A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Governance innovation: Standard competition-collaboration dynamic

LUT Authors / Editors

Publication Details
Authors: Albareda Laura
Publisher: Emerald: 24 month embargo
Publication year: 2013
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Corporate Governance
Volume number: 13
Issue number: 5
Start page: 551
End page: 568
Number of pages: 18
ISSN: 1472-0701
eISSN: 1758-6054
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Open Access: Not an Open Access publication


This paper presents an analytical framework to understand the complex CSR accountability standard architecture, studying the CSR standardization cycle through the organizational studies perspective. It has two main aims: to discuss the theoretical approach to CSR governance, proposing a matrix to classify international CSR accountability standards; and to study the CSR multi-industry standardization cycle (setting and design, diffusion and implementation), creating an analytical framework to understand the innovative dynamics adopted through CSR standard-setting.

– The paper is based on empirical research on global CSR multi-industry standards and the emergence of a regulatory dynamic based on competition-collaboration. The paper's arguments stem from a case study of the Global Reporting Initiative and its inter-linkage and convergence with the UN Global Compact and ISO 26000. The author analyzes this case based on the global governance and institutional dynamics of regulation research.

– Based on the study of CSR standards, the paper presents an analytical framework with various elements to analyze CSR accountability standards: scope, type of actors, performance type and mechanisms and type of legitimacy and monitoring strategies. Second, the paper advances the study of emerging inter-linkages between GRI, UNGC and ISO 26000 and analyzes the emergence of a meta-standardization process generated by the competition-collaboration dynamic.

Research limitations/implications
– Further research is needed to focus on the role of agency and different stakeholders on the meta-standardization process. Other research has to focus on the institutional logic and the multi-level analysis of the convergence between CSR standards and the self-regulation advanced process. In this respect, this research serves to demonstrate the leading innovative role adopted by private actors (mostly companies) in developing private standard setting for global governance.

– The value of this paper is its analysis of the main convergence dynamic adopted by the most popular, global-scope CSR multi-industry standards, GRI, UNGC and ISO 26000. The findings show how this standardization cycle helps a new collaborative governance dynamic to emerge based on the adoption of private standard-setting. The paper is also useful for practitioners, helping them understand the growing convergence among CSR multi-industry standards, and how the convergence of sustainability reporting processes is advancing towards the integration and drafting of homogeneous guidelines with the prevalence of the GRI model.

Last updated on 2019-26-09 at 14:42