Den, der lever stille, lever godt: Om topledere og hvorfor de deltager i samfundsdebatten

Anna Askær & Signe Bjørg Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this thesis is to find possible explanations for why top executives in Denmark participate in the public debate. We began with a pre-­‐study where it was confirmed that there was a tendency towards greater participation from top executives in the public debate, as well as a higher number of executives participating in general. The empiric foundation is based on nine semi-­‐structured interviews with different top executives from the private sector; Niels Due Jensen, Jørgen Mads Clausen, Henrik Heideby, Lars Rohde, Kurt Larsen, Asger Aamund, Lars Kolind, Maarten van Engeland and Stine Bosse. The analysis is divided into three parts. The first is a strategic perspective that focuses on theory around corporate branding and auto-­‐communication. The second is an institutional perspective. Our inductive and deductive methodological approach brought to light some personal explanations, which resulted in a third analytical section. This section is analysed from different empirically based theories. The conclusion is that the strategic reason for participating was in order to promote and brand the company to internal and external stakeholders, as this can lead to competitive advantages and a strong corporate brand. The institutional analysis revealed participation was also a result of pressure from the environment that made the top executives feel obligated to participate in the debate, contribute with their knowledge and opinions and to qualify the public debate. The final part of the analysis, the personal explanations, showed that the top executives are motivated to participate because they want to be responsible for the world around them, and because of personal appreciation and self-­‐actualization. The analysis also showed how challenging it is for the executives to distinguish their personal and private reasons from their professional, when they participate in the public debate. We can conclude that the explanation for why top executives in Denmark participate in the public debate is a combination of strategic professional reasons, personal motivation factors and because the participation is becoming an institution.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages129