Management Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

7-2009

Publication Source

Business Ethics Quarterly

Volume

19

Issue

03

Start Page

349

Last Page

374

DOI

10.5840/beq200919321

Abstract

Transnational corporations have become actors with significant political power and authority which should entail responsibility and liability, specifically direct liability for complicity in human rights violations. Holding TNCs liable for human rights violations is complicated by the discontinuity between the fragmented legal/political structure of the TNC and its integrated strategic reality and the international state system which privileges sovereignty and non-intervention over the protection of individual rights. However, the post-Westphalian transition—the emergence of multiple authorities, increasing ambiguity of borders and jurisdiction and blurring of the line between the public and private spheres—should facilitate imposing direct responsibility on transnational firms. Mechanisms for imposing direct responsibility on TNCs are considered including voluntary agreements and international law. However, I conclude that a hybrid public-private regime which relies on non-hierarchical compliance mechanisms is likely to be both more effective and consistent with the structure of the emerging transnational order.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Copyright © Society for Business Ethics 2009.

Reprinted with permission.

 

Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.