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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 85, Supplement 2, pp 399–412 | Cite as

From Chain Liability to Chain Responsibility

MNE Approaches to Implement Safety and Health Codes in International Supply Chains
  • Rob van Tulder
  • Jeroen van Wijk
  • Ans Kolk
Article

Abstract

This article examines whether the involvement of stakeholders in the design of corporate codes of conduct leads to a higher implementation likelihood of the code. The empirical focus is on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). The article compares the inclusion of OSH issues in the codes of conduct of 30 companies involved in International Framework Agreements (IFAs), agreed upon by trade unions and multinational enterprises, with those of a benchmark sample of 38 leading Multinational Enterprises in comparable industries. It is found that codes of the IFA group have a higher implementation likelihood in OSH than the codes of the benchmark group. Further, European firms, culturally more used to stakeholder involvement, score higher than their US and Japanese competitors, and hence are more capable of addressing the safety and health issues in international supply chains. The implementation likelihood of codes seems closely related to the type of corporate CSR approach.

Keywords

chain responsibility/liability codes of conduct CSR strategies international framework agreement occupational safety and health outsourcing stakeholders 

Abbreviations

CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility

ICFTU

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions

IFA

International Framework Agreement

ILO

International Labour Organization

MNE

Multinational Enterprise

NGO

Non-Governmental Organization

OSH

Occupational Health and Safety

WHO

World Health Organization

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Notes

Acknowledgement

The authors would like to thank Dolf Bruins for data collection and research assistance.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business-Society ManagementRSM Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of Amsterdam Business School AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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