Institution Building across Borders




Transnational Communities

Sigrid Quack and Marie-Laure Djelic (ESSEC Business School Paris)

In addition to international organizations and global networks, the literature refers increasingly to transnational communities as actors setting transboundary rules and standards. This project aims to publish a critical, empirical, and conceptual examination of the concept of "transnational communities" and to develop it further. Transnational communities are social groups with a minimum of subjective and objective communitarization transcending the borders of national societies. The essays in the forthcoming edited volume examine the extent to which transnational communities have actually developed in the current phase of globalization, what distinguishes them from other communities, and their impact on structures of coordination and governance. The editors analyze these questions in cooperation with an international team of authors that includes members of professional, special interest and discourse communities that are transnational. 
Project duration: July 2007 to June 2010.
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2008): Institutions and Transnationalisation. In: Greenwood, Royston , Christine Oliver, Kerstin Sahlin-Andersson and Roy Suddaby (eds.): Handbook of Organisational Institutionalism. Los Angeles: Sage, 299-323.
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2009): When “Mercury” Goes Global: The Role and Fate of “Messengers” and “Mediators.” In: Wedlin, Linda, Kerstin Sahlin and Maria Grafström (eds.): Exploring the Worlds of Mercury and Minerva: Essays for Lars Engwall. Uppsala: Universitetstryckeriet, 135–150.
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (eds.) (2010): Transnational Communities: Shaping Global Economic Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2010): Conclusion: Transnational Communities and Their Impact on the Governance of Business and Economic Activity. In: Djelic, Marie Laure and Sigrid Quack (eds.): Transnational Communities: Shaping Global Economic Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 377–413.

Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2010): Introduction: Transnational Communities and Governance. In: Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (eds.): Transnational Communities: Shaping Global Economic Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 3–36
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2011): The Power of "Limited Liability": Transnational Communities and Cross-Border Governance. In:  Marquis, Christopher, Michael Lounsbury and Royston Greenwood (eds.): Communities and Organizations. (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 33.) Bingley, UK: Emerald, 79-109.
Outstanding Author Contribution Award Winner at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2012. Further Information
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2012): Transnational Governance through Standard Setting: The Role of Transnational Communities. In: Morgan, Glenn and Richard Whitley (eds.): Capitalism and Capitalisms in the 21st century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 166–189.
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2012): Transnational Governance through Standard Setting: The Role of Transnational Communities. In: Morgan, Glenn and Richard Whitley (eds.): Capitalisms and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 116-207.
Dobusch, Leonhard and Sigrid Quack (2010): Epistemic Communities and Social Movements: Transnational Dynamics in the Case of Creative Commons. In: Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (eds.): Transnational Communities: Shaping Global Economic Governance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 226–252.
Also published as MPIfG Discussion Paper 08/8.
Dobusch, Leonhard and Sigrid Quack (2011): Interorganisationale Netzwerke und digitale Gemeinschaften: Von Beiträgen zu Beteiligung? In: Managementforschung, 21: 171-213
Quack, Sigrid (2009): Nationale Vielfalt als Ressource: Die Internationalisierung europäischer Rechtsanwaltskanzleien. In: Sorge, Arndt (ed.): Internationalisierung: Gestaltungschancen statt Globalisierungsschicksal. Sigma, Berlin 2009, 157–174.


