Taming Wicked Problems Through International Business Policy: Recommendations for Addressing Modern Slavery
Purpose: The paper frames modern slavery as a global wicked problem and aims to provide a set of international business (IB) policy recommendations for taming it. The outlined approach can also guide IB policymaking to address other kinds of wicked problems.
Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper that reviews existing literature on wicked problems and integrates it with an IB policy double helix framework. The paper focuseses on the role multinational enterprises (MNEs) play in moderl slavery globally, either through global value chains or within global factory modes of operation.
Findings: As a global wicked problem, modern slavery will never be solved, but it can be re-solved time and time over. Understanding the social reproduction of modern slavery can help shift the focus from labor governance and a narrow supply chain focus toward the role of transnational governance and the need to address institutional, market and organizational failures.
Originality/value: The paper contributes to the gap in an overarching theory of modern slavery and systematically applies the concept of wicked problems and wickedness theory to modern slavery. Drawing on an IB policy double helix framework, the paper addresses the governance nexus between modern slavery, IB and policymaking which can in turn advance IB policy research and theory.