Sund fornuft - frihedens labyrint: En kritisk analyse af værdibaseret ledelse i Jyske Bank

Mette Bech Rasmussen & Louise Lærke Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


As a consequence of the societal development modern organizations face the demand for flexibility and constant innovative change. Our society is influenced by a certain project mentality, which forces individuals to search for freedom and autonomy. Value based management is introduced to meet some of these institutional claims and stands in opposition to earlier management systems, founded on bureaucratic control and monitoring. The focus of value based management lies on the involvement of the employees in the decision-making process by constructing an “ethical space of freedom” founded on a common set of organizationally defined values. Each employee is obligated and responsible for interpreting the values in a way that serves the company. The autonomy of the employees creates a personal engagement and responsibility for acting in accordance to the corporate values. Throughout this thesis we seek to investigate how power is practiced through value based management in the case study of Jyske Bank. Conducting a series of qualitative research interviews we pursue answers in regard to how the employees of Jyske Bank experience the practices of value based management, and how the behaviors of the employees are aligned in accordance to the company values. We position us within the paradigm of critical theory, which serves the purpose of revealing the hidden mechanisms of suppression and control that restrict the individual’s freedom. The structure of our analysis is based on the empirical findings. Through Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello’s views on the development of a new social order dominated by capitalism, we seek to explain the underlying drivers, which impose the demands for constant development and activity on modern individual. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s concept of productive power, we analyze the power relations in value based management from a perspective of freedom as well as control to gain insight in the employee’s perception of the social reality in Jyske Bank as they conceive it. Our overall finding of this thesis is that the employees in Jyske Bank experience great autonomy at work and consider themselves free of managerial control. The anchoring of the corporate values though the self-control of the employees creates the feeling, that the organizational values are a part of the employees’ own beliefs and personal values. Drawing on the perspectives from critical theory, we highlight a range of underlying power mechanisms that construct the attitudes of the employees in accordance to the definition of acceptable behavior in Jyske Bank.

EducationsMSocSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages100