Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 22, 2011

Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Annual Meeting

Christel Dumas, Céline Louche
Pages 234-245

Mimetic Proceses in Responsible Investment Mainstreaming

In this paper, we compare and contrast institutional theory and convention theory on the concept of mimetism, suggesting how they can cross-pollinate each other and more specifically how the self-referential quality of collective beliefs improves the understanding of mimetic isomorphism. We test this proposition with the case of responsible investment’s mainstreaming. First level results decompose the history of RI into five successive periods. A content analysis of articles on RI in the financial press leads to second level results consisting in a number of salient representations of RI, which we consider to be the dominant conventions. The data is structured using a bracketing strategy, which allows a longitudinal analysis of conventions and their evolution over the five RI periods.