Commercial pressures and social justice in the Indian textile and garment industries: rules, conventions, commitments and change

Braithwaite, Peter Franklin (2012) Commercial pressures and social justice in the Indian textile and garment industries: rules, conventions, commitments and change. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the tensions that arise when business enterprises respond to
situations that have both commercial aspects and implications for workers. Using
Grounded Theory methodology it examines data from 56 case profiles, extensive
interviews and secondary sources in order to understand the nature and variety of the
social and commercial commitments that enterprises in the Indian textile and garment
industries make and how these are influenced by the rules and conventions inherent in
global value chains and in the local culture. It uses concepts drawn from Convention
Theory, from social realism and from the social justice literature to develop an
analytical framework that explains how priorities are coordinated in three arenas –
within enterprises, in interactions connected with the workplace and in society as a
whole.

The findings show that, in the mainstream, social commitments are generally weak and
behaviour towards workers is inconsistent, reflecting a reactive stance that ethical
trading has done little to change. Most social enterprises have similarly weak
commercial commitments and efforts by Fair Trade organisations to reach mainstream
markets have proved problematic. Few examples have been found of commercial
success achieved in a way that also meets the criteria of social justice. Those cases that
have come closest have created new business models that integrate social and
commercial values, forged by means of long-term business relationships or
partnerships.

A variety of mutually-reinforcing factors combine to determine the balance of priorities
– public discourse, engagement by stakeholders, including workers, and internal
processes for resolving differences – and these are affected by the level of scrutiny and
openness to organisational learning. Interventions aimed at greater social justice in the
industry or at scaling up social enterprise need to recognise the complexity of these
interrelationships and the ways in which rules, conventions and commitments blend to
determine behaviour.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: Institute of Development Studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS History of Asia > DS401 India (Bharat)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD9000 Special industries and trades > HD9720 Manufacturing industries > HD9850 Textile industries
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD9000 Special industries and trades > HD9720 Manufacturing industries > HD9940 Clothing
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2012 14:13
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2015 14:36
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39450

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