Field Opacity and Practice-Outcome Decoupling: Private Regulation of Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains

Sarosh Kuruvilla, Mingwei Liu, Chunyun Li, Wansi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although firms in diverse industries increasingly adopt private regulation of labor standards for workers in their global supply chains, growing scholarly evidence suggests that this approach has not generated sustainable improvements in working conditions for those workers. The authors draw on recent developments in institutional theory regarding the development of opaque institutional fields that cause the decoupling between practices and outcomes to develop a new explanation for the lack of sustainable improvement in labor practices in supply chains. Using qualitative and quantitative data from a global apparel supplier and a global home products retailer, they demonstrate the various ways in which opacity causes decoupling between private regulation practices of global firms and outcomes for workers in supply chains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-872
Number of pages32
JournalILR Review
Volume73
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Keywords

  • corporate codes of conduct
  • global supply chains
  • labor standards
  • multinational corporations
  • private governance
  • private regulation
  • social auditing
  • sustainability

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