Shareholders have always been fundamental to an understanding of the corporation. The same is true today. However, the assumptions that the firm should be run to meet only the demands of shareholders, and that those shareholders are concerned only about the maximization of financial returns, are problematic in light of the multitude of demands placed on corporations by both shareholders and other stakeholders. At a time when issues such as climate change and the widening gap between rich and poor have become pressing societal concerns, the role of business, its purposes and its practices have been challenged in the public, private, and academic spheres. Responsible investment, diverse investor types, multi-stakeholder initiatives, communities, activist campaigns, and a variety of other stakeholders have resulted in multiple and diverse demands on the company which go well beyond financial interests. This thesis takes the perspective of one such challenge to the fundamental assumptions about the nature of the firm: shareholders who actively engage with corporate management on issues of social, environmental, and ethical concern such as human rights or environmental degradation. This `social shareholder engagement¿, an increasingly relevant phenomenon in practice and research, is explored here both empirically and conceptually. I provide a new perspective on social shareholder engagement, which identifies the political and ethical nature of these actions. In this way I engage with and contribute to the corporate governance, responsible investment, social activism and business ethics literatures and open a number of future avenues for research.

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Goodman, Jennifer

Social shareholder engagement: How shareholders bring social, environmental and ethical concerns to the heart of management

06/2015
itemDefault Shareholders have always been fundamental to an understanding of the corporation. The same is true today. However, the assumptions that the firm should be run to meet only the demands of shareholders, and that those shareholders are concerned only about the maximization of financial returns, are problematic in light of the multitude of demands placed on corporations by both shareholders and other stakeholders. At a time when issues such as climate change and the widening gap between rich and poor have become pressing societal concerns, the role of business, its purposes and its practices have been challenged in the public, private, and academic spheres. Responsible investment, diverse investor types, multi-stakeholder initiatives, communities, activist campaigns, and a variety of other stakeholders have resulted in multiple and diverse demands on the company which go well beyond financial interests. This thesis takes the perspective of one such challenge to the fundamental assumptions about the nature of the firm: shareholders who actively engage with corporate management on issues of social, environmental, and ethical concern such as human rights or environmental degradation. This `social shareholder engagement¿, an increasingly relevant phenomenon in practice and research, is explored here both empirically and conceptually. I provide a new perspective on social shareholder engagement, which identifies the political and ethical nature of these actions. In this way I engage with and contribute to the corporate governance, responsible investment, social activism and business ethics literatures and open a number of future avenues for research.
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Social shareholder engagement: How shareholders bring social, environmental and ethical concerns to the heart of management
Goodman, Jennifer
ESADE. Instituto de Innovación Social

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