HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Berthold Beitz Research Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs

Abstract

This article aims to inform the long-standing and unresolved debate between voluntary corporate social responsibility and initiatives to impose binding legal obligations on multinational enterprises. The two approaches share a common feature: neither can fully specify its own scope conditions, that is, how much of the people and planet agenda either can expect to deliver. The reason they share this feature is also the same: neither is based on a foundational political analysis of the multinational enterprise in the context of global governance. 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 the contemporary multinational enterprise. The conclusion spells out some implications for the debate itself, and for further research.

Citation

Ruggie, John Gerard. "Multinationals as Global Institution: Power, Authority and Relative Autonomy." Regulation & Governance 12.3 (September 2018): 317-333.