Exploring the Political Role of Corporations in Multi-Stakeholder Governance - the Case of the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh”
The proliferation of multistakeholder initiatives (MSIs) over the past years has sparked an intense debate on the political role of corporations in the governance of global business conduct. To gain a better understanding of corporate political behavior in multistakeholder governance, this article investigates how firms construct a political identity when participating in MSIs. Based on an in-depth case study of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh—an MSI established after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory complex in 2013 to improve working conditions in the Bangladeshi garment industry—we introduce the construct of a political CSR (corporate social responsibility) identity (PCSRI) and explore how firms construct their PCSRIs in MSIs. Employing a qualitative, inductive theory-building method, we analyze interviews and archival data to develop a framework that elucidates how companies construct their PCSRIs within a continuum ranging from conservative to progressive. We show that constructing a PCSRI involves enacting specific, yet interrelated, political strategies that are themselves shaped by several forces over time. This article contributes to the literature by providing a political perspective on organizational identity construction that extends the emerging integrative perspective in political corporate social responsibility (PCSR) research. We suggest that MSIs should be conceptualized as inherently political governance mechanisms that are driven by multidirectional and dynamic political processes of identity construction. Our study shows that corporate political engagement in MSIs is a more nuanced and complex phenomenon than presently theorized.
Huber, Kristin/Schormair, Maximilian J. L. (2019): Progressive and Conservative Firms in Multistakeholder Initiatives: Tracing the Construction of Political CSR Identities Within the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, in: Business & Society, Online first. (PDF)
- Duration: completed
- Project lead: Dr. Maximilian J. L. Schormair
- Sponsor: N/A