- Global Governance and the Role of Non-State Actors
Conference in conjunction with the Social Science Center, Berlin, Alfred Herrhausen Society for International Dialogue and CARR, LSE
4 - 5 November 2004
Bankside House, LSE
Non-State Actors (NSAs) are now established as integral players in the architecture of global governance. With the globalisation of many contemporary policy issues, transcending national boundaries - from the environment to terrorism, from financial risk to local conflict - global governance is increasingly a contested process; opening up new space for political action by state and non-state actors. This makes processes of global governance both highly salient, as well as problematic. The conference examined how the regulatory capacity of non-state actors is a resource increasingly drawn upon by the state; in policy domains where it is either unwilling - or unable - to act itself.
The event included contributions from David Held (LSE), Michael Zurn (WZB/Hertie School of Governance), and Bill Emmott (Editor-in-Chief, The Economist). The capacity of non-state actors to provide policy solutions to the problems of global governance is confronted with a new wave of demands for improved representation, transparency, and accountability. In this regard, the conference considered if the rise of the non-state actor is resulting in a legitimacy crisis for global governance - or alternatively if it offers the solution as well as the problem. For future research, this raised the problem of whether new "democratic" forms of global governance should be unilaterally imposed upon civil society.
- Food, Risk and Regulation
BRASS, Cardiff University, October 2004
In collaboration with the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability & Society (BRASS), CARR held a conference on food risks and their regulation. The event brought together academic researchers, industry representatives and other stakeholders, to discuss current issues and experiences in the governance of food. Three major themes were addressed: communication and public attitudes, governance and reform (in the UK and Europe), and new forms of management for the supply chain. Speakers included Sue Dibb, from the National Consumer Council, Christine Majewski, from the European Food Safety Agency, Anna Jung, from the European Food Information Council, as well as researchers from CARR, BRASS, City University, Exeter, Cambridge and Amsterdam.
- Risk and Regulation Research Student Conference 2004
CARR, LSE, September 2004
CARR hosted its third annual international research student conference in September. The conference has rapidly become established as a major risk and regulation event for research students from across the world. This year the conference attracted 100 participants from Europe, North America, Africa, Australia and Israel, with over 50 presentations on subjects as diverse as independent regulators, GMOs, utility regulation, bird flu and money laundering.
The two day event provided a unique opportunity for students to develop and present their own ideas, consider problems through different pairs of theoretical spectacles, to get an insiders perspective on regulation in a keynote speech from Howard Davies (LSE Director and past chairman of the Financial Services Authority) and attend sessions on getting into print and masterclasses on risk and regulation. The hugely positive feedback from the participants shows that the conference is truly helping define the boundaries of this important new research field for the next generation of scholars across the world.
- Regulatory Creep
London, July 2004
- Joint one day CARR/SCORE workshop
CARR, LSE, June 2004
in association with the Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE)
Colleagues from the Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE) visited CARR for a one day workshop and exchange of ideas in the summer. SCORE is very much a sister research centre to CARR with a special focus on governance issues in the public sector and on regulation and standardisation. Julia Black (CARR) opened proceedings with an account of the work of the regulatory innovation group. Göran Ahrne and Nils Brunsson (SCORE) presented a paper on meta-organisations (organisations whose members are themselves organisations) and argued that such entities have increased in size and significance for regulatory processes. Javier Lezaun (CARR) spoke on experimentalism in regulatory organisations, specifically in the context of GM foodstuffs. Finally, Ulrika Mörth (SCORE) discussed the role of so-called 'soft law' and modes of regulation in EU. The event resonated with common interests across the two groups and it was hoped that this meeting would help to strengthen links for the future.
- The Accountability of Regulators
London, May 2004
European Policy Forum, London
The House of Lords report on the accountability of regulators was examined at a CARR/EPF seminar on 11 May 2004 when Deirdre Hutton, Chairman of the National Consumer Council and of the Better Regulation Task Force group on independent regulators, and Lord Holme of Cheltenham, a member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee, discussed the new report. The Chairs of Ofcom, the Financial Services Authority, the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, the Rail Regulator and leaders of other regulatory bodies took part in the discussions.
- Business History and Regulation 2004
University of Southampton, March 2004
CARR, in association with the University of Southampton's Centre for Research in Accounting, Accountability and Governance, held a workshop on 'Business History and Regulation' on 3 March 2004. This third and last of the business history interdisciplinary workshops was led by business historian Terry Gourvish; it brought together economists, political scientists, management scientists, accountants and historians to debate regulatory processes.
