Power, Procedure, Participation and Legitimacy in Global Sustainability Norms : A Theory of Collaborative Regulation book cover
1st Edition

Power, Procedure, Participation and Legitimacy in Global Sustainability Norms
A Theory of Collaborative Regulation

ISBN 9781138696082
Published August 3, 2017 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

Globalisation of the market, law and politics contributes to a diversity of transnational sustainability problems whose solutions exceed the territorial jurisdictional limits of nation states in which their effects are generated or occur. The rise of the business sector as a powerful global actor with a claim to participation and potential contributions as well as adverse impacts sustainability complicates the regulatory challenge. Recent decades’ efforts to govern transitions towards sustainability through public or hybrid regulation display mixed records of support and results. In combination, these issues highlight the need for insights on what conditions multi-stakeholder regulation for a process that balances stakeholder power and delivers results perceived as legitimate by participants and broader society.

This book responds to that need. Based on empirical experience on public-private regulation of global sustainability concerns and theoretical perspectives on transnational regulation, the book proposes a new theory on collaborative regulation. This theory sets out a procedural approach for multi-stakeholder regulation of global sustainability issues in a global legal and political order to provide for legitimacy of process and results. It takes account of the claims to participation of the private sector as well as civil society organisations and the need to balance power disparities.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Setting the stage

Objective, method, key terms and delimitations

Chapter 2: Regulatory Innovation: Non-State Actors and Sustainability Norms

Regulation companies in conventional international law

Regulatory innovation in theory: involving non-state actors in super-national law-making

Regulatory innovation in practice: Public, private and hybrid law-making for sustainability and business conduct

Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainability and governance needs

Actors, interests, and significance for the construction of norms on sustainable economic conduct

Chapter 3: A Multiple Case Study Representing a Diversity of Processes and Outputs for Business Conduct and Sustainability

Context: Juridification and international policy developments

UN initiatives on normative guidance on Business & Human Rights: From contestation and disagreement to deliberation and negotiated agreement

Multi-stakeholder hybrid initiatives for norms for business conduct: the UN Global Compact, EU processes and ISO 26000


Chapter 4: Theoretical Perspectives on Participatory Law-Making, ‘Compliance Pull’, Communication and Legitimacy

Instrumental approaches to law

Legitimacy and ‘compliance pull’ in international law

Input, throughput, output and legitimacy: the deliberative turn in rule-making

Modernising international law: towards participation in super-national law-making

Chapter 5: Power, Privilege and Representations of Interests

Why collaborative regulation? Revisiting the roles of participation and power for output

Communicating for change: inducing self-regulation by speaking to the concerns and interests of stakeholders

Process, reflection and outputs

Participation, power and legitimacy

Outlook for collaborative regulation

Chapter 6: Proceduralisation for Legitimacy

Complementarity of reflexive law and deliberative law-making for legitimacy

Procedural design and process management

Procedure, trust and legitimacy

Summing up on findings before proceeding to the proposed solution


Chapter 7: Foundations for Collaborative Regulatory

Scope of application


Procedural design and power

Towards constitutionalisation? A prospective treaty on participation, procedure and rights of non-state actors in super-national law-making

Chapter 8: Steps for Collaborative Regulation

Issues to be considered in a formalised process of collaborative regulation

Steps for proceduralisation in a specific case of collaborative regulation

Chapter 9: Summing up and Looking Ahead


A condensed version of the theoretical basis, analysis, argument, and new theory

Looking ahead


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Karin Buhmann is Professor in the Department of Management, Society and Communication at Copenhagen Business School. Her dedicated charge is the field of Business and Human Rights. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of business responsibilities for human rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainability and public-private regulation. She has published widely on these and related areas.


"At a time when globalization is unprecedentedly challenged, Prof. Buhmann provides us a new thinking on how business’ impacts can better be tackled through a participatory and collaborative regulation system that organically optimizes the different but synergized roles of public institutions, private sector and the civil society, so that globalization can be sustained as it was, and sustainable as it should be."

Dr. Liang Xiaohui, Peking University, China

"The theory of Collaborative Regulation corresponds very well to real life negotiations on responsible business conduct, which my experience as Chair of the tough negotiations on the OECD Guidelines for Multinationals has certainly illustrated. Professor Buhmann's theory reflects the importance of representation and involvement of stakeholders. I would recommend this book because it provides useful insights in the crucial role stakeholders could and should play in regulating globalisation." 

Prof dr Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct

"The planet that we all share appears increasingly challenged by disputes over the environment, internet, resources, human rights, etc. Karin Buhmann acknowledges that we cannot easily find solutions. In this book, she uses thoughtful arguments and case studies to posit a new global governance approach which involves civil society and could be seen by a wide range of actors as legitimate. Buhmann calls this "collaborative regulation" to balance power disparities. She has produced a thoughtful, insightful, original, and important book for scholars of human rights, law, international relations, governance and political science."

Dr. Susan Ariel Aaronson, George Washington University, USA