Monitoring the Monitors: How Social Factors Influence Supply Chain Auditors
Jodi L. Short
University of California Hastings College of the Law
Michael W. Toffel
Harvard Business School (HBS) - Technology & Operations Management Unit
Harvard Business School
February 9, 2014
Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 14-032
UC Hastings Research Paper No. 84
Supply chain auditors provide companies with strategic information about the practices of suppliers, yet little is known of what influences auditors’ ability to identify and report dangerous, illegal, and unethical behavior at factories. Drawing on insights from the literatures on street-level bureaucracy and on regulatory and audit design, we theorize and investigate the factors that shape the practices of private supply chain auditors. We find evidence that their reporting practices are shaped by an array of social factors, including an auditor’s experience, gender, and professional training; ongoing relationships between auditors and audited factories; and gender diversity on audit teams. By providing the first comprehensive and systematic findings on supply chain auditing practices, our study suggests strategies for designing more credible monitoring regimes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: industry self-regulation, auditing, codes of conduct, supply chains, corporate social responsibility, globalizationworking papers series
Date posted: October 25, 2013 ; Last revised: July 22, 2014
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