Law and Legitimacy

Sigrid Quack

While the legitimacy of law in the nation-state context has been closely linked to state authority, the recognition of and compliance to legal norms in the transnational realm are based on much more complex interactions between private and public actors. As a rule, transnational law consists of fragmented and often overlapping control systems in which various actors lay claim to the power to define and implement. How and under what conditions do legal standards and norms achieve legitimacy in a context characterized by both institutional and decision-making ambiguity? Is legal legitimacy based on principles of democratic representativity or the expertise of private actors? Or is the compliance and implementation of transnational legal norms more a question of exerting power? This theory-oriented project treats these and related questions in a discussion of concepts from political science, sociology, and law. The project is divided into two parts. For the first part, labeled "Commercial Law as an Institution to Coordinate Action," a systematic analysis of the literature was conducted. The results were published in a contribution to the "Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis." In the second part, scholars from several disciplines compared various concepts of legitimacy at an international meeting on the topic "Law and Legitimacy in the Governance of Transnational Economic Relations" in June 2008. The special issue of the Socio-Economic Review that emerged from this meeting systematizes this comparison and suggests a typology for the legitimacy of law in the transnational context.
Project duration: October 2007 to September 2010.
Botzem, Sebastian, Jeanette Hofmann, Sigrid Quack, Gunnar Folke Schuppert and Holger Straßheim (2009): Die Dynamik des Governance-Ansatzes: Vier Dimensionen im Wandel. In: Botzem, Sebastian, Jeanette Hofmann, Sigrid Quack, Gunnar Folke Schuppert and Holger Straßheim (eds.): Governance als Prozess. Koordinationsformen im Wandel. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 11–28.
Botzem, Sebastian, Jeanette Hofmann, Sigrid Quack, Gunnar Folke Schuppert and Holger Straßheim (eds.) (2009): Governance als Prozess: Koordinationsformen im Wandel. Nomos: Baden-Baden.
Djelic, Marie-Laure and Sigrid Quack (2005): Adaptation, Recombination and Reinforcement: The Story of Antitrust and Competition Law in Germany and Europe. In: Streeck, Wolfgang and Kathleen Thelen (eds.): Change and Continuity in Institutional Analysis: Explorations in the Dynamics of Advanced Political Economies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 255–281. 
Morgan, Glenn and Sigrid Quack (2005): Institutional Legacies and Firm Dynamics: The Growth and Internationalization of British and German Law Firms. In: Organization Studies, 26(12): 1765–1785.
Morgan, Glenn and Sigrid Quack (2006): Global Networks or Global Firms? The Organizational Implications of the Internationalization of Law Firms. In: Ferner, Anthony, Javier Quintanilla and Carlos Sánchez-Runde (eds.): Multinationals, Institutions and the Construction of Transnational Practices: Convergence and Diversity in the Global Economy. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 213–238.
Morgan, Glenn and Sigrid Quack (2006): The Internationalisation of Professional Service Firms: Global Convergance, National Path-Depencency or Cross-Border Hybidisation? In: Greenwood, Royston and Roy Suddaby (eds.):
Professional Service Firms. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 403–431.
Morgan, Glenn and Sigrid Quack (2010): Law as a Governing Institution. In: Morgan, Glenn, et al. (Hrsg.): The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 275–308.
Quack, Sigrid (2006): Who Fills the Legal “Black Holes” in Transnational Governance? Lawyers, Law Firms and Professional Associations as Border-crossing Regulatory Actors. In: Schuppert, Gunnar Folke (ed.): Global Governance and the Role of Non-State Actors. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 81–100.
Quack, Sigrid (2007): Legal Professionals and Transnational Law-Making: A Case of Distributed Agency. In: Organization, 14(5): 643–666.
Quack, Sigrid (2009): Governance durch Praktiker. In: Botzem, Sebastian, et al. (eds.): Governance als Prozess: Koordinationsformen im Wandel. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 575–606.
Quack, Sigrid (2010): Law, Expertise and Legitimacy in Transnational Economic Governance: An Introduction. In: Socio-Economic Review, 8(1): 3–16.
Quack, Sigrid (Guest Ed.) (2010): Law, Expertise and Legitimacy in Transnational Economic Governance. In: Socio-Economic Review Special Issue, 8(1).


Constructing Global Legitimacy: Science, Markets, and Governance in the Cotton Trade

Amy Quark (College of William & Mary)

Economic rules of the game that privilege Western firms and states are facing a crisis of legitimacy. New players in China, India, and Brazil are gaining the economic power to challenge Western dominance, and global social movements are calling for trade rules that account for social and environmental justice. This crisis could breed isolationism, but instead it is triggering new forms of cooperation as private, state and civil society actors tackle a range of issues, from the harmonization of quality standards to the enforceability of contracts across borders. This raises critical questions. How do powerful actors construct governance institutions that are accepted as legitimate and are thus enforceable? Why do the emerging non-Western corporate elite and their state allies, as well as more marginalized firms and states, accept or reject the authority of transnational governance networks? This project addresses these issues by analyzing transnational governance negotiations in the cotton trade. Combining institutionalist and political economic approaches, this research places governance-in-the-making in its historical and institutional context through an analysis of qualitative interviews in China, the U.S. and Benin, participant observation in international industry conferences in England and Brazil, trade statistics, and primary documents
Project duration at the MPIfG: January to July 2011.  
Quark, Amy (2008): Toward a New Theory of Change: Socio-Natural Regimes and the Historical Development of the Cotton Textiles Commodity Chain. In: Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center, 16 (1).
Quark, Amy (2011): Scientized Politics and Global Governance in the Cotton Trade: Evaluating Divergent Theories of Scientization. In: Review of International Political Economy. iFirst, 1-23.
Quark, Amy (2011): Global Governance as Contested Institution-Building: Transnational Corporations, China and Contract Rules in the Cotton Trade. In: Politics and Society, 39: 3-39.
Quark, Amy (in press): Global Rivalries: Standards Wars and the Kings of Cotton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


