Organizing Democracy
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Organizing Democracy

The Construction of Agency in Practice

Edited by Göran Sundström, Linda Soneryd and Staffan Furusten

This fresh and fascinating book adds an organizational perspective to the analysis of governance and democracy. It argues that a number of organizational factors challenge the notion of agency assumed by a governance model.
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Chapter 4: The Use of Democratic Values in the ISO 26000 Process on Social Responsibility

Kristina Tamm Hallström


Kristina Tamm Hallström This chapter presents an analysis of the discussion of democratic values in a standard-setting process in the area of social responsibility. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a private organization founded in 1947 and comprising various national standards bodies, hosted this process during the period 2005–10. The purpose of ISO is to contribute to economic harmonization through the development of international standards in a wide range of technical fields such as agriculture, construction, mechanical engineering, manufacturing and distribution, transport, medical devices and the latest information and communication technology developments (ISO in brief, 2006). Among ISO’s new growth areas were the environment, service sectors, security and good managerial and organizational practice through standards like the suite of quality management system standards (ISO 9000) and the equivalent suite of environmental management standards (ISO 14000). In 2005 ISO started a new working group in a new field of standardization, and it soon became the largest standard-setting group of ISO. The focus in this chapter is on the work of this group – the ISO 26000 committee – tasked to draft the ISO 26000 standard on Social Responsibility (SR), or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as it is often known. This ISO initiative was welcomed by the United Nations (UN), which, a few years earlier, had pronounced support for private SR standardization initiatives, emphasizing the important role played by the private sector in contributing to sustainable development (AG report 2004). In the Plan of Implementation presented at the UN World Summit on...

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