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Jose Carlos MarquesJose Carlos Marques
McGill University

A league of their own: How business-led private governance initiatives achieve legitimacy

Despite considerable agreement on the democratic qualities of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), business-led initiatives (BLIs) have gained prominence as private governance organizations in numerous industries. While both MSIs and BLIs struggle to establish their legitimacy we know relatively little on the competitive dynamics between MSIs and BLIs, particularly on BLIs’ legitimation strategies. Employing a historical, comparative, organizational-field approach, that combining archival and interview data, I study the emergence and interaction of various regulatory initiatives within the global apparel industry. My findings outline the heterogeneous strategies by which BLIs acquire legitimacy.


I'm a PhD Candidate (Strategy and Organization; support area Political Science) at McGill University. My thesis (in progress) examines the divergent emergence, competition and organizational field dynamics of private regulation in global industries (apparel, electronics and mining). Research interests include: 1) impact of organizational structures/ practices upon private governance and standards; 2) the private-public regulation nexus; 3) reciprocal links between business strategy and public policy.

Prior to pursuing a PhD, I was a researcher at the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). In a former life, I was a Business Analyst, Project Manager and Group Manager in several organizations within the IT and aviation industries, and the NGO sector. I have an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Having lived in Switzerland, Brazil, and the UK, I'm fluent in English, French and Portuguese... and now struggling with Español.

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