NGO Strategies for Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility
he current era of corporate globalization has not altered the fundamental nature of the struggle for human rights, but it has shifted its context and created new opportunities and challenges for the global human rights movement. Since the early 1990s this movement, which used to focus exclusively on the policies and practices of nation-states, has begun examining the role of multinational corporations and international financial institutions in the protection and promotion of human rights. This article describes and evaluates the different strategies that have been employed by human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in attempting to inﬂuence the behavior of multinational corporations (MNCs). Within the NGO world, there is a basic divide on tactics for dealing with corporations: Engagers try to draw corporations into dialogue in order to persuade them by means of ethical and prudential arguments to adopt voluntary codes of conduct, while confronters believe that corporations will act only when their financial interests are threatened,and therefore take a more adversarial stance toward them. The latter approach is more in line with traditional labor union strategies and tactics,and in fact is often motivated by a desire to maintain solidarity with union partners. Confrontational NGOs tend to employ moral stigmatization, or “naming and shaming,” as their primary tactic, while NGOs that favor engagement offer dialogue
and limited forms of cooperation with willing MNCs.
THE NEW FOCUS ON MNCs
At least five factors have contributed to human rights NGOs’ interest in the business sector: • a perceived shift of power from nati on states to MNCs and international ﬁnancial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; • the... [continues]
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