Legitimizing the distinctiveness: A study of Givrum.nu’s attempt to gain legitimazy when working on widening the access to empty buildings

Hulda Hallgrímsdóttir & Ditte Ravnild

Student thesis: Master thesis


In this thesis we examine the organizational responses enacted by Givrum.nu, a newly established organization operating to facilitate temporary utilization of empty buildings for social and cultural purposes. Even though Givrum.nu from its early beginning has been met with support and interest from the established community, which seems to welcome this informal, creative organization, carrying out the organization’s ambitions about widening the access to empty buildings is far from easy. We found Givrum.nu interesting to study, as the organization is placed as a liaison in a highly fragmented field, consisting of very different stakeholders with conflicting approaches, behaviors, and requirements imposing pressures on the organization. Givrum.nu enters the field with different beliefs and methods than the ones prevailing, which challenges the organization’s operations and makes it hard to navigate, while still holding on to its original approaches and beliefs. In this thesis we seek to get a deeper understanding of the inherent prescriptions and pressures Givrum.nu are exposed to, stemming from the surrounding environment. Our theoretical framework is grounded in institutional theory, as it enables us to examine the different “rules of the game” and the external pressures institutional environments impose on organizations. We identify three institutional logics in the field of study, which are the democratic logic, the state logic, and the capitalistic logic and look at how these multiple logics are expressed in the field and what implications they cause for Givrum.nu. The complexity and the conflicts of these logics are reflected in six main challenges identified through the empirical material. We examine Givrum.nu’s responses in relation to these challenges and how the organization seeks to balance between complying with the existing institutional pressures in order to gain legitimacy, while still holding firmly on to its democratic values and alternative system of meaning. This thesis provides an understanding of Givrum.nu’s actions as well as it contributes to a deeper insight to the complex field of temporary utilization of empty buildings in Denmark.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages204