Employment relations as a field of research has historically drawn on market and institutional factors to explain much of its observed phenomena. Independent variables such as the state and dynamics of product and labour markets along with regulatory regimes have typically featured in explanations of the development and substance of the rules of the employment relationship. More recently, a stream of literature has begun to consider how corporate governance (defined broadly as the financing and control of corporations) might impact upon employment relations. This emerging corporate governance and employment relations literature raises many novel, interesting and as yet unexplored issues. The research reported in this chapter investigated whether Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) influences employment relations practices. 'Influence' has been construed imprecisely as we leave open the possibility that SRI may have an influence on firm level and, more indirectly, national employment relations. We outline the size of SRI funds globally and review different explanations for SRI development across various developed economies. We then discuss the link between SRI and employment relations. Next the research methodology is explained, and then the data are presented and discussed. From the results we conclude that for SRI to be more effective in delivering social returns to its investors, reform is required.
Varieties of Capitalism, Corporate Governance and Employees p. 221-244