting regulations (Knudsen, Moon & Slager, 2015). At the same time, companies such as Facebook, Airbnb and Uber introduce innovative business models that undermine existing regulation, which may create conflicts over regulatory authority between governments and governance. These new or in some cases renewed social, environmental and ethical responsibilities of businesses are a hot topic within the discussion about corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility (Crane, Matten & Moon, 2008; Mäkinen & Kourula, 2012; Matten & Crane, 2005; Scherer & Palazzo, 2011; Wickert, forthcoming). This special issue seeks to go much beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) in looking at all forms of business conduct and, unlike much of the recent political CSR scholarship, argues that governments play a greater role than previously thought. All things considered, the space between government and governance
thus represents an increasingly contested terrain where each side struggles for influence and power.
Authors intending to submit papers to this special issue are encouraged to focus on the following broad objectives:
1) Advance theorizing about the organizational and managerial dimensions of the involvement of government in the governance of business conduct.
2) Explore the (new) roles, forms, and practices that governments adopt in managing the governance of business conduct.
3) Analyse the interactions and their consequences within and between government organizations as well as between government organizations and other governance actors.
4) Integrate research about the potential organizational and managerial implications of an at least partial move back from governance to government in the regulation of business conduct.
Questions which could be addressed by submissions include, but are by no means limited to the following:
• How and in what ways do governments contribute to multi-actor governance arrangements?
• What do governments do to reclaim regulatory authority from business? What do businesses do to prevent losing power to governments?
• Has private regulation failed, and if so, by which standards?
• What are the implications of the government vs. governance debate on dimensions such as democracy, justice, equality, poverty, prosperity, and sustainability?
• What kind of (novel) roles do governments play in governance?
• What kind of struggles take place between different government organizations?
• What kind of struggles take place between government organizations and businesses or nongovernmental organizations?
• Can different governance arrangements institutionalize more sustainable and responsible forms of business behaviour?
• How do government actors manage their participation in governance?
• What are the organizational and managerial implications when private actors/business firms give away space and regulatory power back to governments?
• How do power struggles take place within government organizations?
We welcome all kinds of theoretical and methodological approaches and are open to all ontological and epistemological perspectives. Both empirical and conceptual papers are invited and multi-level, cross-disciplinary, as well as multi-method submissions are appreciated. Papers are welcome on government and governance in and across all types of political, geographical, social, economic and business systems.
The submission deadline for this special issue is 28th February 2017.
Please submit papers through the journal’s online submission system, SAGE track at mc.manuscriptcentral.com/orgstudies
, create your user account (if you have not done so already), and choose the corresponding Special Issue “Government and the Governance of Business Conduct” under “Manuscript Type”. All papers that enter the reviewing process will be double-blind reviewed following the journal’s normal review process and criteria. Further guidelines for the submission and information about the reviewing process can be found here.
Paper Development Workshop:
A two-day pre-submission paper development workshop will be held at Copenhagen Business School on 29th/30th September 2016. Authors interested in submitting a paper for the special issue are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop in order to get feedback on their drafts. Participation at the workshop is however no guarantee for publication, while attendance at the
workshop is no prerequisite for submission. Authors interested in participating the workshop should submit a full paper draft version before 30th June 2016 to firstname.lastname@example.org
and will be informed about their acceptance by end of July. Participation will be limited to about 25 papers.
Administrative support and general queries:
Sophia Tzagaraki, Managing Editor, Organization Studies: email@example.com
For further information, please contact the guest editors of the special issue
Marie Laure Djelic: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arno Kourula: A.E.Kourula@uva.nl
Jeremy Moon: email@example.com
Christopher Wickert: firstname.lastname@example.org