In a recent contribution to this journal, Arjalie`s (J Bus Ethics 92:57–78, 2010) suggests that the emergence of socially responsible investment (SRI) in France can be best described as a social movement with a collective identity that aimed to challenge the dominant logic of the financial market. Such an account is at odds with a body of empirical studies that approaches SRI in the French context as a process of market creation led by loosely coordinated actors with contradictory and conflicting interests and values, who have mainly complied with—rather than opposed—the existing dominant financial logic of the asset-management field. In this comment, we build on this prior research to contest Arjalie`s’ perspective on both theoretical and empirical grounds, with the aim of highlighting the shortcomings of conflating social movements
and other forms of collective actions in understanding the
building of new markets in organization theory and SRI
studies. We contend that in mistaking for social movement
forms of collective actions that underpin the emergence of
markets, scholars of organization theory may confuse distinct
mechanisms in their explanation of SRI emergence
across countries, overlook the complex dynamics and
interactions of markets and social movements, and, most
importantly, fail to evaluate the real political significance
of SRI as an empirical phenomenon. We propose that
future research on SRI distinguishes carefully ‘‘social movement research as a theoretical framework’’ from
‘‘social movement as an empirical phenomenon’’ in order
to avoid such drawbacks while benefiting from recent
advances in social-movement research.
DÉJEAN, F., GIAMPORCARO, S., GOND, J.P., LECA, B. et PENALVA-ICHER, E. (2013). Mistaking an Emerging Market for a Social Movement? A Comment on Arjalie`s’ Social-Movement Perspective on Socially Responsible Investment in France. Journal of Business Ethics, 112(2), pp. 205-212.