Purpose:
Through an in-depth literature review the researchers in the highly cited
paper, critically assess the potential and limitations of the compliance
paradigm and then the emerging cooperation paradigm for working with CSR in
global value chains. This paper addresses whether the theory behind the
paradigms matches the practice with an emphasis on the associated power
dynamics.

 

Method:
Through a desk-based literature review the authors outline the drivers, main
features, and conceptual underpinnings of the compliance paradigm and then use
a similar structure to investigate the drivers, main features, and conceptual
underpinnings of the cooperative paradigm for working with CSR in global value
chains.

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Findings:
The authors cite that from their analysis of theory, CSR-compliant factories
punished non-compliance, but in practice this generated moderate improvements
in worker conditions in export-oriented industries in developing countries. In
response a new, cooperation-based paradigm emerged in which international
buyers revise their purchasing practices, help build the capacity of local
factory management and workers, and cooperate with local resources (e.g. NGOs,
trade unions) to improve factory monitoring and thus labour standard
compliance. The researchers conclude that this cooperation paradigm is unlikely
to fundamentally alter power relationships in global value chains and cannot
deliver sustained improvements in working conditions and higher incomes across
developing country export industries considering constraints imposed by
worldwide competition among suppliers.

 

They also conclude by suggesting
other avenues for research on CSR in global value chains namely: looking to
other disciplines related to supply chains/operations management and labour
standards/codes of conduct in global value chains; detailing performance
systems in which purchasing managers operate, to determine how different
policies reward and/or punish decision making that integrates economic, social
and environmental criteria in purchasing practices; and researching the effects
of the new cooperative paradigm on CSR and whether pilot projects that have
attempted to improve human resources management capacity at local supplier factories
have been successful. 

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