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dc.contributor.authorO'Brien, Claire Methven
dc.contributor.authorFerguson, John
dc.contributor.authorMcVey, Marisa
dc.identifier.citationO'Brien , C M , Ferguson , J & McVey , M 2021 , ' National Action Plans on business and human rights : an experimentalist governance analysis ' , Human Rights Review , vol. First Online .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 275671188
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 71955628-c178-4344-954d-f9d5c5217895
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-2655-3258/work/99804244
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-1604-7677/work/99804717
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000693879900001
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85114424789
dc.descriptionResearch for this article was partly funded by Danida, “Realising the SDGS: The role of responsible business”.en
dc.description.abstractNational Action Plans (NAPs) on business and human rights are a growing phenomenon. Since 2011, 42 such plans have been adopted or are in-development worldwide. By comparison, only 39 general human rights action plans were published between 1993 and 2021. In parallel, NAPs have attracted growing scholarly interest. While some studies highlight their potential to advance national compliance with international norms, others criticise NAPs as cosmetic devices that states use to deflect attention from persisting abuses and needed regulation. In response to wider critiques of international human rights norms, and their failure to exact universal state compliance, experimentalist governance theory highlights the dynamic, dialogic and iterative character of human rights implementation as well as the role of stakeholders. In this article, we apply experimentalist governance theory to evaluate the role and character of business and human rights NAPs. Rather than attempting to evaluate NAPs’ ultimate consequences for rights-holders, which appears premature, we focus on NAPs processes. Specifically, we analyse NAPs processes in twenty-five states against five experimentalist governance criteria relating to (i) stakeholder participation; (ii) agreement on a broad problem definition; (iii) local contextualisation; (iv) monitoring and peer review and (v) periodic revision and learning. According to our findings, NAPs on business and human rights in most states demonstrate resemblance to the traits of experimentalist governance. In particular, our analysis points to the emergence of relatively sophisticated and demanding institutional governance mechanisms within NAPs — including the institutionalisation of complex deliberative processes. Nevertheless, our paper also identifies some significant shortcomings in NAPs, related to the lack of inclusion of vulnerable groups and the lack of explicit indicators and targets.
dc.relation.ispartofHuman Rights Reviewen
dc.rightsCopyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
dc.subjectNational Action Plans (NAPs)en
dc.subjectBuisness and human rightsen
dc.subjectExperimentalist governanceen
dc.subjectUN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)en
dc.subjectHD28 Management. Industrial Managementen
dc.titleNational Action Plans on business and human rights : an experimentalist governance analysisen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for the Study of Philanthropy & Public Gooden
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Managementen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Researchen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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