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Where Are You? Consumers' Associations in Standardization: A Case Study on Switzerland
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Innovations in Organizational IT Specification and Standards Development
The expansion of international standardization has reinforced enduring questions on the legitimacy of standards. In that respect, the participation of all stakeholders, including the weakest ones (unions, NGO, consumers' associations) is crucial. Given the recognized role of consumers' associations to express legitimate objectives, the question of their representation becomes central. In order to get a deeper understanding of their participation, this article explores the evolution of their representation within the Swiss national mirror committees of international standardization between 1987 and 2007. It probes the extent to which their participation is determined by the distinctiveness of issues supposedly related to consumers' concerns and by their own use of standards. The empirical findings of our study indicate an underrepresentation of consumers' associations and confirm the topical specificity of their implication in standardization processes. Finally, we found evidence that the use of standards in an association's activities supports and encourages its participation in standardization committees.
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