Emergent practices of reform-oriented shareholder engagement are characterised as a professional social movement which gains credibility by influencing the institutional networks imbricating investors. The limitations of structuralist and atomistic tendencies in social movement analysis are resolved with an inductive, dialectical approach which is used to illustrate two cases of internal attempts to change investment policy at pension funds. Linkages are identified between organizational responses to pressure for change, and mobilization strategies of embedded proponents of change. The paper urges the involvement of governing boards in vehicles that promulgate reformist engagement, and identifies institutional networks as warranting greater regulatory attention.
Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 2009, Vol 20, Issue 3, p. 319-417
governance; pension funds; social movements; shareholder engagement; financial services regulation