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The Contingent Role of Conflict: Deliberative Interaction and Disagreement in Shareholder Engagement

Beunza, D. ORCID: 0000-0003-0164-7095, Beccarini, I., Ferraro, F. and Hoepner, A. (2021). The Contingent Role of Conflict: Deliberative Interaction and Disagreement in Shareholder Engagement. Business Ethics Quarterly,


How is the tension between conflict and deliberation resolved in shareholder engagement? We address this question by studying shareholder engagement as a deliberative process with three stages: establishing dialogue, solution development, and solution implementation. We theorize that two interactionist mechanisms, deliberative interaction and the voicing of disagreement, play different roles at different stages of the process. We test our hypotheses with a proprietary database of 169 environmental, social and governance (ESG) engagements with US public companies over 2007–2012. We find that while deliberative interaction does not help advance the engagement process, it positively moderates the effect of disagreement in the solution-development stage. By contrast, in the solution-implementation stage, deliberative interaction amplifies the negative effect of disagreement, thus hindering progress in the engagement. Our paper contributes to shareholder engagement, deliberation theory and interactionist organization theory by establishing that engagement effectiveness is an interactional achievement, shaped by both deliberation and disagreement.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Business Ethics Quarterly []. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only.
Publisher Keywords: shareholder engagement, responsible investing, corporate governance, deliberative democracy, symbolic interactionism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Date available in CRO: 09 Nov 2021 10:31
Date deposited: 9 November 2021
Date of acceptance: 15 October 2021
Text - Accepted Version
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