Loose and Tight Couplings in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives
This paper extends scholarship on multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) in the context of corporate social responsibility in three ways. First, I outline a framework to analyze the strength of couplings between actors participating in MSIs. Characterizing an MSI as consisting of numerous local networks that are embedded in a wider global network, I argue that tighter couplings (within local networks) and looser couplings (between local networks) coexist. Second, I suggest that this coexistence of couplings enables MSIs to generate policy outcomes which address the conditions of a transnational regulatory context. I argue that MSIs' way of organizing enables them to cope with three challenges: the stability, flexibility, and legitimacy of governance. Reflecting on these challenges, the article identifies a number of problems related to MSIs' role in transnational governance. Third, I discuss the UN Global Compact as an illustrative case and examine problems and opportunities related to its stability, flexibility, and legitimacy.
Business Ethics Quarterly, 2012, Vol 22, Issue 4, p. 679-708
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Global governance; Local networks; Loose coupling; Multi-stakeholder initiatives; Network theory; Global Governance; Network Theory; Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives; Loose Coupling; Local Networks