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Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
In today’s global and integrated economy, the long-term value and success of a company are inevitably linked to its environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) performance. The relevant corporate policies and ensuing practices are frequently summarized under the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Economist (2008) acknowledges “with regret” that “CSR has arrived”. A survey conducted by Oppenheim and colleagues (2007) further proves that social and environmental issues have climbed to the top of the socio-political agenda of senior executives around the globe. Today’s “climate of heightened scrutiny toward corporate behaviour” (Basu and Palazzo, 2008, p. 122) has pressured corporations no longer to ignore their responsibility to protect the communities and the environment in which they operate (Sparkes, 2002; Waddock, 2000). The current financial crisis and the widespread lack of trust in the private sector added further momentum to this quest for social legitimacy. Hence, by engaging in CSR initiatives, such as reducing carbon gas emissions, fighting against child labour, or establishing a clear governance structure, corporations are trying to fulfil societal demands, and, at the same time, legitimize their business operations (Gilbert and Rasche, 2007).
Elisa M. Zarbafi

2. Responsible Investment and the Claim of Corporate Change

Abstract
As mentioned in the introduction, responsible investment is a widely discussed link between the stock market and CSR (Scholtens, 2006). It provides the mechanisms through which public shareholders can exert influence on corporate behaviour and is thus the focus of our study. We start this chapter by providing the reader with some terms and definitions relevant for the study of responsible investment, and giving insight into the history and the key actors involved. We proceed by identifying four different approaches of how to practice responsible investment, before we then clarify the link to CSR.
Elisa M. Zarbafi

3. Towards a Process Model of Responsible Investment

Abstract
After the description of responsible investment, its various manifestations and its link to CSR in chapter two, this chapter looks at how responsible investment as a driver for CSR may be theoretically conceptualized. In general, the practice of responsible investment involves two parties: the institutional investor and the corporation, represented by the corporate management. Thus, to understand and analyze the impact of institutional investors on the social responsibility of the corporations in which they invest, it is essential to look at how they relate (Martin et al., 2007). We will start this chapter by reviewing how previous authors have commented on the relations between investors and managers in general, before we then outline the limitations of this way of research for the study of responsible investment. Based on these insights and those from sensemaking studies (Weick, 1995a, 1979) as underlying theory we will then derive new ideas on how to conceptualize responsible investment as a driver of CSR. This chapter closes with a theoretical framework that will guide us through our subsequent analysis.
Elisa M. Zarbafi

4. Making Sense of Responsible Investment as A Driver of Corporate Social Responsibility

Abstract
Sensemaking is about relating. It is about finding the connections between verbs and nouns, between cues and frames, between beliefs and actions. The fundamental concern of sensemaking is the process by which meaning is created (Weick 1995a, 1979). The focus of this chapter is thus an analysis of (1) enactment processes through which institutional investors and corporations construct their sense of responsibility, (2) interaction processes through which they may influence each other, and (3) intervention processes through which one party may change the process of organizing responsibility of another party such as through issue-selling (Dutton and Ashford, 1993) and impression management (Goffman, 1959). With our approach we follow Weick’s (1995a) reminder that it should not belong to a researcher’s tasks to list the various ideologies an organization may have but to find out how “people select from the vast pool of ideological substance that smaller portion that matters” (p. 112).
Elisa M. Zarbafi

5. Implications for Practitioners and Researchers

Abstract
After having elaborated on the claim of corporate change as resulting from a set of various sensemaking processes this chapter summarizes how our understanding of the claim of corporate change, with its different stance toward what is meaningful may enrich and extend the theory and practice of responsible investment. Our distinct objective is thereby to encourage institutional investors and scholars in the field of responsible investment to question their underlying, and often taken-for-granted assumptions which dominate their activities and to focus their attention on novel aspects that may have been overlooked so far.
Elisa M. Zarbafi

6. Concluding Remarks

Abstract
We conclude this thesis with some final reflections on how the Weickian sensemaking perspective has informed our course of investigation. We will thereby first outline how the sensemaking perspective has controlled our research. Second, we will show how it has animated our research thereby pointing to some of our major findings.
Elisa M. Zarbafi

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