A Narrative and Sensemaking Analysis of the Stories about Nordea DK

Søren Søndergård Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this thesis is to gain a better understanding and insight into the sensemaking process, and the accompanying narratives told by Nordea DK “Premium Banking-customers” about their experiences and feelings towards the bank. The case-study of the narratives surrounding Nordea DK is found to be of a particular interest, due to the fact that in recent years the bank has been involved in several unfortunate money laundering scandals, which has resulted in decreasing customer satisfaction and ultimately a loss of customers. The method of study is based on a multi-paradigm perspective, combining social constructivism and phenomenology. This choice relies on the belief that the combination of these two approaches could offer the possibility of creating new insights, because they originate from slightly different ontological and epistemological assumptions and, therefore, can tap into different facets of investigated phenomena. The empirical ground for the analysis is based on the qualitative research method and consists of nine semi-structured narrative interviews with “Premium Banking-customers”, which was conducted over Skype.
On the basis of these interviews, it became clear that the interviewees often selected or punctuated their stories around what I have chosen to call “the big decisions”, which involve events such as house purchases and loans. Furthermore, it was evident that the sensemaking of these selected events must be understood on the basis of a specific frame. The interviewees sensemaking process and the accompanying narratives can thus be said to contain a perspectivism, further extending the theoretical understanding that narratives are never told as neutral and objective accounts of what the world looks like, but are always told on the basis of certain ideas, experiences, norms, values etc.
The analysis furthermore identified three dominant narratives in the interviewees storytelling. I have chosen to name these three narratives as follows: “The big decisions and the personal relationship”, “For whose sake?” and “The big bank”. The first narrative illustrated the key role that the personal bank advisor plays in reducing the ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding “the big decisions”. Secondly, the narrative “For whose sake?” indicated that those customers who had experienced a more distant relationship with their bank advisor often were of the opinion that Nordea is primarily out for themselves and not for them as customers. Finally, the narrative “The big bank” concluded how the interviewees often tried to explain their experiences with Nordea through a causal relation-ship, based on the plot about Nordea as “the big bank”.
The thesis ends with a number of proposed management recommendations to help ensure a better customer experience and thus a stronger sense of affiliation for the customers.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages70