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Research on sustainable investing wins French best paper award

Dr Emilio Marti from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has received the best paper award from the French Sustainable Investment Forum (FIR) and the Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI). The awarded paper is joint work with Professor Jean-Pascal Gond from Cass Business School, and was published in the Academy of Management Review in July 2018. The award ceremony took place on 4 October in Paris.



In their paper, Dr Marti and Prof. Gond take a new look at the theories that investors and other practitioners use. Prior research has shown that theories sometimes do not just describe social reality but shape it—a phenomenon known as ‘performativity’. Yet, existing research is biased in that it only analysed cases in which theories have shaped social reality. This means little is known about the boundary conditions of performativity.

Self-fulfilling theories

Dr Marti and Prof. Gond developed a theoretical model that explains under which conditions theories will become ‘performative’ or even self-fulfilling. As an illustration, the researchers focus on the case of investors who start investing based on theories that postulate a positive link between corporate social performance and corporate financial performance. Dr Marti and Prof. Gond show that a new theory will only become self-fulfilling if feedback loops emerge. Feedback loops, in turn, depend on practitioners who experiment with the new theories, detect anomalies around the use of theories, and shift their practices.

Practical relevance

The FIR-PRI award fosters academic research on finance and sustainability. The jury of the award included both leading researchers in the field of sustainable finance and practitioners of sustainable finance. In her speech, the president of the jury, Prof. Stéphanie Giamporcaro, noted that for the 2018 edition of the award, they had received a record number of submissions from the top finance journal and top management journals, which – according to Prof. Giamporcaro – shows that research on sustainable finance is becoming increasingly established within finance and management research. Among the 20 submitted papers, the jury chose the paper by Dr Marti and Prof. Gond for both its academic rigor and practical relevance. The awardees receives € 5,000.

This is the second time that this paper has received a best paper award. Earlier this year, Dr Marti and Prof. Gond won the best paper award of the German Academic Association for Business Research (Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft) for the same paper.

Dr Emilio Marti

Dr Emilio Marti is an assistant professor in the Business-Society Management Department at Rotterdam School of Management (RSM). He joined the faculty in 2018 after post-doctoral positions at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and the Cass Business School, City, University of London. He completed his PhD at the University of Zürich in 2015.

As an organisation theorist, Dr Marti’s research focuses on corporate social responsibility and the philosophy of science of organisation theory. In his empirical work, Dr Marti primarily uses qualitative research methods such as interviews, content analysis and participant observation. His work has been published in the Academy of Management Review and the Journal of Management Studies.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at mschouten@rsm.nl.

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