Omnes Pro Uno! Investors' Collaboration Networks to Influence Responsible Corporate Management
The main purpose of this dissertation research is to understand the collaborative interactions among actors engaging in change efforts in the existing institutional arrangements. Specifically, this dissertation research sheds light on the collaboration networks of social investors who desire both their own financial benefits and stakeholder welfare, by filing shareholder resolutions to bring environmental or stakeholder concerns to the attention of corporate managers. My research strategy in this dissertation is to propose and write a theoretical study and two empirical studies. I propose in chapter 2 a conceptual and theoretical framework for inquiring into social investors' collaboration strategies to develop the field of shareholder resolutions on social issues. The key argument is researchers pay attention to focal actors, multiple actors, and the relationships among them to understand the social mechanisms which integrate active shareholders with the field of social resolutions. In order to determine social investors' strategies to initiate and mobilize their filing activities, based on the social movement perspectives and a social network approach, I propose four conceptual dimensions from the social movement perspectives: identity, social relationships, target identification, and issue framing. In two empirical studies, I test my propositions by analyzing 1650 shareholder resolutions filed by 267 social investors from 2002 to 2007. The first study presented in chapter 4 addresses who initiate social resolution filings, by examining determinants of social investors' proactive initiating activities. When religious investors have brokerage positions, their initiating activity of filing social resolutions are very proactive. However, social investors' range of stock ownership does not go along with their brokerage positions. These findings imply that leading social investors need to have brokerage positions when they have faith-based identity, but that they don't need social resources when they have enough financial resources, a wide range of stocks. The second study presented in chapter 5 explains how leading social investors attract to mobilize their potential followers. Interestingly, the reciprocation hypothesis, "give and take of co-filing support," is negatively supported, indicating a division of labor in the field of social resolutions. In addition, lead-filing social investors who successfully attract and mobilize other investors aim at target companies that are well known among other social investors, and frame issues in wide angles in their social resolutions. These empirical studies demonstrate that active social investors developed their collaboration networks dependent upon their faith-based identity, social relations, targets identification and issue framing strategies. In this dissertation, I assert the necessity and importance of studies on the activities of shareholders by demonstrating that some active investors have strategically led the socially responsible investment movement. This dissertation provides counter-evidence to the conventional assumption that corporate managers should ignore stakeholder welfare if they pursue shareholder value. It also demonstrates that the network-based movements can be a good platform for social change agents to develop their own fields. Strategically, as they interact with each other, small and weak actors can build their own field to collectively influence corporate management. In this sense, the network-based movements underscore the way the infrastructure of a field emerges.