Diskursive konstruktioners betydning for medlemsrelationen i Djøf

Christina Juul Sørensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master’s thesis examines how the discursive construction of the membership relationship in a Danish trade union, Djoef, affects the members’ loyalty and sense of belonging. By means of Norman Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis, I analyse the discursive practices of the members and Djoef related to the construction of the membership and the membership identity. I find that both the members and Djoef construct a well-defined ‘djoefer’ identity for the members by interdiscursively drawing on discourse in the public media debate. It becomes clear that those of the members who identify with the ‘djoefer’ identity articulate the strongest sense of belonging and they are more loyal than members, who do not identify with the ‘djoefer’ identity. Regarding the motives for membership, the critical discourse analysis shows that Djoef draws heavily on an individual benefits discourse and a growth discourse in their member communication. This turns out to be closely related to the social practices of the competitive state described by Ove K. Pedersen. As opposed to the individuality tendency in Djoef’s communication, most of the interviewed members articulate a solidarity discourse in their communication about their union membership. They want the individual benefits discourse to be combined with a sense of community and solidarity, and in this way they construct their membership on value based motives more than just pure opportunistic rationales. The analysis shows that the strongest loyalty and sense of belonging is articulated by the members with the most emphasis on the solidarity discourse. This indicates that Djoef’s communication is off target, if they want to attract and keep members with high loyalty, because they primarily articulate the motives of the least loyal members when they communicate individual benefits. Djoef could support a stronger member relationship through a more value based approach to member communication and by this attract and retain the most loyal members. Finally, the analysis shows that the communication between Djoef and the members constitutes a client-customer relationship constructed through the use of marketing language and the individual benefits discourse as well as the construction of Djoef as the active deliverer of services and the members as passive receivers. This shows that the discursive practices in the trade union domain of Djoef have been marketized in line with Norman Fairclough’s description of the marketization of public discourse.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages154