John Ruggie Photo

John Ruggie

Appointment
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Belfer Bldg 404
617-384-7569
Ruggie, John Gerard. "Multinationals as Global Institution: Power, Authority and Relative Autonomy." Regulation & Governance (June 2017).

Abstract

This article aims to inform the long-standing and unresolved debate between voluntary corporate social responsibility and initiativesto impose binding legal obligations on multinational enterprises. The two approaches share a common feature: neither can fully spec-ify its own scope conditions, that is, how much of the people and planet agenda either can expect to deliver. The reason they share thisfeature is also the same: neither is based on a foundational political analysis of the multinational enterprise in the context of globalgovernance. Such an analysis is essential for providing background to and perspective on what either approach can hope to achieve,and how. This article begins to bridge the gap by illustrating aspects of the political power, authority, and relative autonomy of thecontemporary multinational enterprise. The conclusion spells out some implications for the debate itself, and for further research.