Creating Common Ground: A Communicative Action Model of Dialogue in Shareholder Engagement
Organization Science, Vol. 29, No. 6, 2018, pp 1187 - 1207
43 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2014 Last revised: 12 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 30, 2018
In explaining how activists engage corporations, social movement theory has provided a compelling account of contentious activism and tempered radicalism. The growing use of dialogue, by contrast, has not received a comparable level of attention. On the basis of a four-year qualitative study of a faith-based coalition of investors, we develop a process model of how shareholder dialogue leads to corporate change. Through repeated engagement activists leverage internal corporate political debate to achieve synthesis. Such dialogue requires raising awareness, building coalitions, and reframing. We contribute to social movement theory by extending the open polity perspective to dialogue, and by outlining how contentious tactics, tempered radicalism, and dialogue are complementary.
Keywords: Shareholder Engagement, Sociallly Responsible Investing, ESG Investing, Climate Change, Shareholder Stewardship
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