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  • Series: New Horizons in Organization Studies series x
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How Business Organizes Collectively

An Inquiry on Trade Associations and Other Meta-Organizations

Hervé Dumez and Sandra Renou

Collective action by firms is a central societal phenomenon, whereby firms set up specific devices, referred to by the authors as ‘Firms’ Collective Action Devices’ (FCADs). This timely book shows how the phenomenon has been studied in a variety of academic disciplines, including history, political science, economics, sociology, management and organization theory, and how FCADs are used in lobbying, and to tackle issues such as those related to the environment and human rights. The book uses the concepts of meta-organization and heterarchy to give a fascinating overview of firms’ collective action, investigate some little-known aspects of the phenomenon, and examine the impact of FCADs on the economy and democracy.
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Ingrid Gustafsson

How can we know what we buy, in a global world where we cannot touch, smell or feel things to judge whether or not they are good, bad, toxic or dangerous? As a result to the questions globalization raises, a system of control has emerged, based on standards and control of such standards. The first chapter pose questions to this control system: how has it been constructed over time? How does it work? What components is it made up by and most importantly, how can we understand it as an organizational phenomenon?

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Ingrid Gustafsson

The global control regime is built by standards, certification and accreditation, combined together in a specific way in order to control. In this chapter, standards, certification and accreditation are presented more in depth; what kind of activities they are and how earlier research has presented these topics.

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Ingrid Gustafsson

This chapter presents the theoretical frame for understanding the construction of the global control regime. Theories of formal organizations, of organization among and outside organizations are presented and then combined with theories about governing at a distance. The chapter concludes by presenting a model for analysis. In the model, the components of the regime are presented. The model and its components are drawn from the two strands of theory presented.

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Ingrid Gustafsson

The control regime grew step-by-step over time by adding components and combining them in specific ways. This chapter presents the first components as launched in the mid-1980s by the EU in programs called the New Approach and the Global Approach. In these programs, standards, certification and accreditation were presented as means of enabling the internal market. This was the first step in dismantling national borders and let the control regime replace national testing systems.

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Ingrid Gustafsson

This chapter continues where Chapter 4 ended, by showing how the EU model based on standards, certification and accreditation could grow global. By carving out a specific role for accreditation in a program called The Goods Package, and then organizing accreditation in European and international membership organization, the control regime could grow global.

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Ingrid Gustafsson

Here, the findings from Chapters 4 and 5 are related to the analytical model as presented in Chapter 3. The components are juxtaposed to each other in such a way that the control regime becomes global and controlling. Four principles are guiding the juxtapositions and these four principles are elaborated in this chapter.

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Ingrid Gustafsson

In this chapter, the construction of the global control regime is related to the theoretical framework presented in Chapter 3. It is shown how the juxtaposing of the components creates governing at a distance, while at the same time absorbing the distance. The chapter also discusses how in the control regime, everyone is controlled (by standards) but no one is controlling the control regime.

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Ingrid Gustafsson

The construction of the global control regime has implications for responsibility and the role of the state. Because of accreditation, the state receives a specific role in the global control regime. In this chapter, the state’s role in the control regime is discussed in relation to earlier studies on standards and certification, and accreditation in particular.

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Ingrid Gustafsson

In this last chapter, the construction of the global control regime is related to the overall theoretical argument put forward in the book – how to understand organizing outside and among formal organization. A new concept is presented, macro organization, in order to discuss the global control regime as an example of dense, complex organization among organizations. This kind of organizing is symptomatic for a global world where organization replaces human interactions.