The Institutionalization of Private Governance: How Business and Nonprofit Organizations Agree on Transnational Rules



This article assesses the recent trend of cooperation among antagonistic private actors that results in the creation and implementation of issue-specific transnational norms and rules and the subsequent shift from public to private forms of governance. Many political scientists agree that authority also exists outside of formal political structures. Private actors increasingly begin to make their own rules and standards that acquire authority beyond the international system. This observation is often referred to as private transnational governance as opposed to public or international governance. Although the concept of private governance gains prominence in academic debates, it is not clear how private governance on the global scale is constructed and maintained or what specific or general conditions are necessary for private governance to emerge. Based on the review of common theoretical propositions, this article develops an integrated model along which the necessary conditions for the emergence of private governance can be assessed and understood. As most research has hitherto focused on institutionalized cooperation between business actors (self-regulation), this article takes a closer look at those transnational systems of rule that result out of the enhanced cooperation between profit and nonprofit actors (coregulation).