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1 – 10 of over 2000
Article
Publication date: 10 February 2022

Peter Jones and Daphne Comfort

Modern slavery has been identified as a problem in the construction industry, but the issue has received very limited attention in the academic literature. This…

Abstract

Purpose

Modern slavery has been identified as a problem in the construction industry, but the issue has received very limited attention in the academic literature. This exploratory paper looks to explore one of the ways in which the United Kingdom (UK)'s largest housebuilding companies have publicly addressed the issue by reviewing their modern slavery statements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a simple methodological approach to review the modern slavery statements of the largest housebuilding companies within the UK and offers some reflections on these statements.

Findings

The findings identified a number of policy and practice responses, which characterised the selected housebuilding companies' approaches to modern slavery. The companies' approaches to modern slavery statements were seen as aspirational and perhaps best described as a work in progress.

Research limitations/implications

The authors recognise that the paper has a number of limitations. The empirical material for the review is drawn exclusively from the corporate websites of the selected housebuilding companies at a set point in time and does not include any primary information supplied by, or obtained from, the companies' executives, managers or employees or any information obtained from the companies' contractors, subcontractors or suppliers.

Originality/value

The paper offers an exploratory review of the modern slavery statements published by the largest housebuilding companies within the UK. As such, the review makes a small contribution to addressing a gap in the academic literature on modern slavery within the housebuilding industry and will hopefully stimulate future research in the field.

Details

Property Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 27 July 2018

Amy V. Benstead, Linda C. Hendry and Mark Stevenson

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how horizontal collaboration aids organisations in responding to modern slavery legislation and in gaining a socially…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how horizontal collaboration aids organisations in responding to modern slavery legislation and in gaining a socially sustainable competitive advantage.

Design/methodology/approach

Action research has been conducted in the textiles and fashion industry and a relational perspective adopted to interpret five collaborative initiatives taken to tackle modern slavery (e.g. joint training and supplier audits). The primary engagement has been with a multi-billion pound turnover company and its collaborations with 35 brands/retailers. A non-government organisation and a trade body have also participated.

Findings

Successful horizontal collaboration is dependent on both relational capital and effective (formal and informal) governance mechanisms. In collaborating, firms have generated relational rents and reduced costs creating a socially sustainable competitive advantage, as suggested by the relational perspective. Yet, limits to horizontal collaboration also exist.

Research limitations/implications

The focus is on one industry only, hence there is scope to extend the study to other industries or forms of collaboration taking place across industries.

Practical implications

Successful horizontal collaborative relationships rely on actors having a similar mindset and being able to decouple the commercial and sustainability agendas, especially when direct competitors are involved. Further, working with non-business actors can facilitate collaboration and provide knowledge and resources important for overcoming the uncertainty that is manifest when responding to new legislation.

Social implications

Social sustainability improvements aim to enhance ethical trade and benefit vulnerable workers.

Originality/value

Prior literature has focussed on vertical collaboration with few prior studies of horizontal collaboration, particularly in a socially sustainable supply chain context. Moreover, there has been limited research into modern slavery from a supply chain perspective. Both successful and unsuccessful initiatives are studied, providing insights into (in)effective collaboration.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 April 2019

Katherine Leanne Christ, Kathyayini Kathy Rao and Roger Leonard Burritt

Given the impending introduction of legislation requiring large Australian listed companies to make supply chain disclosures about modern slavery, the paper aims to reveal…

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Abstract

Purpose

Given the impending introduction of legislation requiring large Australian listed companies to make supply chain disclosures about modern slavery, the paper aims to reveal current voluntary practice. The purpose of this paper is to provide a benchmark for assessing the current engagement of large companies with modern slavery in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

Institutional theory provides the foundation for assessing current voluntary practice in relation to modern slavery disclosures by large Australian listed companies. Content analysis is used to identify quantity and quality of modern slavery disclosures of the top 100 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The contents of annual and standalone reports available on websites, as well as other online disclosures, are examined using terms associated with modern slavery identified from the literature.

Findings

Evidence gathered about modern slavery disclosures by ASX 100 companies shows information in annual and standalone reports reveal far less than other disclosures on company websites. Overall, the volume and quality of disclosures are low and, where made, narrative. A wide range of themes on modern slavery are disclosed with bribery and corruption and human rights issues dominant. Although currently in line with institutional theory, as there appear to be mimetic processes encouraging disclosure, results support the idea that legislation is needed to encourage further engagement.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a baseline of understanding about the volume and quality of modern slavery disclosures as a foundation for future research into the practices of Australian companies prior to the signalled introduction of legislation mandating reporting. It also identifies potential lines of research. The sample only examines large Australian listed companies which restricts generalisation from the results.

