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See detailThe Governance of Fair Trade Organizations. A Focus on Stakeholders' Representation
Huybrechts, Benjamin ULg

in HEC Working Paper (2007), 200706/02

This article analyzes the governance structures of Fair Trade Organizations (FTOs), i.e. the organizations (nonprofit, co-operative or for-profit firms) exclusively dedicated to the import, distribution ... [more ▼]

This article analyzes the governance structures of Fair Trade Organizations (FTOs), i.e. the organizations (nonprofit, co-operative or for-profit firms) exclusively dedicated to the import, distribution and/or labeling of Fair Trade products. Among the possible governance issues, I have chosen to investigate a recent topic in the study of social enterprises: the involvement of different stakeholder groups on the Board of Directors. The goals of this article are (1) to analyze to what extent FTOs involve different stakeholders on their boards and (2) to propose some possible factors that could determine the extent of such involvement. In order to investigate these questions, I study the organizations of the Fair Trade sector in Belgium, a country that seems representative of the European Fair Trade sector. Despite a number of methodological limitations, the results show that the legal status and the goal and resource mixes have an influence on stakeholders’ representation on the board. This influence is rather observable in terms of dominance (which types of stakeholders dominate the board?) than in terms of dispersion (how many different types of stakeholders are represented?). The article ends with a proposition of typology of FTOs according to their positioning in terms of both stakeholders’ representation and goal and resource mixes. [less ▲]

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