From Global Standards to Local Practices: A Study of the Forest Stewardship Council certification program in Russia

Olga Malets (TU Munich)

The project investigates the local unfolding and local impact of transnational private programs seeking to regulate corporate environmental and social behaviour of firms in a global economy. It focuses on the recursive processes of enactment and implementation of transnational private standards of corporate environmental and social responsibility in local contexts. Specifically, the project analyses the case of the Forest Stewardship Council, a transnational nongovernmental organization that designed global principles and criteria of good forest management and a system of certification of complying firms. In the FSC forest certification system, in order to be implemented global principles need to be adapted to a local natural and social context. The project shows that no matter how different and inappropriate local practices, laws and regulations may appear to be, skilful local activists navigating between different levels and nodes in a patchy system of transnational natural resource governance use local institutions and practices as a resource and facilitate the translation of global norms into local practices.
Olga Maletz worked on this project as a graduate student at the International Max Planck Research School in October 2005-January 2009 and as post-doctoral fellow in the working group “Cross-Border Institution-Building” in February-September 2009. With Sigrid Quack and Sabrina Zajak, she is currently looking into identifying similarities in the local unfolding of transnational environmental and labour standards.
Malets, Olga (2009): Nachhaltige Forstwirtschaft in einer Globalisierten Welt. In: MPIfG Jahrbuch 2009-2010, Cologne: Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Societies, 71-78.
Malets, Olga (2009). The Impact of Transnational Private Regulation: A Case Study of Forest Certification in Russia. Dissertation, University of Cologne.
Malets, Olga (2009): Terrence C. Halliday und Bruce G. Carruthers: Bankrupt: Global Lawmaking and Systemic Financial Crisis. A book review. In: Economic Sociology - the European Electronic Newsletter, 11(2): 56-57.
Malets, Olga (2010): From Transnational Voluntary Standards to Local Practices. A Case Study of Forest Certification in Russia. MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/7.
Malets, Olga and Maria Tysiatchniouk (2009): The Effect of Expertise on the Quality of Forest Standards Implementation: The Case of FSC Forest Certification in Russia. In: Forest Policy and Economics, 11(5-6): 422-428.


Microfinance: Narratives, Governmentalities, and Materialities of Financialization

Matias E. Margulis (University of Northern British Columbia)

This project examines a new and poorly understood field of transnational governance, land. Since the 2008 global food price crisis, investors and governments have acquired over 60 million hectares of agricultural land worldwide to outsource the production of biofuels, animal feed, and food. This scale of land acquisition has not been seen since the era of colonialism and critics have referred to this phenomenon as a “global land grab.” Several controversial land deals, and the growing awareness of the socio-ecological consequences of land grabs more generally, has prompted states, investors, international organizations, global civil society organizations, and transnational social movements to cooperate in creating global rules to regulate land grabbing. Given that land is conventionally understood through the legal framework of national sovereignty, what types of rule-systems, discourse, and forms of political power are these actors using to construct land grabbing as a transnational governance issue? The project’s empirical focus is on two recent transnational governance mechanisms that feature the bundling of multiple public and private rules rooted in diverse issue areas.
Project duration: October 2012 to July 2013.
Margulis, Matias E. (2012): Land grabbing and global governance: Some initial observations. Paper presented at Global Land Grabbing II conference. Cornell University. Ithaca, NY, USA.
Margulis, Matias E., Nora McKeon, Saturnino M. Borras Jr. (eds.)(forthcoming): Land Grabbing and Global Governance. London: Routledge. [expected July 2013]


Politics and Economies of Scale: Experiments in Global Governance at the League of Nations

Carolyn N. Biltoft (Georgia State University)

