ISA Panel 2013 (Part 1)


Transnational Business Governance Interactions, Part 1: Drivers, Mechanisms, Dynamics and Outputs

ISA Panel 2013 | International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco | April 4, 2013

The ISA Panel 2013 brought together 18 scholars from five countries to participate in panel discussions addressing Transnational Business Governance Interactions (TBGI) from multiple perspectives. The panel took place as part of the International Studies Association’s (ISA) Annual Convention.

Two separate panels were hosted at this event. Part 1, chaired by Kenneth Abbott, focused on drivers, causal mechanisms, regulatory dynamics and outputs of TBGI. The goal of the panel was to contribute to the development of a common analytical framework for studying TBGI, intergovernmental standards for finance, social and environmental standard-setting, and workers’ rights. Part 2, chaired by Errol Meidinger, focused on regulatory performance and outcomes.

Panel Information:

The global proliferation and diffusion of transnational initiatives to regulate business activities, from accounting to forestry, have been accompanied by a little studied development: increasingly frequent and intense interactions among these programs, and between them and official governance institutions. A multiplicity of actors, institutions and regimes interact at multiple levels to generate shifting transnational regulatory ensembles. Governance tasks are performed by heterogeneous actors seeking to influence or divide up a particular regulatory domain or set of rule addressees. Interacting through markets, hierarchies, networks or communities, these actors and institutions compete, cooperate, imitate, mediate, and orchestrate, leading to convergence, divergence and other dynamic effects. Such interactions are integral to the politics of diffusion, potentially both as drivers and products of the diffusion of norms and practices. These interactions have a range of effects on regulatory standards, capacity and performance. In short, a high degree of interactions is inherent in transnational business governance. This panel investigates the drivers, causal mechanisms, regulatory dynamics and outputs of transnational business governance interactions (TBGI) from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives. Its goal is to contribute to the development of a common analytical framework for studying TBGI. A companion panel considers the impacts of TBGI on regulatory outcomes and performance.


  • Stepan Wood, York University, Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Kenneth Abbott, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law & School of Politics and Global Studies
  • Julia Black, London School of Economics
  • Burkard Eberlein, York University, Schulich School of Business
  • Errol Meidinger, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law
    Chair: Ken Abbott

Discussant: Tim Büthe, Duke University


  • Burkard Eberlein (presenter), Ken Abbott, Julia Black, Errol Meidinger & Stepan Wood, Transnational Business Governance Interactions: Mapping and Conceptualizing a Terrain
  • Christopher Kaan, University of Potsdam and Nicole Helmerich, Freie Universität Berlin, Transnational Business Governance Interaction and Competition between Standard-Setting Initiatives: Scaling- Up Worker’s Rights in Transnational Supply Chains? revised version issued in TBGI SSRN series; available at
  • Annegret Flohr, Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt, From Rules to Risks: The Impact of TBG Interaction on Intergovernmental Standards for Finance
  • Luc Fransen, Leiden University, Transnational governance interactions in the making of social and environmental standard-setting: a political-economic perspective
  • Christian R. Thauer, Free University of Berlin, Diffusion as a Mechanism and Outcome of TBG Interaction: Intra-organizational Determinants of Transnational Industry Sector Dynamics