Inscribing Soft Rules: A Study of the Transnational Issue Field of Business and Human Rights

Alison E. Holm, Jasper J. Hotho

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This paper explores how soft rules are inscribed into corporate behavior in transnational issue fields. We study processes of inscription and the outcomes of these processes using an inductive approach to an embedded, single-case study of international guidelines complaints mechanism in the transnational field of business and human rights. Our findings three main sequential mechanisms for soft rule inscription in corporate behavior through the actions of different agents of the issue field: publicizing issue by monitoring agent, legitimating complaint by a field authority, and engagement of the targeted corporation with the monitoring agent and the field authority. Furthermore, our study of outcomes revealed that the soft rule inscription process leads to changes in corporate positioning relative to the issue and to other actors in the transnational issue field. These findings from the level of actors’ interaction contribute to knowledge on institutionalization processes at the level of the field in transnational issue fields.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-first Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management - Online, Virtual, Online
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021
Conference number: 81


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

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