Setting New Global Rules? TNCs and Codes of Conduct

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The introduction of codes of conduct can be seen as an expression of corporate social responsibility, but also as rulesetting behaviour – attempts to help fill some of the existing international instutitional voids. To shed light on these aspects and the (potential) effectiveness of codes, this article examines trends in the adoption and contents of codes of conduct introduced to regulate the behaviour of international business. Using the evidence obtained over the years, it presents an overview of the state of current knowledge on international social responsibility codes, and indicates areas for further research, management and policy attention. It also deals with the definition and types of codes, the background and dynamics of the code ‘movement’, the contents of codes and their compliance likelihood, issues regarding implementation and effectiveness, and ‘next steps’ that can be taken to obtain further insight.