Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 92, Supplement 1, pp 41–56 | Cite as

Different Markets for Different Folks: Exploring the Challenges of Mainstreaming Responsible Investment Practices

  • Kenneth Amaeshi


The link between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and financial performance has continued to generate mixed and inconclusive results. Most studies in this area seem to assume that corporate social and financial performance share the same underpinning logic. Drawing from a qualitative analysis of practitioners’ accounts of the challenges of mainstreaming the market for responsible investments, as part of the broader CSR agenda, this article re-examines this taken-for-granted assumption in the extant literature, and reaches the conclusion that CSR, as a complex private governance of externalities, does not easily lend itself to measurability and profitability. In other words, not everything about CSR is measurable and profitable as much as the financial markets would expect. Comparing what is rendered measurable and profitable, on one hand, and what is yet to fully lend itself to measurability and profitability, on the other, is identified as one of the fundamental flaws of this literature. As such, CSR and financial performance will continue to run on competing logics until their different markets are distinctively articulated and/or aligned.


markets for responsible investments corporate financial performance Social Studies of Finance competing market logics 



Corporate Social Responsibility


Corporate social performance


Environmental, Social and Governance


Key Performance Indicator


Socially Responsible Investment


Social Studies of Finance


Socio-technical studies


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adler, M. and E. Ziglio: 1996, Gazing into the Oracle: The Delphi Method and Its Implications for Social Policy and Public Health (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London).Google Scholar
  2. Aguilera, R. V., Williams, C.A., Conley, J. M. and Rupp, D. E. 2006. Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility: a comparative analysis of the UK and the US, Corporate Governance: An International Review 14 (3), 147–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amable, B. 2003. The diversity of modern capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amaeshi, K.: 2008. ‘Exploring the Institutional Embeddedness of Corporate Stakeholding and Social Responsibility: A Comparative Political Economy Perspective’, Unpublished PhD Thesis, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick.Google Scholar
  5. Amaeshi, K., and Adi, B. C. 2007. Reconstructing Corporate Social Responsibility Construct in Utilish, Business Ethics European Review 16(1), 3-18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Amaeshi, K. and Amao, O. 2009. Corporate Social Responsibility in Transnational Spaces: Exploring the influences of varieties of capitalism on expressions of corporate codes of conduct in Nigeria, Journal of Business Ethics, 86(2):225-239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Araujo, L. 2007. Markets, market-making and marketing. Marketing Theory, 7(3):211-226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baron, D. P. 2009. A Positive Theory of Moral Management, Social Pressure, and Corporate Social Performance. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 18(1):7-43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baumol, W.,1967. Business Behavior, Value and Growth. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Beckert, J., 2009. The social order of markets. Theory and Society, 2009, 38(3):245-269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Beunza, D. and Stark, D. 2003. The Organization of Responsiveness: Innovation and Recovery in the Trading Rooms of Lower Manhattan. Socio-Economic Review, 1(2):135-164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Beunza, D. and Stark, D. 2004. Tools of the Trade: The Socio-Technology of Arbitrage in a Wall Street Trading Room. Industrial and Corporate Change, 13(1):369-401.Google Scholar
  13. Birkinshaw, J., Hamel, G., Mol, M.J. 2008. Management innovation. Academy of Management Review, 33(4):825–45.Google Scholar
  14. Callon, M. 2009. Civilizing markets: Carbon trading between in vitro and in vivo experiments Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34(3-4):535-548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Callon M, Muniesa F, 2005. Economic Markets as Calculative Collective Devices, Organization Studies, 26(8):1229-1250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Campbell, J. L.: 2007, ‘Why Would Corporations Behave in Socially Responsible Ways? An Institutional Theory of Corporate Social Responsibility’, Academy of Management Review 32(3), 946–967.Google Scholar
  17. Crouch, C, (2005). Capitalist Diversity and Change: Recombinant Governance and Institutional Entrepreneurs, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Crouch, C.: 2006, `Modelling the Firm in Its Market and Organizational Environment: Methodologies for Studying Corporate Social Responsibility', Organization Studies, 27, 1533–1551.Google Scholar
  19. Dejean, F., Gond, J-P, and Leca, B. 2004. Measuring the unmeasured: an institutional entrepreneur strategy in an emerging industry. Human Relations, 57(6):741-764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dore, R. 2000. Stock Market Capitalism: Welfare Capitalism, Japan and Germany versus the Anglo-Saxons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Eurosif: 2005, Eurosif SRI Study.Google Scholar
  22. FairPension: 2008, Investor Responsibility? UK Fund Managers' Performance and Accountability on ‘Extra-Financial’ Risks Report (London).Google Scholar
  23. Fiss, P. C. and Zajac. E. J. 2004. The Diffusion of Ideas over Contested Terrain: The (Non)adoption of a Shareholder Value Orientation among German Firms. Administrative Science Quarterly, 49: 501-534.Google Scholar
  24. Fligstein, N.1996. “Markets as Politics: A Political-Cultural Approach to Market Institutions”. American Sociological Review, 61:656–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fligstein, N. and Dauter, L. 2007. The sociology of markets. Annual Review of Sociology, 33(1):105-128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Friedland, R. and R. R. Alford: 1991, ‘Bringing Society Back in: Symbols, Practices, and Institutional Contradictions’, in W. W. Powell and P. DiMaggio (eds.), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).Google Scholar
  27. Gjølberg, M. 2009. The origin of corporate social responsibility: global forces or national legacies? Socio-Economic Review, 7(4):605-637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gond, J-P, and Igalens, J. 2005. Measuring corporate social performance in France: a critical and empirical analysis of ARESE data. Journal of Business Ethics, 56:131-148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Granovetter, M. 1985. Economic action and social structure: A theory of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91(3):481-510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hall, P. A. and Soskice, D.(Eds). 2001. Varieties of CapitalismThe Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Hancke, B., M. Rhodes and M. Thatcher: 2007, ‘Introduction: Beyond Varieties of Capitalism’, in B. Hancke, M. Rhodes and M. Thatcher (eds.), Beyond Varieties of Capitalism: Conflict, Contradictions, and Complementarities in the European Economy (Oxford University Press, Oxford).Google Scholar
  32. Helmer, O.: 1977, ‘Problems in Futures Research: Delphi and Causal Cross-Impact Analysis’, Futures 9, 17–31.Google Scholar
  33. Hull, C. E. and Rothenberg, s. 2008. Firm performance: the interactions of corporate social performance with innovation and industry differentiation. Strategic Management Journal, 29(7):781-789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kang, N. J. and J. Moon: 2009, ‘Conceptualising National Variations and Change in CSR: An Exploration of the State-Led Model’, Paper presented at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 2009 Conference on “Capitalism in Crisis”, Sciences Po, Paris.Google Scholar
  35. Karnoe, P.: 2004, ‘The Dynamics of Framing in Transactional Spaces: The Co-Creation of Worth, Calculative Devices and Calculative Agencies in the Danish Wind Power Market’, Copenhagen Business School Working Paper No 2004.18, Accessed 15 Dec 2005.
  36. Kjellberg, H. and Helgesson, C. 2006. Multiple versions of markets: Multiplicity and performativity in market practice. Industrial Marketing Management, 35(7):839-855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kramer, 1975; cited in Birkinshaw, J., G. Hamel, M. J. Mol: 2008, ‘Management Innovation’, Academy of Management Review 33(4), 825–845.Google Scholar
  38. Loasby, B. J. 1999. Knowledge, Institutions and Evolution in Economics. London, Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lohmann, L. 2005. Marketing and making carbon dumps: Commodification, calculation and counterfactuals in climate change mitigation, Science as Culture 14:203–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. MacKenzie, D. and Millo, Y. 2003. Constructing a Market, Performing Theory: The Historical Sociology of a Financial Derivatives Exchange. American Journal of Sociology, 109(1):107-145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mackey, A., Mackey, T. B., and Barney, J. B. 2007. Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Performance: Investor Preferences and Corporate Strategies. Academy of Management Review, 32(3):817-835.Google Scholar
  42. Margolis, J., H. Elfenbein and A. Walsh: 2007, ‘Does It Pay to be Good? A Meta-Analysis and Redirection of Research on Corporate Social and Financial Performance’, Presented at Annual Conference of the Academy of Management, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  43. Matten, D. and J. Moon: 2008, ‘“Implicit” and “Explicit” CSR: A Conceptual Framework for a Comparative Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility’, Academy of Management Review 33(2), 404–424.Google Scholar
  44. McKinsey Global Institute: 2007, ‘Mapping the Global Capital Market Third Annual Report’, Accessed 11 Aug 2008.
  45. Mollering, G., 2006. Trust: Reason, Routine, Reflexivity. Elsevier: London.Google Scholar
  46. Muniesa, F., and Callon, M. 2008. Economic Experiments and the Construction of Markets. In: Do Economists Make Markets? On the performativity of Economics (Eds. D. MacKenzie, F. Muniesa, and L. Siu), Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  47. North, D. C. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  48. Orlitzky, M., Schmidt, F. L., Rynes, S. L. 2003. Corporate Social and Financial Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Organization Studies, 24:403-441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Phillips, N., Lawrence, T. B., and Hardy, C. 2004. Discourse and institutions. Academy of Management Review, 29:635-652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Richardson, B. J. 2009. Keeping ethical investment ethical: regulatory issues for investing for sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics, 87:555-572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Robeco Investment Management and Booz & Company: 2007, ‘Responsible Investing: A Paradigm Shift – from Niche to Mainstream’,
  52. Simakova, E. and Neyland, D. 2008. Marketing mobile futures: assembling constituencies and creating compelling stories for an emerging technology, Marketing Theory, 8(1):91-116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Taylor, J. R., Cooren, F., Giroux, N., and Robichaud, D.1996. The communicational basis of organization: between the conversation and the text. Communication Theory, 6:1-39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Williamson, O.: 1996, The Mechanisms of Governance (Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford).Google Scholar

