International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

The Contested Politics of Corporate Governance: The Case of the Global Reporting Initiative

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has successfully become institutionalized as the preeminent global framework for voluntary corporate environmental and social reporting. Its success can be attributed to the "institutional entrepreneurs" who analyzed the reporting field and deployed discursive, material, and organizational strategies to change it. GRI has, however, fallen short of the aspirations of its founders to use disclosure to empower nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The authors argue that its trajectory reflects the power relations between members of the field, their strategic choices and compromises, their ability to mobilize alliances and resources, and constraints imposed by the broader institutions of financial and capital markets. The authors draw three notable implications from this study. First, institutional theory needs to pay more attention to economic structures, strategies, and resources. Second, institutional entrepreneurship by relatively weak societal groups such as NGOs is inherently constrained by the structural power of wider institutions and by the compromises required to initiate change. Third, the strategies of NGOs represent a form of power capable of shifting, if not transforming, the field of corporate governance. © 2010 Sage Publications.

Publication Title

Business and Society

Publication Date

3-1-2010

Volume

49

Issue

1

First Page

88

Last Page

115

ISSN

0007-6503

DOI

10.1177/0007650309345420

Keywords

corporate social responsibility, global reporting initiative, Institutional entrepreneurship, NGOs, nonfinancial reporting, nongovernmental organization

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