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


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.


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



Corporate Social Responsibility


International Confederation of Free Trade Unions


International Framework Agreement


International Labour Organization


Multinational Enterprise


Non-Governmental Organization


Occupational Health and Safety


World Health Organization


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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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