List of Reports Referenced in the Paper

  1. Arthur D. Little Consulting: 2003, Speaking the Same LanguageImproving Communications Between Companies and Investors on Corporate Responsibility.Google Scholar
  2. Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: 2007, The Use of Non-Financial Information: What Do Retail Investors Want?Google Scholar
  3. Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: 2008, Corporate Reporting of Social, Environmental, and Governance Information: What Investors Want? Google Scholar
  4. BSR: 2008, Environmental, Social and Governance: Moving to Mainstream Investing? Google Scholar
  5. Business in the Environment: 2003, Investing in the Future.Google Scholar
  6. EFFAS: 2008, KPIs Reports.Google Scholar
  7. EIRIS: 2006, Valuing ESG IssuesA Survey of Investors.Google Scholar
  8. Ernst and Young: 2007, Financial Reporting: KPMG’s Survey of Leading Investors.Google Scholar
  9. Goldman Sachs: 2007 GS Sustain. Google Scholar
  10. Sustainability Research: 2008, Research Network for Business Sustainability.Google Scholar
  11. UNEPFI: 2004, The Materiality of Social, Environmental and Corporate Governance Issues to Equity Pricing.Google Scholar
  12. WestLB: 2007, What Really CountsThe Materiality of Extra-Financial Factors.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Edinburgh Business SchoolEdinburghU.K.

Personalised recommendations