Jyväskylän yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulu

Business & Human Rights (BHR) Research Methods

This track would form the second meeting of the EBEN Special Interest Group on BHR. However, anyone interested in the track is invited to participate. At the EBEN AC 2017 we would like to focus on research approaches that bridge divides between various academic disciplines related to the field.

Note that contributions to this track will be considered for publication in a Special Issue of the Nordic Journal of Human Rights, guest-edited by the track organizers.

Please note: deadline extended for this track to 5 April, 2017.

Track Organizers:

  • Karin Buhmann, Professor of Business & Human Rights, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark - EBEN Scandinavia, kbu.ikl@cbs.dk
  • Björn Fasterling, Professor of Law and Business Ethics, EDHEC Business School, Lille, France - EBEN France, bjorn.fasterling@edhec.edu
  • Aurora Voiculescu, Senior Lecturer in Socio-legal studies and Human Rights, University of Westminster, UK, a.voiculescu@westminster.ac.uk

Description of the theme of the track:

While human Rights responsibilities of business have long attracted attention with human rights scholars as well as scholars of business ethics and management, BHR has undergone further evolution, bringing the interdisciplinary character of the field further to the forefront of theory as well as practice. With the adoption and endorsement of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) in 2011, human rights respect is now an operational concern for business enterprises. In view of the interdisciplinary character of the BHR field, methodological approaches for addressing the subject vary, each embedded in its respective established academic discipline. This is a challenge to the conversation across disciplines that must be overcome for scholars of law, business ethics, management and other fields to better understand the practical developments and theoretical evolution of BHR. Yet, it is also an opportunity for scholars to enrich established methods in their own discipline by pragmatically adopting methods from neighbouring fields.

We invite submission of original research that display methods for BHR research, or methodological models, or theoretical explanations of the challenges and opportunities in BHR research methods. The following list is an indicative, but not exhaustive, list of possible areas for submissions:

Analyzing human rights as operational concern for business enterprises

  • What data is relevant to analyze how businesses deal with human rights in their operations, and how can such data be identified?
  • How can we reliably evaluate corporate processes such as human rights impact assessments (HRIA) or human rights due diligence (HRDD) that address human rights issues?
  • How can we assess how human rights issues are effectively communicated to businesses and manager so that they become embedded in their practices?
  • How to measure the effectiveness of measures taken by business enterprises to address human rights problems be assessed? Or to measure a business’s changes of 'mindset' corporate culture with respect to human rights?
  • How to take account of an alleged cultural embeddedness of human rights in analysis of BHR, for example in relation to supply chains and home states of multinational enterprises?
  • Prospects and limits of risk management based approaches to human rights due diligence?
  • How does BHR influence the management of stakeholder relations (for example, inspiration from methods from human rights based development, or from human rights to participation in decision-making and free, prior and informed consent)?
  • How can investors with ethical or socially responsible investment policies assess human rights impacts of their investments in accordance with the due diligence requirements of OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises? How can we assess the appropriateness of decisions that balance human rights impacts against economic returns?
  • To which extent are human rights embedded in investment decisions? Do investors take into account measurement tools such as the "Corporate Human Rights Benchmark" (CHRB)? How can we measure the influence of investor decisions on corporate practice?

Analyzing the mutual influence between corporate activity, social expectations, and the development of law, so-called “soft law” and other normative frameworks

  • How could and does emergent jurisprudence on BHR take into account non-judicial remedies and operational level remedies?
  • Are there any culture specificities with regard to appropriate remedy? How do we identify and assess such specificities, and how to take account of them in analysis of the human rights appropriateness of remedy?
  • How to assess the mutual influence between emergent soft and hard regulatory schemes on BHR and other transnational business governance instruments that relate to human rights?
  • How can business ethics complement the emergent soft and hard regulatory schemes on BHR to support their influence on corporate practices?
  • What is the relationship between operational risk management standard, human rights due diligence under the UNGP or OECD Guidelines for MNEs and legal standards of care?
  • What does the interdisciplinary character of BHR offer to the development of methods for international law research? How can international law research benefit methodologically from emergent interdisciplinary BHR research?           
Important upcoming dates

March 1, 2017

  • Pre-conference doctoral school submissions  


Extended deadline March 8, 2017

  • Conference paper and abstract submissions


April 1, 2017

  • A notification regarding the full paper and abstract acceptances
  • A notification regarding the pre-conference doctoral school acceptances
  • A notification regarding the special track acceptances


September 30, 2017

  • Publication submissions
Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics
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See also:

International Doctoral
Consortium 2017

June 12-14, 2017 at Jyväskylä University, Finland