Originality/value

This is the first academic research paper to examine quantity and quality of modern slavery disclosures of large Australian companies. Results add support for the introduction of legislation by government.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 February 2020

Anthony Flynn and Helen Walker

Drawing on statements made under the transparency in supply chains provision of the UK Modern Slavery Act, this paper aims to examine how firms are responding to modern

2192

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on statements made under the transparency in supply chains provision of the UK Modern Slavery Act, this paper aims to examine how firms are responding to modern slavery risks in their supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

Using an institutional theory lens, a content analysis of modern slavery statements by financial times stock exchange (FTSE) firms is carried out. The analysis focusses on sources of modern slavery institutional pressure and changes that firms have made in their structures, policies and practices in response to modern slavery risks.

Findings

Three sources of institutional pressure are inferred from modern slavery statements: international human rights accords (coercive), multi-stakeholder initiatives (mimetic) and professional standards (normative). Changes made by firms in direct response to modern slavery include adopting new policies, strengthening contract terms, establishing working/steering groups and creating new key performance indicators. FTSE 100 firms have been more proactive than FTSE 250 firms in making these changes, as have firms in higher risk industries.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis covers FTSE firms only. Responses to modern slavery risks by non-FTSE firms deserve attention.

Practical implications

The UK Modern Slavery Act relies on non-government organisations and consumers to hold firms to account over modern slavery. Policymakers should be aware that while this strategy might work with high profile firms, it is less applicable to firms that operate below the public radar.

Originality/value

The paper shows that institutional theory has validity for explaining corporate responses to modern slavery risks.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 January 2022

Ahmed Diab

This study aims to present an institutional analysis of modern slavery to understand the accountability status for domestic workers in the West Asian context, notably…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present an institutional analysis of modern slavery to understand the accountability status for domestic workers in the West Asian context, notably Lebanon. This study also aims to explore how today’s modern age – where Internet technologies and social media platforms are highly dominant – affects modern slavery.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on conversations and secondary data such as previous studies, Internet websites and media reports published in the West Asian region, especially Lebanon.

Findings

The study found a context where different institutional factors are influential with no specific definition of accountability. The context specificities, including the misuse of Internet technologies, contributed to the migrant domestic workers’ precarious life and the absence of resistance and actions from the domestic workers’ side (account holders). Further, weak institutional settings and indigenous cultural factors have contributed to the lack of accountability and responsibility from power holders such as households and employers’ governments.

Originality/value

This study provides insights to researchers and other stakeholders concerned with socioeconomic issues in West Asia. Further, it has a social implication by highlighting the humanitarian problem of marginalised migrant domestic workers traveling from poor African and South Asian countries to West Asian countries and indicating to the broader society’s social responsibility or duty concerning this problem.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 February 2022

Benjamin Robb and Snejina Michailova

Globalisation plays a major role in the existence and persistence of modern slavery, one of the most extreme examples of human rights abuses in recorded history. This…

Abstract

Purpose

Globalisation plays a major role in the existence and persistence of modern slavery, one of the most extreme examples of human rights abuses in recorded history. This paper aims to explore how multinational enterprises (MNEs), as central players in international business (IB) activities, relate to modern slavery. This paper focusses on human rights–minded MNEs and investigates their narratives and proactive approaches to tackling modern slavery.

Design/methodology/approach

This study conducted 12 semi-structured interviews with managers and consultants with substantial knowledge on the topic. This study also gained insights from a business conference on modern slavery organised by a New Zealand ministry in 2021.

Findings

This study identified four MNE narratives and three approaches to responding to modern slavery.

Practical implications

This paper discusses the challenges faced by MNEs when addressing modern slavery and outlines the relevant implications for MNE managers.

Originality/value

The scholarly conversation on modern slavery in the field of IB is in its infancy. This paper offers an account of how MNEs deal with modern slavery. In addition, while most studies take a critical angle and focus on problems, this study focusses on progressive and human rights–minded MNEs.

Details

Review of International Business and Strategy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-6014

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 February 2022

Ruoqi Geng, Hugo K.S. Lam and Mark Stevenson

There is still significant variation in firms' efforts to address modern slavery issues in supply chains despite the importance of this grand challenge. This research…

1049

Abstract

Purpose

There is still significant variation in firms' efforts to address modern slavery issues in supply chains despite the importance of this grand challenge. This research adopts the awareness-motivation-capability (AMC) framework to investigate AMC-related factors that help to explain this variation.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors hypothesize how AMC-related factors, including media coverage of modern slavery issues, slavery risks in supply chains and corporate sustainability performance, are related to firms' efforts to address modern slavery in supply chains. The proposed hypotheses are tested based on 201 UK firms' modern slavery statements and additional secondary data collected from Factiva, Factset Revere, The Global Slavery Index, Worldscope and Sustainalytics.

