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S Hiss Working Paper 141/04

Stefanie Hiss

CSGR Working Paper No. 141/04

September 2004


This paper raises the question of whether controlling companies with the help of a monitoring system is a successful way to establish social standards within the supply chain and to help to spread social standards into developing societies. Since the debate thus far has concentrated strongly on the question of what monitoring systems look like and how they are implemented, this paper aims to broaden the discussion by pointing out the possible interrelations between the role of social capital and the diffusion of social standards. What role can social capital play in the diffusion of social standards?

After a short introduction to the debate about Corporate Social Responsibility and social standards, there is a discussion of monitoring systems and their limits. Then my own concept of social capital is developed in specific regard to the concerns outlined above. After that, the focus will shift to the possible interactions between social standards and social capital. Finally, my considerations will be illustrated with a case study of the Public Private Partnership-project “Sector Model Social Responsibility” of the “Foreign Trade Association of the German Retail Trade (AVE)”.

Keywords: Multinational Companies, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Standards, Codes of Conduct, Monitoring, Social Capital, Public Private Partnership project, Multi-Stakeholder Round Table

Address for correspondence:

Stefanie Hiß

Graduiertenkolleg „Märkte und Sozialräume in Europa“

(Research Training Group “Markets and Social Systems in Europe”)

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

Lichtenhaidestr. 11

96052 Bamberg, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)951 2971216

Email: or