Unleashing the Power of Networks: Shareholder Activism, Sustainable Development and Corporate Environmental Policy

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Business Strategy and the Environment, 2018, 27, (6), pp. 712-727
Issue Date:
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Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment In recent years, a new trend has emerged in which shareholder activists have formed networks to empower shareholders and magnify shareholder voices. This study explores the structural patterns and effectiveness of shareholder activism networks and shows how those networks affect corporate sustainability policies. We draw upon stakeholder influence theory, stakeholder network management theory and recent studies on activism networks to examine a shareholder activism network formed around environmental issues. The study found that (1) the structure of shareholder activist networks is largely driven by organizational attributes such as organization type, organizations’ human resources, media visibility and history; and (2) activist organizations with high centralities and eigenvector centralities enjoy more efficient results. This study contributes to our understanding of the business responses to shareholder demands on improving environmental performance and paves the way for future research on sustainable development through partnerships with shareholder networks. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
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