The League of Nations was not merely a failed outgrowth of European international relations, but rather a novel global institutional form. This project shows how the League’s experimental efforts to coordinate the world’s political and economic life emerged within and effected significant transformations in the international system between 1919 and 1945. The project is predicated on the idea that globalization has continually reorganized the relationship between politics and the economy both within and between nations. International organizations provide not only a centralized archival record but also an additional vantage point from which to examine these processes. To those ends, the project draws from the methods of global history, organization theory and international political economy to better grasp how international organizations in general and the League of Nations in particular, have affected the nature and course of the global political economy. The project moves through a series of themes — from bureaucratic practices and financial structures to economic sanctions and raw materials — and connects the League’s policies on each issue to changes in relevant political and economic theories. 
Project duration: October 2012 to September 2013.


Transnational Politics of Professional Expertise: Convergence in International Accounting Standard Setting?

Sigrid Quack and Paul Lagneau-Ymonet (IRISSO, Université Paris-Dauphine)

The criteria for performance evaluation, especially economic performance, have gained social and scholarly prominence in recent years. At the same time, valuation expertise has become highly political, particularly in transnational governance and policy making, an area often based on expert knowledge. This project explores the politics of professional expertise in the realm of international accounting standard setting. These standards are crucial for evaluating companies that operate in global markets; they also provide important indicators for monitoring and regulating financial markets. The financial crisis has sparked debate about the convergence of international accounting standards: the US GAAP and its transnational counterpart, the IFRS. Over the last ten years, convergence has been slow due to negotiations being wrought by power struggles between the US, the EU, and the BRICs, and complicated by conflicting expert views held by accountants, market operators, and regulators. How can accounting standards be reformed to balance market transparency and regulatory effectiveness? How can cooperation between standard setters and regulators be optimized? How should accounting standard setters be made accountable to the broader public? The project addresses these issues by analyzing expert interviews with key actors and publicly available documents on accounting standards in the banking sectors of the US and Europe, as well as reform proposals at the national, European, and international levels. The project explores how discussions and struggles between various expert groups with differing views of accounting, influence international reform.
Project duration: October 2012 to December 2013.
Botzem, Sebastian and Quack, Sigrid (2009): (No) Limits to Anglo-American Accounting? Reconstructing the History of the International Accounting Standards Committee: A Review Article. In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34(8): 988-998.
Lagneau-Ymonet, Paul and Quack, Sigrid (2012): What's the Problem? Competing Diagnoses and Shifting Coalitions in the Reform of International Accounting Standards. In: Renate Mayntz (ed.): Crisis and Control. Institutional Change in Financial Market Regulation. Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 213-246.


The Copyright Dispute: How New Transnational Actors and Standards Challenge Established International Control Regimes

Sigrid Quack and Leonhard Dobusch (Freie Universität Berlin)

In light of the growing economic importance of knowledge and of the technological change brought about by the Internet, regulating property and usage rights to intangible goods has become an increasingly contentious transnational issue. Recently, transnational counter-movements by non-governmental actors (such as NGOs) have emerged that propagate private standards of licensing with more generous rights of use. They criticize the asymmetrically restrictive copyright provisions that neglect the character of intellectual property as collective property and deplore the unused potential of current information and communication technologies to produce and distribute digitized goods. From the perspective of transnational institution-building, questions arise as to whether and how private forms of regulation can prevail, either in addition to or in place of established regulation, and what types of transnational organization can be involved. These questions will be addressed using the "Creative Commons" project as a case study. "Creative Commons" seeks to offer a multifaceted, internationally standardized array of alternative copyright licenses. A further goal of the project is to explore whether social movement and civil society actors’ demands for a modernisation of protection and usage rights spill over into European and international negotiations regarding copyright regulation.
Project duration: March 2007 to December 2013.
Dobusch, Leonhard and Quack, Sigrid (2011): Interorganisationale Netzwerke und digitale Gemeinschaften: Von Beiträgen zu Beteiligung? In: Managementforschung, 21: 171-213.
Dobusch, Leonhard and Quack, Sigrid (2012): Framing Standards, Mobilizing Users: Copyright versus Fair Use in Transnational Regulation. In: Review of International Political Economy, iFirst, 1-37.


MPIfG: Research Group Institution Building across Borders | [Last updated 25.03.2014 18:16]