Peter Casson, University of Southampton, opened the workshop with a paper on 'A Study of Institutional Change: the Finance Act 1989 and Employee Share Ownership Plans'. Examining experience in both the US and UK, Casson showed how the incentives offered by the institutional structure can lead to outcomes other than those intended by the legislators. Gerald Burke (University of Oregon), spoke on Organising Economic Diversity: Antitrust, Associations and Accounting in the United States, 1906-25. Burke was concerned with the efforts of Louis Brandeis and others to encourage 'associational antitrust' and improved methods of cost accounting in the United States in the name of 'regulated competition'. He offered some interesting data to support his contention that these interventions had a positive impact in terms of higher productivity.
Among several provocative issues was the question: does capitalism function more responsibly with high or low information flows? Tony Arnold (University of Exeter) and Sean McCartney (University of Essex) examined 'Regulation and Strategic Policy Formulation in the British Railway Industry, 1870-14'. In an innovative contribution that provided new data on railway profits and concentration levels, they examined the impact of the regulation of Britain's private railway companies before the First World War. Key themes were the fluctuations of public policy towards mergers, and the response of the private sector towards these fluctuations.
Finally, Forrest Capie (City University) offered a provocative interpretation of financial regulation in Britain over the last three centuries. Extensive regulation in the 18th century gave way, first to deregulation in the 19th century, and then to self-regulation in the 20th. Capie pointed out that the age of 'neo-liberalism' has seen extensive additions to the regulatory framework. He highlighted the role of financial crises in encouraging change.
- Auditing in Action
CARR, LSE, February 2004
The ESRC workshop Auditing in Action, organised by Michael Power and Christopher Humphrey (University of Manchester), brought academics and practitioners together to discuss a range of issues about the audit process, particularly pertinent in the wake of the apparent failure to detect a large fraud at Parmalat.
The papers presented were all field studies of auditing, and two contributions dealt specifically with the business risk audit (BRA) model. Christopher Humphrey (with Rihab Khalifa (LSE) and Keith Robson (UMIST) argued that BRA was much more than a technical innovation and was part of a repositioning of the professional identity of auditors as advisers and consultants; a process which was undermined by the collapse of Enron. Robert Knechel (University of Florida) traced the history of risk-based auditing, arguing that it was born in a climate of cost pressures on auditors.
There was a lively panel session discussing the future of auditing, led by Jonathan Hayward (Independent Audit), Martyn Jones (Deloitte), and David York (ACCA). Auditing is an essential resource for regulatory systems and in the wake of Enron and Parmalat pressures for the reform of auditing have been great. However, the technical dimension of auditing has always been relatively immune from these pressures, changing slowly, and often regarded as a 'black box' by regulators. It was argued that this was set to change with the development of new standards by the International Federation of Accountants. Some practitioners expressed concern that new regulatory arrangements could change the incentives to audit, leading to an undersupply of good auditing; but this market failure scenario was doubted by others.
This discussion was followed by two detailed studies of the audit decision process in Scandinavia (Stig Westerdahl, Mid Sweden University; Peter Ohman and colleagues from Mid Sweden University, Lulea University of Technology and the University of Oslo). Finally, Jean Bedard (Laval University) presented empirical work on how audit committees construct themselves as effective and credible bodies in organisations.
- Soft Risks, Hard Lessons: using corporate governance to manage legal, ethical and reputational uncertainties
University of Cambridge, January 2004
This one-day event on corporate governance and related ethical issues featured keynote addresses by Onora O'Neill, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge and 2002 Reith Lecturer, and Charles Fombrun, formerly professor of management at the Stern School, New York and currently executive director of the Reputation Institute.
Professor O'Neill gave a talk entitled 'Intelligent Trust and Intelligent Accountability'. She argued that the extensive use of managerial methods for accountability purposes has damaged and distracted professional cultures, and that defensiveness has come to dominate at the expense of informed judgement. Managerial conceptions of accountability have also deflected attention from the need to define the primary, substantive obligations of agents to right bearing principals. Defining accountability primarily as 'answerability', O'Neill suggested a form of more intelligent accountability grounded primarily in dialogue with right holders.
In his talk on corporate reputation and risk, Professor Fombrun argued that it is not only our society that is obsessed with celebrity: 'the star system has also happened to our companies.' The era of deregulation and liberalisation of markets fostered enormous forces of competition between companies and products, and competition for money, talent, knowledge and attention. While this has generated significant wealth creation and business growth, the more negative consequence has been a 'winner takes all' mentality in both society and business, in which all the attention is focused on a few individuals. As a result a few companies are making huge incomes while many others are barely surviving.
This was the reason for the series of business scandals over the last two years that have engulfed corporates such as Enron, Tyco, Adelphia and WorldCom. Fombrun went on to consider how reputation could be used to regulate corporate misbehaviour. Companies' reputations, he said, were valued far more by the markets than by accountants; therefore companies put a lot of emphasis on branding and marketing themselves in order to gain the support of investors.
Amongst the participants were Adrian Cadbury, father of the modern corporate governance movement, and representatives from the Foundation for Independent Directors, Reuters, accountants BDO Stoy Hayward, and The Change Partnership.