This chapter explores the role of organized labour in drafting the ISO 26000 guidance standard on social responsibility (SR) as a case study of the circumstances in which marginalized actors can take advantage of transnational business governance interactions (TBGIs) to achieve regulatory outcomes that advance their interests. Organized labour was vastly outnumbered in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), yet it achieved remarkably strong labour standards in ISO 26000 compared to other leading SR initiatives. Integrating theories of legitimation and regulatory enrolment, the chapter theorizes the circumstances in which one can expect a regulator to acquiesce to an audience’s legitimation demands. It shows that labour was unlikely on its own to secure ISO’s acquiescence to its legitimation demands, but succeeded by both proactively leveraging and passively coasting upon the delicate relationship between a transnational regulator (ISO) that faced a legitimacy deficit and another actor (the International Labour Organization (ILO)) that could fill this deficit. It describes a triadic strategy in which a regulatory underdog exploits legitimation differentials between a legitimacy-poor regulator and a legitimacy-rich booster, and the booster is doubly enrolled by the regulator to enhance the regulator’s legitimacy and by the underdog to boost the underdog’s effectiveness.
Legal and Policy Challenges for the World Economy
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson, Yves Le Bouthillier, Heather McLeod-Kilmurray and Stepan Wood
Stepan Wood, Burkard Eberlein, Errol Meidinger, Rebecca Schmidt and Kenneth W. Abbott
In what circumstances can transnational business governance interactions (TBGIs)—the myriad overlaps, intersections, conflicts, collisions and synergies amongst the actors and institutions involved in transnational regulation of business activity—be harnessed to enhance the quality of transnational regulation and advance the interests of marginalized actors? This chapter introduces the concept of transnational business governance interactions (TBGIs), summarizes the TBGI analytical framework and defines regulatory quality and marginalized actors. It proposes to investigate the relationship between TBGIs, regulatory quality and marginalized actors at three levels: regulatory capacities, outputs and outcomes. The chapter presents the plan of the book and summarizes the key messages of the chapters.
Stepan Wood, Errol Meidinger, Burkard Eberlein, Rebecca Schmidt and Kenneth W. Abbott
The chapters of this book paint a mixed and not particularly optimistic picture of the prospects for harnessing transnational business governance interactions (TBGIs)—the myriad overlaps, intersections, conflicts, collisions and synergies amongst the actors and institutions involved in transnational regulation of business activity—to improve the quality of transnational regulation and advance marginalized interests. This chapter synthesizes key findings about the impact of TBGIs of regulatory quality and marginalized actors, explores the implications of these findings for identifying and shaping TBGIs that foster regulatory quality or advance marginalized interests, and presents concluding reflections on lessons learned and future research directions.