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Business and Politics

Editor-in-Chief: Aggarwal, Vinod K.

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Volume 16, Issue 1 (Apr 2014)


Introduction: multiplicity and plurality in the world of standards

Symposium on multiplicity and plurality in the world of standards

Marie Laure Djelic / Frank den Hond
Published Online: 2013-12-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bap-2013-0034


Globalization is often described as a chaotic process which signals the end of national institutions’ ability to regulate markets. However, a closer look reveals a new world of standards and regulations, often with a transnational scope and reach. Contemporary rule making and rule monitoring increasingly take place in the context of transnational arenas that bring around the table many different types of actors, all of whom have or feel to have a “stake” in the regulatory project at hand, yet often for quite diverse reasons and with varying interests. While standardization would seem to suggest regularity, rationalization, and a reduction of diversity if not the advance of homogeneity and convergence, we can easily document a surprising multiplicity and plurality in our transnational world of standards. In most industries, fields and arenas, we find multiple standards and standard setting coalitions. Even so, scholars have only barely started to explore this multiplicity and plurality. Building upon what we know on technical standards, this Symposium describes and explains important patterns in the world of transnational standard-setting, revealing the nature of this plurality and the ways in which it impacts upon and is impacted by different groups of actors involved.


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About the article

Corresponding author: Frank den Hond, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland; and VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, e-mail:

Published Online: 2013-12-05

Published in Print: 2014-04-01

Giddens (2000).

Beck (1992).

Levi-Faur and Jordana (2005: p. 6).

Vogel (1996); Braithwaite and Drahos (2000); Djelic and Sahlin-Andersson (2006).

e.g., Djelic and Sahlin-Andersson (2006); Graz and Nölke (2008); Mattli and Woods (2009); Büthe (2010); Zürn (2012).

Higgot, Underhill and Bieler (2000); Hall and Biersteker (2002); Bartley (2007); Graz and Nölke (2008); Büthe and Mattli (2011).

Jacobsson (2006); Shaffer (2013).

Djelic and Sahlin-Andersson (2006).

Kirton and Trebilcock (2004); Mörth (2004); Djelic (2011); Shaffer (2013).

Brunsson and Jacobsson (2000).

Mörth (2004: p. 1)

Monitoring may be extended to include systems for certification, rating or ranking. Boli (2006); Davis et al. (2012).

Kirton and Trebilcock (2004); Djelic and Sahlin-Andersson (2006).

Sahlin and Wedlin (2008).

Meyer and Rowan (1977); Brunsson (1989).

Egan (2001); den Hond et al. (2007).

Ahrne and Brunsson (2006: p. 82); Braithwaite and Drahos (2000: p. 20).

ISO/IEC 2004. This definition has itself become a “standard” for the definition of standards. It has been appropriated word for word by most national or transnational normalizing or standardizing organizations.

Brunsson and Jacobsson (2000: p. 2).

Timmermans and Epstein (2010).

Djelic and Quack (2012: p. 169).

Tamm-Hallström and Boström (2010); Timmermans and Epstein (2010); Botzem and Dobusch (2012); Brunsson, Rasche and Seidl (2012).

Rose and Miller (1992).

Tamm Hallström (2004); Djelic and Quack (2010); Tamm Hallström and Boström (2010); Timmermans and Epstein (2010); Dobusch and Quack (2012).

Timmermans and Epstein (2010).

Reinecke, Manning and von Hagen (2012: p. 789).

E.g. Hawkins, Mansell and Skea (1995); Schmidt and Werle (1998); von Burg (2001); Funk (2002); Russell (2005).

Endres (2010).

ISO/IEC (2004).

Djelic and Quack (2012: p. 169).

Citation Information: Business and Politics, ISSN (Online) 1469-3569, ISSN (Print) 1369-5258, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bap-2013-0034.

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