Civil Society Active in Corporate Accountability Dataset

Published: 8 January 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/pfp7zmxcyx.1
Henry Rammelt


The present dataset is the first one to provide detailed information on civil society organizations engaged in an emerging field of civil society activity and of scholarship: corporate accountability. The rationale behind generating this dataset lies on the fact that there was little data driven information on the activities of (global) civil society in holding corporations accountable. Available data focused, so far, on the big Western-based NGOs and was mainly oriented toward case studies. As such, the dataset is the first source providing quantitative data on the pluriverse of organizations active in the field of corporate accountability. It includes 42 variables, grouped into six categories. The data covers both structural/organizational information (such as organizational features, number of employees, etc.) and information pertaining to the more subjective dimensions of activities (such as aims, values, and blame attribution), and allows for systematic and cross-national analyses. Further, if provides detailed information on the activities and repertoires carried out and employed by organizations. The classifications are based on common practices in the use of AOE and PEA. It also includes a wide range of network variables (e.g. partner organizations) and information on funding (sources of funding, annual budget, etc.). It can, therefore, be used for a variety of analysis, including but not limited to studying the interaction between funding and activities, location and political leaning, repertoires of action and values, etc. The coding was based on information provided on the organizations’ websites (e.g., “What we do” sections) and in annual reports. Both current and past activities (if mentioned) were coded. The data was gathered between December 2022 and April 2023. So far, the dataset has been used to study the effect of donor dependency on civil society. We found that official funding impedes contentious repertoires and severely negatively impacts on the willingness of organizations to aim for a reform of the economic system.


Steps to reproduce

Data collection followed an action organization analysis approach (Kousis, et al., 2018). Action organization analysis (AOE) has successfully been employed for data collection in multiple European projects (TransSOL, LIVEWHAT, EURYKA), and is an adaption of protest event analysis, that responds to the growing importance of the online sphere for civil society and allows for the mapping, sampling, and coding of organizational data available on the websites of targeted organizations (Ibid., p. 745). AOE relies on hub-websites identified by national teams. This database was generated using a slightly adapted version of AOE. Here, inspired by data collection methods suitable for network analysis (Jones, 2020; Hughes et al., 2018; Zajak et al., 2018), we identified hub-websites through the Global Civil Society Database. Using the search routine “corporate accountability” and “corporate justice,” four hub-websites (and hub-organizations) were identified. Subsequently, 195 links to partner organizations were extracted from these hub-websites. In the third step, the “about” sections of these partner websites were scanned for references to corporate accountability and corporate justice. In the fourth step, links to partner websites from the websites that contained references to these terms were extracted, resulting in an additional 677 identified partners. In so doing, a global universe of formal and informal organization active in the field of CA was identified. The unit of analysis is then organizations and groups (both formal and informal) themselves. Link extraction resulted in a sample of 876 websites that allowed for the mapping and systematic analysis of comparable cross-national data of a variety of types of organizations. Through this data collection procedure, methodological biases based on the analysis of existing media content (such as Protest Event Analysis or Political Claims Analysis) could be limited by targeting the source rather than the representation. Consequently, the dataset is composed of an unmediated population of organizations that are both influential in the public discourse and informal, marginal, or grassroots groups. The only limitation is that the data are limited to organizations that have an online presence and are discoverable. Multiple pre-tests were performed and resulted in both changes in the codebook and an adapted sampling method. In the final step, a cleaned and random sample of organizational websites was drawn. In total, 290 websites were coded. Data was collected between October 2022 and March 2023 and, as such, provides a snapshot of the publicly available data at that moment.


Scoala Nationala de Studii Politice si Administrative


Civil Society, Comparative Politics, Political Participation, Transnationalism, Advocacy, Corporate Crime


European Research Council