The legitimacy of transnational private governance arrangements related to nanotechnologies: the case of international organization for standardization

Evisa Kica

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The core of this thesis consists of developing a comprehensive empirical assessment on the legitimacy of nanotechnology related transnational private governance arrangements (TPGAs), explored through the case study of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee on Nanotechnology (ISO/TC 229), which arguable is one of the core TPGAs in the field of nanotechnologies. Data for this thesis come from interviews with 76 stakeholders participating in the setting TC 229 standards. The perceptions of stakeholders are used to understand legitimacy in practice, by conducting empirical analysis through quantitative research methods such as opinion surveys. The thesis finds that the legitimacy of technology related governance arrangements in practice can be understood when stakeholders come to assess different aspects of a governance arrangement that relate to its decision-making process, expertise and outcomes. It finds that the perceptions of stakeholders on the legitimacy of nanotechnology standards are positively related to their level of participation, representation in the process, but also to the expertise that stakeholders have on nanotechnology standardization issues. The characteristics of the survey respondents suggest that respondents from developed countries (who have been generally more active in the decision-making process) appear to be more concerned with the benefits and problem-solving capacity of standardization outcomes. Respondents from less developed countries (who have been less involved in the setting of TC 229 standards) appear more concerned with decision-making processes guiding the development of standards for nanotechnologies. At the practical level the responses of stakeholders seem to justify that for a governance arrangement to be perceived legitimate both its processes and outcomes are crucial. It is clear from this research that the participation gap, as well as the challenges to access, control and influence the decision-making process, and benefit from TC 229 deliverables, are likely to have important implications for the perceptions of stakeholders on the legitimacy of TC 229. This thesis argues that the legitimation of a TPGAs cannot be viewed as a stable condition, but as something volatile and requires that effective strategies are deployed by relevant arrangements to improve not only the quality of their decision-making processes, but also the quality of standardization outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Dorbeck-Jung, Barbel R., Supervisor
  • Wessel, Ramses A., Supervisor
Award date23 Jan 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3818-3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2015


  • METIS-308710
  • IR-93956


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