Hundreds of transnational private governance organizations (TPGOs) have emerged in recent decades to govern social and environmental conditions of production using voluntary standards. A debate persists over whether the ties among different TPGOs and other organizations create a professional community that affects the behavior of TPGOs. To help resolve this debate, we analyze multiple ties among agriculture TPGOs to offer a more robust exploration of community structures and their potential effects for three forms of TPGO behavior - coordination, collaboration, and isomorphism. Our aggregate measure of ties reveals a thin community dominated by older TPGOs and TPGOs advancing a broad notion of sustainability that were created by Solidaridad, the World Wildlife Fund, and/or Unilever. The clearest community structures are built from ties that exhibit the potential for not actual collaboration, coordination, and isomorphism. Thus, while there exists convergence toward an emergent TPGO-community, obstacles remain to more intense behavioral effects for TPGOs.

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Keywords Agriculture, Policy community, Private governance, Social network analysis, Sustainable development
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Journal Regulation and Governance
Fransen, L. (Luc), Schalk, J. (Jelmer), & Auld, G. (2018). Community structure and the behavior of transnational sustainability governors: Toward a multi-relational approach. Regulation and Governance. doi:10.1111/rego.12185