The OECD Guidelines as a Supranational Mechanism of Labor Conflict Resolution

Michele Ford, University of Sydney
Michael Gillan, University of Western Australia
Htwe Htwe Thein, Curtin University

Suggested Citation
Ford, M., Gillan, M., & Thein, H. H. (2017, November). The OECD guidelines as a supranational mechanism of labor conflict resolution [Electronic version]. Paper presented at Conflict and its Resolution in the Changing World of Work: A Conference and Special Issue Honoring David B. Lipsky, Ithaca, NY. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement
Copyright held by the authors.


This paper explores supranational conflict resolution through an examination of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and a ‘specific instances’ mechanism through which unions and other interested parties can raise complaints and resolve disputes related to alleged breaches of the Guidelines. Based on an analysis of descriptive statistics generated from an original database of all specific instance complaints and qualitative assessment of a selected number of union-led complaints, the paper assesses the impact of the mechanism as an instrument of conflict resolution. In doing so, it focuses on the form and structure of the national agencies which deal with complaints; their methods and practices of dispute resolution; and the outcomes produced within the context of sovereign nations’ own industrial relations processes. In doing so, it contributes to the conceptualization of conflict resolution in MNE-labor relations and the significance of overlapping levels and forms of governance.