University of Connecticut

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Law-Ethics Conference

Friday, April 15, 2016
9:00am – 5:00pm

Storrs Campus
School of Business, Board Room

Public Regulation and Private Governance: Competitors or Collaborators?

There has been an increasing number of private governance mechanisms aimed at institutionalizing and creating harmonized socially and environmentally responsible global business practices. Commonly referred to as international accountability standards or multi-stakeholder initiatives, these are “private governance mechanisms involving corporations, civil society organizations, and sometimes other actors, such as governments, academia or unions, to cope with social and environmental challenges across industries and on a global scale” (Mena & Palazzo, 2012, p. 528). These private standards are becoming an important instrument of environmental policy and management across the world (Berliner & Prakash, 2015). Nevertheless, in this quest for finding apparently novel or better ways of governing the interaction of business and society, the relationship between public regulation and private governance is too often overlooked.

The public regulatory environment defines the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in various kinds of commerce. However, scholarship in business ethics/social responsibility literature has largely overlooked the importance of understanding the meaningful role that public regulation plays in facilitating, mediating and moderating the implementation of private governance mechanisms or vice versa. Similarly, some scholarship in business law is starting to grapple with the wide-ranging implications of proliferating private governance mechanisms on specific areas of public regulation. This necessitates more research towards understanding the reciprocal relationship between public regulation and private governance mechanisms in international business.

In short, the more collaborative public regulation and private governance are, the more they can live up their promises. The aim of this conference is to explore this conundrum.


School of Business (primary), School of Business Alumni, UConn Master Calendar

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