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Abstract

In this introductory paper for the special issue “Government and the Governance of Business Conduct: Implications for Management and Organization”, we focus on government as an institution in the broader context of the governance of business conduct. We review the longevity and heterogeneity of governmental actors along with, and in relation to, the evolving role and place of business and civil society actors under the double challenge of privatization and globalization over the last three to four decades. In so doing we track the evolution of government’s primary governance roles. We suggest that part of the organization and management scholarship builds upon problematic assumptions when it comes to the role(s) of government in the governance of business conduct. We suggest that while governments might be losing some power, they are also acquiring and deploying it in other areas; that governments are taking on new governance roles in relation to business conduct; that government regulation may contribute positively to the governance of business conduct; and that government is an ever-important focus for management and organizational research. We show how the six contributing papers to the Special Issue both illustrate these arguments and reveal new roles for government in the contemporary governance of business conduct. We end by proposing a research agenda for the further exploration of government in governance.

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