Socially Responsible Investment

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  • Topic: Socially responsible investing, Social responsibility, Institutional theory
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Ph.D. Dissertation submitted to obtain the diploma of

PHILOSOPHIÆ DOCTOR (PH.D.) IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION FROM ESSEC BUSINESS SCHOOL and DOCTEUR EN SCIENCES DE GESTION tel-00497342, version 2 - 8 Jul 2011 DE L’UNIVERSITÉ PARIS OUEST NANTERRE LA DÉFENSE

Presented and defended publicly the 28th of June 2010 by

Diane-Laure ARJALIÈS-DE LA LANDE DE VALLIÈRE
Title of the dissertation:

INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE IN THE MAKING THE CASE OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

JURY Nicolas BERLAND Patricia CRIFO Philippe LORINO Nicolas MOTTIS Anne PEZET Robert W. SCAPENS Supervisor Supervisor Referee Referee Professor, Université Paris Dauphine (Paris, France) Professor, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (Nanterre, France) Professor, ESSEC Business School (Cergy, France) Professor, ESSEC Business School (Cergy, France) Professor, Université Paris Dauphine (Paris, France) Professor, Manchester Business School (Manchester, United Kingdom)

tel-00497342, version 2 - 8 Jul 2011

tel-00497342, version 2 - 8 Jul 2011

INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE IN THE MAKING THE CASE OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

Diane-Laure Arjaliès-de la Lande de Vallière

tel-00497342, version 2 - 8 Jul 2011

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT

INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE IN THE MAKING THE CASE OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT This dissertation explores the mechanisms of institutional change in practice. The institutional change under study relates to the progressive penetration of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) criteria into conventional investment funds, a phenomenon which appeared during the 2000s, known as SRI Mainstreaming. The dissertation aims to explain why SRI Mainstreaming has expanded into France and to identify its impacts on the practices of the French asset management sector. It mobilizes a three-year (2006-2009) longitudinal case study of a French asset management company, conducted as an SRI analyst. Research tel-00497342, version 2 - 8 Jul 2011 methods rely on the pragmatist concept of inquiry and combine participative observation, semi-structured interviews and documentary evidence. The dissertation comprises three articles that should be considered together. The first article offers a sociological chronology of the French SRI movement by tracing the different phases of its development. In demonstrating that the French SRI Movement presents great similarities with a social movement, the article argues that SRI actors collectively and deliberately got organized for SRI Mainstreaming institutional change to occur. The second article studies how an asset management company transformed its equity investment practices in response to SRI Mainstreaming. It argues that the practices, institutional logics and technical objects of company members were co-transformed, through a collective inquiry. In particular, the article demonstrates that SRI Mainstreaming triggered change in practices through the transformation of a technical object (i.e. an object which embodies the knowledge available at a given moment in time) – the representation of an investment process – into an epistemic object (i.e. an object under research). The third article explains why the transformation of practices in response to SRI Mainstreaming differed between equity and fixed-income investment. For this purpose, it compares two working groups inside the same asset management company that attempted to (re)design equity and fixed-income investment processes, respectively. The article argues that variation in practices faced with institutional change is explained as much by institutional logics, as by technical objects and contingent elements. Namely, the lack of relevant SRI criteria and the contradictions between SRI and

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INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE IN THE MAKING – THE CASE OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

fixed-income logics explain why fixed-income investment faced more difficulties than equity investment in transforming its practices. The contributions of the...
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