Det flydende samfundsansvar: Hvem skal lede Danmark i den grønne omstilling? Hvordan private virksomheders samfundsansvar åbner nye mulighedsbetingelser for styring

Anders Nyberg Olesen & Dennis Østergaard Madsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper is a constructivism-based study where we examine the societal responsibility of private businesses concerning climate and sustainability. Firstly, we study the case of Grundfos using a luhmannian system analysis, where we examine how Grundfos have constructed themself as societal responsible in the period from 2002 to 2020. Here we find, that Grundfos’ communication attributes an increased complexity to Grundfos’ societal responsibility from 2016 to 2020, where Grundfos communicates new, hybrid forms of communications, where they construct a constant search for potential societal responsibility. Secondly, we draw on a laclaudian hegemonic analysis where we study how the discursive field, consisting of politics, businesses, consumers and scientists, is fixating meaning to private business’ societal responsibility. Here we find, that private businesses societal responsibility are fixated primarily as; (1) private businesses prioritise sustainability above profit. (2) a joint future perspective based on a sustainable approach. (3) private businesses must take a societal responsibility exceeding their operations. Building on this, we use a foucauldian scope to examine how the four discursive positions seek to nurture a societal responsible private business with qualities such as; (1) to act as a central member of society. (2) to be exemplary in their sustainable behaviour. (3) to be based on a climate-friendly and sustainable livelihood. (4) to be a strategic farsighted, innovative and climate-conscious private business.
To conclude the paper, we build on these analytical findings and discuss how new partnership arrangements emerges and constitute new conditions for the possibilities of conduct. Here we find, that these new partnership arrangements constitute a contract of second order where partnerships emerge as a productive field of possibilities where the public sector and the private businesses constantly can search for new forms of societal responsibility. Lastly, we include Christian Frankel’s three dimensions of politicisation; institutional-, responsibility- and meaning explosion and discuss the potential constitutive consequences of our analytical findings.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages117
SupervisorsDorthe Pedersen