IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Unpacking cyber norms: private companies as norm entrepreneurs


  • Louise Marie Hurel
  • Luisa Cruz Lobato


Concerns over practices in cyberspace are central to the consolidating international agenda for cybersecurity. Responses to such concerns come in different shapes and sizes, and are proposed by different actors. Whether it concerns intellectual property rights, the theft of trade secrets, collection of personal data, critical infrastructure protection, DNS security, or geopolitical issues, the rise of cybersecurity as a multifaceted global issue has led to the proliferation of governance mechanisms aimed at responding thereto. While state efforts have sought to promote norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, we argue that technology companies are also taking the lead as norm entrepreneurs in the context of the stability and security of cyberspace. We explore the tensions between current literature on cyber norms and the role of private actors as potential norm entrepreneurs in global cybersecurity. In an attempt to determine the position of private actors in this field, we turn to practices such as corporate diplomacy and lobbying as avenues for highlighting the methods in which corporations engage in international policymaking in general, and cyber norms in particular. We look at Microsoft’s case to unpack the company’s role in the normative development of cybersecurity globally. We analyse documents containing the company’s policies and strategies, and argue that these efforts consist of an attempt to influence global public policies on cybersecurity. In conclusion, we note that, notwithstanding these efforts, the lack of coordination between different aspects of norm-making processes illustrates the challenges facing the advancement of international cyber norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Louise Marie Hurel & Luisa Cruz Lobato, 2018. "Unpacking cyber norms: private companies as norm entrepreneurs," Journal of Cyber Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 61-76, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rcybxx:v:3:y:2018:i:1:p:61-76
    DOI: 10.1080/23738871.2018.1467942

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Radu, Roxana & Kettemann, Matthias C. & Meyer, Trisha & Shahin, Jamal, 2021. "Normfare: Norm entrepreneurship in internet governance," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6).
    2. Daniel W. Woods & Jessica Weinkle, 2020. "Insurance definitions of cyber war," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 45(4), pages 639-656, October.
    3. Nanni, Riccardo, 2021. "The ‘China’ question in mobile Internet standard-making: Insights from expert interviews," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6).
    4. Levinson, Nanette S., 2021. "Idea entrepreneurs: The United Nations Open-Ended Working Group & cybersecurity," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6).
    5. Kerstin Awiszus & Yannick Bell & Jan Luttringhaus & Gregor Svindland & Alexander Vo{ss} & Stefan Weber, 2022. "Building Resilience in Cybersecurity -- An Artificial Lab Approach," Papers 2211.04762,

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:rcybxx:v:3:y:2018:i:1:p:61-76. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Chris Longhurst (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.