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London Business School, United Kingdom

Focused on the (Sustainable Development) Goals? The dynamics of collective organizational attention

Abstract

This study examines the antecedents and consequences of collective organizational attention in settings involving collective action problems. I theorize and provide evidence of how collective organizational attention emerges and the collateral benefits accruing to active members of collective initiatives when the attention of inactive members is triggered. Applying computer-aided text analysis to the Twitter data of 160 institutional investors, I find that active members of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative focused greater attention on issues relating to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Following the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, investors’ attention and investment decisions converged as inactive PRI members began to recognize the salience of these issues. Active members benefited from these actions through increased demand for their pre-existing investment holdings. These dynamics highlight how the emergence of collective organizational attention can convert inactive “free-riders” into “followers” whose market transactions benefit active participants in collective initiatives.

Biography

Kevin Chuah is a PhD candidate in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School, where he holds a studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). His research interests relate to corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.

Prior to joining London Business School, Kevin had an extensive career in the investment management industry. Most recently, he was a portfolio manager at BlackRock within the Multi-Asset Strategies group, where he focused on constructing and managing portfolios of complex hedge fund investment strategies. Kevin also previously held portfolio management roles at AHL, the quantitative investment business owned by Man Group, as well as at Colonial First State Global Asset Management.

Kevin holds a MSc in Statistics (Research) from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales where he was a UNSW Co-op Program scholar.

Kevin Chuah

Kevin Chuah