Addressing Governance Gaps in Global Value Chains: Introducing a Systematic Typology

Journal of Business Ethics 170 (4):657-672 (2019)
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Abstract

Multinational enterprises dominate the governance of global value chains, such that according to the concept of political corporate social responsibility, they are responsible to address governance gaps throughout the chains, even at the level of their independent suppliers. In practice, MNEs often struggle to cope with the complexity of these governance gaps, and PCSR does not provide a clear definition nor offer guidance for how to analyze and address them. By adopting the notion of governance mechanisms from GVC literature, this study proposes a more nuanced view, in which governance gaps result from inactive, ineffective, or inequitable governance mechanisms adopted by relevant actors, rather than a complete absence of governance. MNEs, through their governance mechanisms, commonly create governance gaps. This study distinguishes different types of governance mechanisms to create a typology of governance gaps, such that it contributes to the literature on PCSR by offering a more refined understanding of governance gaps, along with a means to identify mechanisms to address them. Furthermore, it contributes to the literature on GVCs by defining governance-related terms and adding an ethical perspective on MNEs’ global business conduct. To illustrate the typology, this article presents the case of low wages for workers in the textile industry and efforts by H&M to deal with this governance gap.

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