MNEs and human rights: From responsibilities to rights to governance

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Abstract

Purpose – This paper explores the links between MNEs and human rights abuses, and reviews the development of international business and human rights initiatives. Arguing that the focus of the business and human rights debate has shifted from responsibility to rights, and subsequently to governance, it proposes a framework for analysing international business and human rights governance issues in the context of social value creation.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper develops a framework for analysing business and human rights governance with respect to (i) the business and human rights field; and (ii) four business and human rights subfields (labour, consumption, community, and environment).
Findings – The analytical framework is organised around the relationships between human rights duty-bearers (companies) and human rights-holders (e.g., employees, consumers). It emphasises the role of actors and their interests, the relationships between actors, the objectives of these relationships, and the role of governance mechanisms and structures, which, for a particular human rights subfield, define the international business and human rights governance system.
Originality/value – The analytical framework can be used by international business researchers, practitioners and public policy-makers to describe, analyse, discuss and address business and human rights issues and challenges. It can be used for comparing and evaluating characteristics and properties of alternative institutional arrangements in the field of business and human rights. Furthermore, it can be used to support the design corporate non-market strategies as well as public policies.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

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