Governing the Global Corporation

Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (2):265-274 (2010)
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Abstract

In this article I provide a critical perspective on governing the global corporation. While the papers in the 2009 special issue of Business Ethics Quarterly explore the political role of corporations I argue that they lack a sophisticated analysis of power acrossinstitutional and actor networks. The argument that corporate engagement with deliberative democracy can enhance the legitimacy of corporations does not take into account the effects of institutional, material and discursive forms of power that determine legitimacycriteria. As a result corporate versions of citizenship mediate versions of social responsibility and morality, which are reflected in the institutional and political economic norms that are produced by this power/knowledge. In order to overcome the limits of corporate social responsibility there is a need to develop more democratic forms of global governance of corporations. A radical revisioning of democratic governance would also need to overcome the limits posed by sovereignty and would require new forms of multi-actor and multi-level translocal governance arrangements in an attempt to create forms of power that are more compatible with the principles of economic democracy.

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