Self-Constitutionalizing TNCs? On the Linkage of 'Private' and 'Public' Corporate Codes of Conduct

Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 2010

17 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2010 Last revised: 25 Sep 2010

See all articles by Gunther Teubner

Gunther Teubner

Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität

Date Written: April 19, 2010


What is special about the intertwining of private and public corporate codes? It is not only tendencies of a juridification but also of a constitutionalization that materialize in this interplay. Both types of corporate codes taken together represent the beginnings of specific transnational corporate constitutions - conceived as constitutions in the strict sense. This point is based on a concept of constitution that is not limited to the nation state and implies that also non-state societal orders develop autonomous constitutions under particular historical circumstances.

The following arguments highlight that corporate codes feature functions, structures and institutions of genuine constitutions: 1. To the extent that "public" and "private" corporate codes juridify fundamental principles of a social order and establish rules for its self-restraint at the same time, they fulfil central constitutional functions. 2. With their characteristics of double reflexivity and binary meta-coding, both codes develop genuine constitutional structures. 3. As constitutional institutions, the two codes do not form a hierarchy of public and private constitutions, but an ultracyclical linkage of qualitatively different networks of constitutional norms.

Keywords: constitutionalization, transnational corporate constitution, juridification

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K20, K22

Suggested Citation

Teubner, Gunther, Self-Constitutionalizing TNCs? On the Linkage of 'Private' and 'Public' Corporate Codes of Conduct (April 19, 2010). Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Gunther Teubner (Contact Author)

Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität ( email )

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