Chinese State-owned Enterprises and Human Rights: The Importance of National and Intra-organizational Pressures

Glen Whelan, Judy N. Muthuri

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    The growing global prominence of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) brings new dimensions to our understanding of multi-national corporations (MNCs) and human rights issues. This article constructs a three-level framework that enables the mapping of transnational, national, and intra-organizational human rights pressures, and uses this framework to identify and analyze the human rights that Chinese SOEs report concern with. The analysis provided suggests that while China’s most global SOEs are subject to transnational pressures to respect all human rights, such pressures appear outweighed by those encouraging them to concentrate on only some human rights (i.e., economic, social, and cultural rights) within their national and intra-organizational environment. The article concludes by identifying a number of ways in which our conceptual framework and empirical findings can inform future research.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBusiness & Society
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)738-781
    Number of pages44
    Publication statusPublished - May 2017


    • China
    • Civil rights
    • Human rights
    • Political rights
    • State-owned enterprises

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