Findings

Consistent with the AMC perspective, the test results show that firms put more effort into addressing supply chain modern slavery issues when there is greater media coverage of these issues, when firms source from countries with higher slavery risks, and when firms have better corporate sustainability performance. Additional analysis further suggests that firms' financial performance is not related to their efforts to address modern slavery issues.

Originality/value

This is the first study adopting the AMC framework to investigate firms' efforts to address modern slavery in supply chains. This investigation provides important implications for researchers studying firm behaviors related to modern slavery issues and for policymakers designing policies that enable firms to address these issues, in view of their awareness, motivation and capability.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 9 March 2021

Katherine Leanne Christ and Roger Leonard Burritt

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic affects corporate modern slavery accounting, auditing and accountability, and…

4036

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic affects corporate modern slavery accounting, auditing and accountability, and how a business can take advantage of this situation to ensure a more robust and effective modern slavery response in the long-term.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on recent literature and available statistics about modern slavery in the context of COVID-19 comment is provided on the challenges and opportunities for researchers and business.

Findings

Given the additional invisibility of modern slavery in a COVID-19 environment as victims move into unemployment and back into vulnerable positions where they are exploited the challenge is how accounting, auditing and accountability can help business break this cycle. Capabilities for business to track and trace victims of modern slavery will be reduced because of the pandemic. Opportunities exist for gathering data and building internal awareness about the problem of modern slavery in supply chains and to reassess operational risk and investment in modern slavery reduction. With the pause in external reporting opportunity exists to obtain views of external stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the relatively short period of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, numeric data on impacts are largely unavailable.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to consider the challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 on accounting for modern slavery in business. Directions for future research are also considered.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 February 2021

Joanne Meehan and Bruce D. Pinnington

The purpose of this paper is to assess whether firms' transparency in supply chain (TISC) statements indicate that substantive action is being taken on modern slavery in…

1906

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess whether firms' transparency in supply chain (TISC) statements indicate that substantive action is being taken on modern slavery in UK government supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyse 66 of the UK government's strategic suppliers' TISC statements and 20 key documents related to the policy intent of the UK Parliament, 2015 TISC requirements. Qualitative document analysis identifies what suppliers say they are doing and what they are not saying to provide novel insights into how firms employ ambiguity to avoid timely action on modern slavery in their supply chains A set of propositions are developed.

Findings

The authors elaborate the concepts of time and change in socially sustainable supply chains and illustrate how firms use ambiguity in TISC statements as a highly strategic form of action to defend the status quo, reduce accountability and delay action for modern slavery within supply chains. The authors identify three ambiguous techniques: defensive reassurance, transfer responsibility and scope reduction that deviate from the policy intention of collaborative action.

Social implications

The results illustrates how ambiguity is preventing firms from taking collaborative action to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains. The lack of action as a result of ambiguity protects firms, rather than potential victims of modern slavery.

Originality/value

Prior research focuses on technical compliance rather than the content of firms' TISC statements. This qualitative study provides novel insights into the policy-resistant effects of ambiguity and highlights the dynamic and instrumental role of modern slavery reporting. Theoretically, we identify accountability as an essential concept to address the causes of modern slavery in supply chains and for developing collaborative supply chain environments to tackle the issues.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 October 2019

Anthony Flynn

This paper aims to investigate the determinants of corporate compliance with the transparency in supply chains provision of the UK Modern Slavery Act. While recent…

1912

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the determinants of corporate compliance with the transparency in supply chains provision of the UK Modern Slavery Act. While recent scholarship has described what firms are doing to comply with this Act, no attempt has been made to explain their behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

A predictive model of corporate compliance with modern slavery reporting is tested using secondary data from Financial Times Stock Exchange 350 firms. The model is informed by institutional theory and, in particular, by Oliver’s (1991) insights into the conditions under, which firms respond to institutional pressures.

Findings

Compliance with modern slavery reporting is found to be significantly related to firm size, prior social responsibility commitment, network involvement, industry and headquarter base (UK versus non-UK). Other predictors such as media exposure, shareholder concentration and profitability are found to be non-significant.

Research limitations/implications

The focus is on the 350 largest publicly listed companies in the UK. The stances that firms outside of this cohort are taking on modern slavery reporting still need to be investigated.

Practical implications

Compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act varies by industry. Regulators should consider this as a part of risk profiling strategies and follow-up inspection of firms.

Originality/value

This paper provides the first theoretically grounded examination of the organisational and environmental factors that determine corporate compliance with modern slavery reporting.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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