Corporate Social Behaviour: Between the Rules of the Game and the Law of the Jungle

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Over the last decades, the industrialised countries have experienced a shift from the Keynesian state intervention paradigm towards a more market-regulated economy. Firms have found themselves in a new era, where they are expected to self-regulate their behaviour in terms of working conditions, human rights and environmental protection. Without a common point of reference in national regulation, managers in multinational enterprises now have to develop their own codes of corporate social behaviour. This has created a growing market for private standards within the field of environmental management systems, social accountability, corporate citizenship, occupational health and safety and so forth. However, both the idea of government regulation and the literature acclaiming corporate self-regulation should be met with some scepticism. This paper offers a short assessment of the potentials and pitfalls of regulation and self-regulation and presents some initiatives that might help bridge the gap. The conclusions will be supported by recent findings from primarily Northern European evaluations and research
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Corporate Citizenship
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)43-57
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003

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