CSR partnerskaber mellem virksomheder og NGO’er – En bæredygtig vej til legitimitet eller en rationel myte? Et casestudie af Vestas i et institutionelt og historisk diskursteoretisk perspektiv

Stine Ravnborg Wind-Hansen & Kenneth Boje Andreassen Skovsted

Student thesis: Master thesis


A few years ago business corporations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) did not consider each other valued business partners. Due to changes in the Danish legislation, extended research and increased public attention to companies’ efforts in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), CSR partnerships are now perceived as both legitimate and compelling for businesses to engage in. However, studies indicate that more than 95 percent of CSR partnerships are based on varieties of the philanthropic model, where companies solely donate money to NGOs in return for endorsement of their brands. Only few companies engage in strategic partnerships even though this approach is viewed as being more valuable. This thesis draws on a combination of Fairclough’s three-dimensional discourse analysis, institutional theory, and Bourdieu’s field theory to study Vestas’ historical framing of CSR and partnerships as well as the public understanding of the concept since year 2000. Through the historical case study the thesis seeks to explore how CSR partnerships have been institutionalised and thereby influencing Vestas’ ability to create legitimacy. The analysis examines how CSR partnerships have been institutionalised as a legitimate business practice in the public, especially driven by regulative isomorphism. Furthermore, the analysis identifies that the assumption of CSR partnerships having a great potential for creating value for businesses as well as solving some of society’s challenges has become a dominating rational myth. Hence, CSR partnerships, which are both sustainable and worthwhile in an economical, commercial and social context, seem to be viewed as the most legitimate. The study concludes that Vestas’ partnership WindMade complies with the conditions for appearing legitimate in the public context. This is due to the underlying prerequisites, which are both growth and business driven CSR. Also, the fact that WindMade has been established as an autonomous NGO, with several partners where each partner contributes with his core competences adds to the common trust of the partnership. WindMade however, has not been an adequate solution for Vestas in terms of solving their current image crisis. This is in line with the identified rational myth of not viewing partnerships, whose main purpose is to brand a business, as a legitimate way of engaging in CSR.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages202