City Research Online

Activists as moral entrepreneurs: How shareholder activists brought active ownership to Switzerland

Waeger, D. & Mena, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-0364-2386 (2019). Activists as moral entrepreneurs: How shareholder activists brought active ownership to Switzerland. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, pp. 167-185. doi: 10.1108/S0733-558X20190000063017


Action from activists is at the origin of many initiatives that end up injecting moral concerns into the way companies operate. In such instances, activists function as moral entrepreneurs that lastingly change the definition of what constitutes morally acceptable corporate behavior. Yet, in order to have such a lasting effect on companies, activist efforts need to pass through multiple stages that deal with both the effective mobilization of their own constituents and the triggering of corporate responses that can induce broader change in the economy. In the present article, we study how local shareholder activists initiated and helped sustain the process that led to the establishment of active ownership in Switzerland between 1997 and 2011. Active ownership refers to the active engagement of shareholders with firms to push them towards considering environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in their decision-making. The case illustrates the processual nature of moralizing dynamics initiated by activists and emphasizes the long-term and cumulative nature of many moralization projects.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Activists, Moral Entrepreneurs, Shareholder Activism, Active Ownership, ESG
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
[thumbnail of Waeger & Mena, 2019, Activists as moral entrepreneurs (ACCEPTED VERSION).pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (241kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login