A Qualitative Study of Issues Management in an Institutional Perspective, A Case Study of Kopenhagen Fur

Simone Kristensen & Louise Svarre Refdahl

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis reflects upon the use of storytelling in issues management strategies in an institutional perspective for controversial industries. The fur industry raises many ethical issues on whether or not it is ethically correct to use animals for fur breeding. Therefore, this thesis aims to analyse and investigate how the Danish company Kopenhagen Fur, one of the largest fur productions in the world, is handling these challenges. The thesis applies a social constructivism and philosophical hermeneutics approach. These scientific theoretical approaches are combined with a qualitative empirical study. The analysis examines how Kopenhagen Fur experiences an institutional pressure forced by regulative, normative and mimetic isomorphism. Kopenhagen Fur deals with three prominent issues: animal welfare, sustainability and transparency. This thesis analyses Kopenhagen Fur’s issues management in an institutional perspective and the public responses regarding these issues. Kopenhagen Fur has high standards regarding animal welfare. However, Kopenhagen Fur is exposed to a cultural-cognitive element, as their surroundings do not share the same perception on this matter. Additionally, Kopenhagen Fur is affected by their path dependency in which there is a rational myth stating that Kopenhagen Fur breeds their animal poorly. Since Kopenhagen Fur is not dealing with the communication regarding animal welfare according to the expectations from the surroundings, a legitimacy gap with this issue is identified. Furthermore, Kopenhagen Fur needs to take advantage of sustainability as an opportunity issue due to the trends in the society. To a great extent, Kopenhagen Fur deals with the issue transparency with an open and a see-through communication. This thesis discusses whether Kopenhagen Fur is overusing transparency in their issues management and to a greater extent should shed darkness and light in their strategic communication. Furthermore, Kopenhagen Fur has launched a small movie regarding the mink breeders, which reflects upon several issues in the fur industry. Based on the empirical data this thesis concludes that storytelling should be used to a high extent in Kopenhagen Fur’s issues management in order to equalize the legitimacy gap in the communication and even promote the company’s legitimacy.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages189