Production goes global, compliance stays local: Private regulation in the global electronics industry

Published on Jun 8, 2015in Regulation & Governance2.79
· DOI :10.2139/ssrn.1978908
Greg Distelhorst8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Oxford),
Richard M. Locke21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Brown University)
+ 1 AuthorsHiram M. Samel3
Estimated H-index: 3
(University of Oxford)
Poor working conditions in global supply chains have led to private initiatives that seek to regulate labor practices in developing countries. But how effective are these regulatory programs? We investigate the effects of transnational private regulation by studying Hewlett-Packard's (HP) supplier responsibility program. Using analysis of factory audits, interviews with buyer and supplier management, and field research at production facilities across seven countries, we find that national context – not repeated audits, capability building, or supply chain power – is the key predictor of workplace compliance. Quantitative analysis shows that factories in China are markedly less compliant than those in countries with stronger civil society and regulatory institutions. Comparative field research then illustrates how these local institutions complement transnational private regulation. Although these findings imply limits to private regulation in institutionally poor settings, they also highlight opportunities for productive linkages between transnational actors and local state and society.
  • References (68)
  • Citations (35)
Published on Mar 1, 2017in Comparative Political Studies3.19
Diana Fu1
Estimated H-index: 1
(U of T: University of Toronto)
How does civil society mobilize citizens in an authoritarian state that forbids organizations from coordinating collective contention? Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in underground labor organizations in China, this article theorizes a tactical innovation — disguised collective action — that lowers the cost of organizing contention under repression. Instead of forming organizations to facilitate collective action, organizations enable citizens to better contend as individuals. Departing from ...
Published on Sep 8, 2014in Regulation & Governance2.79
Michael W. Toffel26
Estimated H-index: 26
(Harvard University),
Jodi L. Short9
Estimated H-index: 9
(UC: University of California),
Melissa Ouellet3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Harvard University)
Transnational business regulation is increasingly implemented through private voluntary programs-like certification regimes and codes of conduct-that diffuse global standards. But little is known about the conditions under which companies adhere to these standards. We conduct one of the first large-scale comparative studies to determine which international, domestic, civil society, and market institutions promote supply chain factories' adherence to the global labor standards embodied in codes o...
Published on Jan 1, 2014in Industrial and Labor Relations Review
Matthew Amengual8
Estimated H-index: 8
Regulations essential for improving labor standards are often ignored to the detriment of workers. In many countries, the agencies charged with enforcement lack resources and are subject to political interference. How can inspectors in flawed bureaucracies overcome these barriers and enforce labor regulations? In this article, based on case studies of subnational variation in Argentina, the author develops a theory to explain enforcement in places with weak and politicized labor inspectorates. T...
Published on Dec 1, 2013in Politics & Society2.27
Salo V. Coslovsky7
Estimated H-index: 7
(NYU: New York University),
Richard M. Locke21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Brown University)
In recent years, global corporations and national governments have been enacting a growing number of codes of conduct and public regulations to combat dangerous and degrading work conditions in global supply chains. At the receiving end of this activity, local producers must contend with multiple regulatory regimes, but it is unclear how these regimes interact and what results, if any, they produce. This paper examines this dynamic in the sugar sector in Brazil. It finds that although private an...
Published on Sep 1, 2013in British Journal of Industrial Relations1.98
Richard M. Locke21
Estimated H-index: 21
(MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology),
Ben A. Rissing10
Estimated H-index: 10
(MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology),
Timea Pal3
Estimated H-index: 3
(EUI: European University Institute)
Recent research on regulation and governance suggests that a mixture of public and private interventions is necessary to improve working conditions and environmental standards within global supply chains. Yet less attention has been directed to how these different forms of regulation interact in practice. The form of these interactions is investigated through a contextualized comparison of suppliers producing for Hewlett-Packard, one of the world’s leading global electronics firms. Using a uniqu...
Published on Jul 1, 2013in Human Relations3.37
Mary E. Gallagher14
Estimated H-index: 14
(UM: University of Michigan),
John Giles21
Estimated H-index: 21
(World Bank)
+ 1 AuthorsMeiyan Wang2
Estimated H-index: 2
This paper presents empirical evidence from household and firm survey data collected during 2009-2010 on the implementation of the 2008 Labor Contract Law and its effects on China's workers. The government and local labor bureaus have made substantial efforts to enforce the provisions of the new law, which has likely contributed to reversing a trend toward increasing informalization of the urban labor market. Enforcement of the law, however, varies substantially across cities. The paper analyzes...
Published on Apr 22, 2013
Richard M. Locke21
Estimated H-index: 21
1. The rise of private voluntary regulation in a global economy 2. The promise and perils of private compliance programs 3. Does private compliance improve labor standards? Lessons from Nike 4. Capability building and its limitations 5. Alternative approaches to capability building: a tale of two Nike suppliers 6. Are we looking in the wrong places?: Labor standards and upstream business practices in global supply chains 7. Complements or substitutes? Private power, public regulation, and the en...
Published on Aug 2, 2012
N Pun1
Estimated H-index: 1
Jenny Chan10
Estimated H-index: 10
Published on Dec 1, 2011in The China Quarterly2.24
Timothy Hildebrandt7
Estimated H-index: 7
(SC: University of Southern California)
The Chinese government uses legal registration to manage and control the rise of social organizations. To avoid negative government attention, organizations might be expected to actively pursue such registration. However, in-depth field research of Chinese NGOs in three issue areas (environmental protection, HIV/AIDS prevention, and gay and lesbian rights) reveals that this is not always the case. There are many conflicting political and economic incentives for both NGOs and government, complica...
Cited By35
Published on Jan 1, 2018in Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management3.09
Li Wan (University of Udine), Wan L + 1 AuthorsGuido Nassimbeni22
Estimated H-index: 22
Abstract The role of the country, either home or host, in firms' internationalization has been widely analysed in the International Business field. A large number of studies have shown that home country shapes many aspects of firms' internationalization processes such as investment decisions, location selections, and entry modes. However, these studies mainly focus on the firms' foreign expansion. Little is known about the relations between firms’ home country and reshoring processes. This paper...
Muhammad Shakeel Sadiq Jajja4
Estimated H-index: 4
(LUMS: Lahore University of Management Sciences),
Muhammad Asif15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Prince Sultan University)
+ 1 AuthorsKamran Ali Chatha9
Estimated H-index: 9
(LUMS: Lahore University of Management Sciences)
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to use institutional theory to develop the constructs of institutional pressures for social compliance and argue for a positive relationship between institutional pressures and Supplier Social Compliance Management System (SSCMS). Moreover, the authors theorize that the impact of institutional pressures on SSCMS is moderated by the supplier’s organizational culture. This is done in a particularly salient context, which is apparel manufacturing in a developing...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in International Business Review3.64
Mohammad Bakhtiar Rana4
Estimated H-index: 4
(AAU: Aalborg University),
Glenn Morgan28
Estimated H-index: 28
(UoB: University of Bristol)
Abstract Since 1992, the national business systems (NBS) approach has been increasingly used to analyse not only firm characteristics, structures and strategies within NBS, but also the nature of international business and its interactions with both national and transnational institutions. In reviewing 25 years of NBS literature, we heed calls in IB journals urging researchers to use NBS notions and findings in IB research. Our systematic review of 96 articles analyses the patterns and contribut...
Published on Jan 1, 2019
Marc Müller1
Estimated H-index: 1
(HSG: University of St. Gallen)
The upholding of labor issues in supply chains is increasingly debated in the business sphere, in the political arena and within civil society. Hence, this thesis aims to study supplier social standard (non-)compliance from the suppliers’ and buyers’ perspectives informed by three organizational theories that guide three quantitative studies. The results largely confirm the predictions that (1) emerging market suppliers amend their social standard compliance by referring to their past and compet...
Published on Jan 1, 2019in Journal of Cleaner Production6.39
Esteban Koberg1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Ramon Llull University),
Annachiara Longoni10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Ramon Llull University)
Abstract Recurring controversies involving supply chain-related sustainability incidents suggest that firms with a global presence struggle to improve environmental, social and economic outcomes in global supply chains. Sustainable supply chain management has been suggested for improving sustainability outcomes in supply chains, yet global supply chains pose unique challenges. This paper aims to provide a synthesis of the key elements of sustainable supply chain management in global supply chain...
Published on Nov 1, 2018in Journal of Operations Management7.78
Verónica H. Villena5
Estimated H-index: 5
(PSU: Pennsylvania State University),
Dennis A. Gioia44
Estimated H-index: 44
(PSU: Pennsylvania State University)
Abstract Although multinational companies (MNCs) have increasingly embraced a sustainability strategy for their own operations, fewer have tried to engage their (tier-one) suppliers in their sustainability initiatives. It is even rarer that MNCs engage their suppliers' suppliers (lower-tier suppliers), despite the latter having a higher incidence of violations with more acute environmental and social impacts that can jeopardize the MNCs’ operations and reputation. We conducted inductive research...
Victoria Alice Maguire-Rajpaul1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Oxford),
Vinesh Rajpaul8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Cambridge)
+ 1 AuthorsLuís Fernando Guedes Pinto2
Estimated H-index: 2
This paper addresses the relationship between compliance with social performance criteria (the social outcomes that must be achieved for certification) and procedural (management) criteria and this relationship’s significance for social equity at both farm and wider landscape levels. We consider social performance compliance to be pertinent to farm-level equity, and the relative compliance of small versus large farms to be pertinent to landscape-level equity. Certification’s management requireme...
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