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Catching Codes: The Institutionalization of Self-Regulation in the Global Apparel Industry
Unformatted Document Text:  Aside from targeting, an organization’s field position is likely to affect management’s decision whether or not to adopt self-regulation (Hypothesis 2). One indicator of field position is firm size – larger firms are more visible to actors both inside and outside the industry. Such companies are therefore demonstrating the norms and terms of engagement in the field and can be considered incumbents. Smaller firms, on the other hand, take these parameters as given in their own decision-making. Table 2 shows that incumbents have been the most frequent adopters of self- regulation, with almost two thirds (60%) falling into the large or very large size category. However, these organizations have also been the most frequent targets of anti-sweatshop activists, with 58% of targeted companies in the large or very large size groupings. Across the size categories, adoption rates are roughly comparable in magnitude to targeting rates, although non-targeted companies in the large and very large categories are adopting self-regulation at rates higher than expected. Higher adoption rates by incumbent firms may be because these firms are most commonly targeted, and firms of similar size adopt self-regulation preemptively, to try to avoid becoming the subject of labor activist campaigns. These findings refute the hypothesis that challenger firms are likely to adopt self-regulation based on mimetic isomorphism rather than targeting. One caveat to this finding is that the number of employees may not be a good Wetterberg 12 TABLE 2. Distribution of targeting and adoption by size Size (number of employees) % of sample % of targeted firms % of adopters targeted adopting self- regulation small (150-260)ÉÉ 31% 20% 18% 12% 15% medium (261-800)ÉÉ 31% 23% 21% 13% 17% large (801-9999)ÉÉ 34% 45% 48% 24% 36% v. large (10000-153000)ÉÉ 4% 13% 12% 60% 80% Total 100% 100% 100% - - % of firms in category

Authors: Wetterberg, Anna.
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Aside from targeting, an organization’s field position is likely to affect
management’s decision whether or not to adopt self-regulation (Hypothesis 2). One
indicator of field position is firm size – larger firms are more visible to actors both inside
and outside the industry. Such companies are therefore demonstrating the norms and
terms of engagement in the field and can be considered incumbents. Smaller firms, on
the other hand, take these parameters as given in their own decision-making.
Table 2 shows that incumbents have been the most frequent adopters of self-
regulation, with almost two thirds (60%) falling into the large or very large size category.
However, these organizations have also been the most frequent targets of anti-sweatshop
activists, with 58% of targeted companies in the large or very large size groupings.
Across the size categories, adoption rates are roughly comparable in magnitude to
targeting rates, although non-targeted companies in the large and very large categories
are adopting self-regulation at rates higher than expected. Higher adoption rates by
incumbent firms may be because these firms are most commonly targeted, and firms of
similar size adopt self-regulation preemptively, to try to avoid becoming the subject of
labor activist campaigns. These findings refute the hypothesis that challenger firms are
likely to adopt self-regulation based on mimetic isomorphism rather than targeting.
One caveat to this finding is that the number of employees may not be a good
Wetterberg
12
TABLE 2. Distribution of targeting and adoption by size
Size
(number of employees)
% of sample
% of targeted
firms
% of adopters
targeted
adopting self-
regulation
small (150-260)ÉÉ
31%
20%
18%
12%
15%
medium (261-800)ÉÉ
31%
23%
21%
13%
17%
large (801-9999)ÉÉ
34%
45%
48%
24%
36%
v. large (10000-153000)ÉÉ
4%
13%
12%
60%
80%
Total
100%
100%
100%
-
-
% of firms in category


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