Legal Systems, Internationalization and Corporate Sustainability

The following article has been accepted for publication and will shortly appear on Emerald Early cite.

Hörisch, J., Burritt, R., Christ, K. and Schaltegger, S. (2017) ‘Legal Systems, Internationalization and Corporate Sustainability: An empirical analysis of the influence of national and international authorities’, Corporate Governance: The international Journal of Business in Society [Status: Accepted 14.5.17].

The following Structured Abstract gives an outline of the article’s main message.
Purpose: This research compares the influence of different legal systems on corporate
sustainability management practices. Against the background of growing
internationalization of business activities, it additionally considers whether
internationalization allows companies to circumvent the influence of national
authorities.
Design/methodology/approach: Three legal systems are compared using regression analyses of more than 200 large\ corporations in five countries: common law (USA and Australia), German code law (Germany), and French code law (France and Spain).
Findings: The impact of national and international authorities is found to be strongest in French code law countries. In addition, influence of international authorities is stronger for corporations with higher shares of international sales. For both national and
international authorities the degree of internationalization is found to moderate the
influence of the legal system on corporate sustainability practices.
Practical implications: The legal system in place influences the relative effectiveness of national and international authorities over company sustainability practices and needs to be taken into account in policy making. To be effective, international authorities need to work with or substitute for national authorities in promoting corporate sustainability
practices in countries depending on their legal systems.
Originality/value: This research applies and quantitatively tests La Porta’s (1998) framework on legal systems in the new context of corporate sustainability.

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