Call for Papers

The 2015 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals and the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are among the latest initiatives that aim to promote the human rights agenda in the business sector. These UN initiatives add to a number of other ‘soft-law’ interventions designed to reduce corporate wrongdoing (e.g. OECD Guidelines).

The rising awareness and expectations regarding corporate human rights conduct poses new and important challenges to MNEs operating in multiple environments with varying legitimacy standards, and dealing with human rights is rapidly becoming the new frontier of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Still, multinationals adopt very diverse approaches and strategies to cope with human rights issues. MNEs progressively speak the human rights language and human rights issues are becoming central to MNEs’ CSR agenda. At the same time, infringements on human rights by large MNEs remain prevalent. This has been the case, among many others, of the Apple-Foxconn labor rights scandal denounced in the New York Times in 2012, the infringement of the rights of indigenous communities by the Brazilian mining multinational, Vale, in connection to the Belo Horizonte Dam project, and more recently of the emission pollution scandal involving the Volkswagen group.

These contrasting conducts are still poorly understood, and call for a deeper investigation into how MNEs deal with human rights when designing their strategies, operations and organization in multiple institutional, cultural and legal environments, as well as on the drivers of MNEs’ human right conduct and on the effects of such a conduct on corporate competitiveness. While there is a lively and established debate on business and human rights in international law, political science and business ethics, we still lack a full understanding of MNEs’ human rights conduct in connection with traditional international management and international business issues.

The workshop intends to bridge this gap and aims at promoting a human rights research agenda in international management and international business. The call for papers solicits both theoretical and empirical contributions, which draw on different research streams and disciplines, including international management, international business, business ethics, international law, political science and business and human rights. Methodologically, we welcome qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method research approaches.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • The role of expatriates and inpatriates in promoting the cause of human rights in foreign subsidiaries.
  • Embedding human rights in corporate culture.
  • Liability of foreignness and human rights.
  • Liability of origin and human rights.
  • MNEs’ human rights conduct and transfer of good human rights practices within the multinational network.
  • CSR and human rights.
  • Differentials in human rights conduct across different types of MNEs.
  • MNE’s human rights conduct across different institutional environments.
  • Market competition and human rights.
  • Effects of infringements of human rights.
  • Political and sub-political activity and strategies of MNEs in relation to human rights.
  • Implications of current business and human rights policy debates for multinational business.
  • Empirical research on the uptake and impact of the UN Guiding Principles.
  • Measuring business and human rights; assessing business and human rights infringements through quantitative analyses.
  • Human rights, social and environmental upgrading in Global Value Chains.

Download Call for Papers


The Journal of World Business will soon announce a Call for Papers for a Special Issue on the topic of the workshop, edited by members of the workshop’s Scientific Committee. With this event the Scientific Committee intends to stimulate interest in the Special Issue, spark intellectual exchange on the topic, and provide feedback to prospective authors who may consider submitting to the Special Issue.

More information about the Special Issue will be provided during the workshop.


30 November 2015         Deadline for extended abstract submissions

5 December 2015           Notifications of accepted abstracts

10 January 2016             Deadline for registration

20 January 2016             Deadline for full paper submission

4-5 February 2016          Workshop


  • Daniele Dalli, University of Pisa, Italy
  • Monica Pratesi, University of Pisa, Italy

University of Pisa “Progetti di Ricerca di Ateneo” (PRA) Grant PRA_2015_0082.


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