Project

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Socializing markets: business and human rights

Applicant Tuta Ioana
Number 152011
Funding scheme Doc.CH (until 2020)
Research institution
Institution of higher education Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - IHEID
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.09.2014 - 31.08.2016
Approved amount 127'450.00
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Keywords (4)

norm translation; business and human rights; multinational corporations; international socialization

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Au cours des dernières décennies, les entreprises multinationales, le plus souvent dans l’industrie pétrolière, minière et textile, ont été critiquées pour un rôle direct ou indirect dans des violations des droits de l'homme et des catastrophes environnementales. En raison de la pression des médias et des renforcements réglementaires, certaines entreprises ont adopté des politiques en matière de droits de l'homme.
Lay summary

 

En 2011, le Conseil des droits de l'homme des Nations Unies a adopté les Principes directeurs relatifs aux entreprises et aux droits de l'homme. Ce document clarifie les mesures que les entreprises doivent adopter pour respecter les droits de l'homme dans l’ensemble de leurs activités.

Parmi ces mesures, les Principes directeurs mentionnent la mise en œuvre d’une procédure de diligence raisonnable pour évaluer les incidences effectives et potentielles sur les droits de l’homme, et des procédures pour remédier à toutes incidences negatives. Le projet de recherche analyse l'adoption et la mise en œuvre de ces types de procedures par les entreprises multinationales dans le secteur extractif.

A un premier niveau d’analyse, le projet éclaire les processus internes, d'organisation et de gestion, par lesquels les etreprises s'engagent et mettent en œuvre les politiques des droits de l'homme. A un deuxième niveau, la recherche se penche sur la façon dont ces processus internes influent sur la relation de l’entreprise avec les communautés locales où leurs filiales opèrent. 

La thèse vise à valider un domaine de recherche qui traite les acteurs privés comme acteurs sociaux qui influencent et sont influencés par des normes sociales. Le projet contribue auusi aux débats sur la réglementation et la responsabilité des multinationales.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 05.05.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Centre for International Environmental Studies/Graduate Institute Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Institute of Democracy and Human Rights/Catholic University of Peru Peru (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Institute for Business Ethics/University St Gallen Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
3rd European Workshop in International Studies Talk given at a conference 'Translating' norms across communities of practice: Business and Human Rights 06.04.2016 University of Tubingen, Germany Tuta Ioana;
European Consortium for Political Research General Conference Talk given at a conference Containing extractive capitalism. The translocal resistance to mining: the cases of Yanacocha and Rosia Montana 26.08.2015 University of Montreal, Canada Tuta Ioana;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
The translation of human rights to private actors. The emergence of a private human rights regime? Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 24.09.2015 Institute of Human Rights and Democracy/Catholic University of Peru, Peru Tuta Ioana;


Abstract

This thesis departs from increasing empirical evidence that human rights norms have entered the private realm of transnational business actors and investigates the following research questions: “How are human rights translated to business contexts? How do human rights get incorporated into company practices and procedures and how do they impact the relation with local communities?” At various times since the 1990s, large multinational companies (MNCs) have become the target of “naming and shaming” campaigns exposing instances of human rights violations caused by their operations in developing countries with weak regulatory frameworks and enforcement capacity. Concerns about reputation loss, the prospect of civil litigation and the pressure from shareholders have created incentives for corporations to commit to human rights principles through voluntary programmes, such as the Fair Labour Association, Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, or the Global Compact. In 2011, the Human Rights Council adopted the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, an internationally authoritative document, clarifying that “the responsibility to respect human rights is a global standard of expected conduct for all business enterprises wherever they operate” and requiring business actors to incorporate human rights principles in organizational practices. This project explores the process through which norms that have emerged as collective understandings about states’ legitimate behavior, and shaped state behavior by creating appropriate standards of conduct are translated to business actors, previously marginal to the human rights regime. The dissertation aims to make an important theoretical contribution by addressing two gaps in the literature. Socialization into international norms is an important area of constructivist research in International Relations, but very few scholars have applied its insights to private actors, restricting most normative research to states, NGOs and international institutions. While global governance and private authority scholars made MNCs an important object of research and addressed the ways in which they blur the public-private distinction in international politics, less attention has been paid to the normative implications of this transformative dynamic. The dissertation includes a two level analysis. At a first level, I analyze the processes through which business actors change organizational practices and learn new modes of thinking in the context of structural normative change about appropriate corporate behavior. At a second level, I investigate the relation between companies and the local communities in which their subsidiaries operate when human rights issues are at stake. I will unpack these aspects by relying on case studies of MNCs from the extractive sector and using as research tools interviews, fieldwork and documents analysis.
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