Mellem forretning og samfundsansvar: En analyse af regeringens CSR-strategi

Louise Larsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


On December 2008 The Danish Parliament adopted the proposed ”Act amending the Danish Financial Statements Act (Accounting for CSR in large business)” and thereby made it statutory for large businesses to account for their work on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in their annual reports. The Act is a part of the Government’s action plan for CSR and aims at inspiring Danish corporations to take an active position on CSR. Interestingly, it seems to revolve around a paradox as the Government defines CSR as a voluntary concept. But on closer inspection it does not appear meaningless in relation to the Government’s attempt to disseminate CSR among Danish companies. The present thesis explores the Government’s CSRstrategy as a hybrid strategy that seeks to encourage and motivate businesses to engage in CSR activities through various initiatives and sub-strategies. Through legal, governmental, cosmopolitical and affective power strategies the Government seeks to conduct the corporations’ conduct of themselves by increasing their reflexive abilities in relation to CSR. This thesis argues that the complex combination of power techniques creates opportunities of creating the corporations as productive entities that are motivated partly by their own self-interest and profit motives and partly by moral incentives. Also, the CSR-strategy makes use of affective techniques as a mean to create a precommunicative platform and openness towards the CSR-agenda. But at the same time the various strategies also create some challenges separately and in relation to each other. The Government’s use of different power techniques imply a dilemma between the quantitative and qualitative efficiency in the conduct of the corporations’ CSR-work: on the one hand the aim is to reach as many corporations as possible and on the other hand the CSR-strategi aims at conducting the CSR-activities in a specific way. Most importantly, the various strategies suggest different and contradictory approaches to CSR, and the CSR-strategy does not explicitly provide guidelines for the companies on how to prioritize and manoeuvre between these approaches. Thus, this thesis argues that the lack of coherence between the strategies implies a challenge for the overall success of the CSR-strategy, which can lead to confusion among the corporations in relation to their CSR-work. Moreover, the overall CSR-strategy risks suffering from a lack of credibility as a consequence of the Government’s inconsistent communication in relation to CSR.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages97