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'What does this mean?': How UK cos. make sense of human rights

Author: Louise J. Obara, Published on: 5 February 2018

"'What does this mean?': How UK companies make sense of human rights," 25 May 2017

...Whilst much has been written about why companies should respect human rights, far less is known about what companies actually do in practice and how human rights are understood and managed. To address this gap, this article draws on empirical data collected as part of an in-depth, qualitative study that investigated how 22 large UK companies [with, bar one, an annual turnover totalling over £500 million] interpreted and managed human rights within everyday practice...

Through an analysis based on sensemaking, the article explores the meaning of human rights, the grounds used to justify corporate responsibility, and the human rights terminology and labels employed within the corporate setting. It then analyses what this understanding and discourse means for the debate about the role of private entities for the protection of human rights...

This article offers a behind-the-scenes look at how UK companies make sense of human rights and the grounds used to justify their human rights involvement...[In doing so it makes some important contributions, such as revealing]

-   the acceptance by most companies of direct human rights duties...

-   [the] finding that a moral rationale was appealed to most by companies [to justify their engagement in human rights]...

-   [the fact that] participants could clearly articulate the commercial advantages associated with respecting human rights [though] they struggled to articulate their understanding of 'the right thing to do'...[and]

-   far from it being helpful...the label of 'human rights' was viewed as controversial, political and abstract...

[refers to Nike and Shell]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Nike Shell