Institutional Change in the Making - The Case of Socially Responsible Investment


Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change

2012, vol. 8, n°3

Departments: Accounting & Management Control

Keywords: Asset Management, Epistemic Object, Equity Investment, Fixed-Income Investment, France, Institutional Change, Mainstreaming, Practices, Social Movement, Socially Responsible Investment (SRI)

This dissertation explores the mechanisms of institutional change in practice. The institutional change under study relates to the progressive penetration of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) criteria into conventional investment funds, a phenomenon which appeared during the 2000s, known as SRI Mainstreaming. The dissertation aims to explain why SRI Mainstreaming has expanded into France and to identify its impacts on the practices of the French asset management sector. It mobilizes a three-year (2006-2009) longitudinal case study of a French asset management company, conducted as an SRI analyst. Research methods rely on the pragmatist concept of inquiry and combine participative observation, semi-structured interviews and documentary evidence. The dissertation comprises three articles that should be considered together. They explore 1) the origins of the SRI Mainstreaming phenomenon, 2) how asset management companies have transformed their practices in response to SRI Mainstreaming and 3) why practices have been transformed in a different way in fixed-income investment, compared to equity investment, respectively.