In a monthly interview series, the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity Initiative will turn the spotlights on their PhD candidates. Learn more about their research projects, their link with inclusive prosperity and long term goals. This edition features Aziza Mayar who is studying the effect of international guidelines on responsible business conduct by multinational enterprises.
What is your research about?
International public instruments for responsible business conduct address expectations from governments towards multinational enterprises. One of these instruments that represents international standards on due diligence commitments for governments and due diligence expectations for multinational enterprises is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The aim of this instrument is to encourage multinational enterprises to conduct business in a continuous responsible manner. During my PhD I study the role of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in responsible business conduct by multinational enterprises. More specifically I focus on the tasks of the grievance mechanism of this instrument, which consists of National Contact Points in countries that have adopted the guidelines. I study for example, to what extent the Dutch National Contact Point procedure contributes to improvement in responsible business conduct by multinational enterprises that were involved in cases of non-observance of the guidelines. By studying the practice of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, I aim to provide insights on the National Contact Point procedure and the implementation of the guidelines by multinational enterprises. These insights show to what extent the aims connected to the guidelines in general and their grievance mechanism specifically are met in practice, these views can then be used to improve the implementation of the guidelines, not only on paper but also in practice by the involved parties.
Research project: The role of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in Responsible Business Conduct by Multinational Enterprises
How are you progressing so far and what are your main findings?
My research is multidisciplinary, this means that I am combining insights from the disciplines International Law and Business Management leading to an analytical rather than a normative perspective. To me this is a very exciting perspective because I believe that in order to get an understanding of whether and how laws and regulations work out in practice, we should look at how it is perceived and implemented by those parties that the laws and regulations are directed to. By this perspective we can learn more about whether and how the aims connected to laws and regulations are met in practice, and what we can learn from this practice in terms of improvement in the content, enforcement and implementation of laws and regulations. The main findings in my research so far show that there is room for improvement in terms of expectations from the National Contact Point procedure towards involved multinational enterprises in cases of non-observance of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
In what way is your research project contributing to inclusive prosperity?
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises aim to encourage enterprises to conduct responsible business and to contribute positively to economic, environmental, and social goals on a global level. This aim is in many ways connected to inclusive prosperity, for example multinational enterprises are expected to move beyond the responsibility of ‘do no harm’ to the responsibility of being ‘a positive force,’ which is expected to have a positive impact on inclusive prosperity in societies. Also, the grievance mechanism of the guidelines, the National Contact Points, provide a platform that can be used by parties in cases of matters related to exclusivity or misconduct connected to the guidelines. Insights provided by this research on the practice of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises can be used for further research on inclusive prosperity themes.
What is the added value in doing your PhD at the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity Initiative?
The multidisciplinary environment within DoIP consisting of academics from different faculties provides different perspectives on my research, which is very useful. Especially when it comes to perspectives from Business Management on an international public instrument like the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Also, since my research is multidisciplinary, it fits well within the overall aim of DoIP, which is to bring different disciplines together in order to create new perspectives.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to continue to challenge myself intellectually within academia. Also, I would like to continue with creating new perspectives for and contributing to solutions for global challenges in which international instruments for responsible business conduct can play a positive role. My ambition for the foreseeable future is working on international instruments for responsible business conduct, within and outside of academia.