Contagious Ties? A Network Study of Homogeneity in the European Automobile Industry

Sarah Simmelkjær Poulsen & Christine Pilgaard Dahm

Student thesis: Master thesis


Existing literature has offered a variety of explanations on how and why business actors are engaged in lobbying. Business actors are generally found to be successful lobby actors, and scholars have stressed the need for further investigation into how business actors engage in collaborative lobby activities, including how actors can unite their political positions. The purpose of this thesis has been to address this issue by investigating how social relations in networks impact the homogeneity of business actors’ political positions. This purpose has been accomplished by combining the methods of social network analysis and multiple correspondence analysis. The methods have compared the network relations of business actors with their political positions using distances as an analytical measure. The thesis has been based on a single case study of the European Commission’s legislative proposal to reduce the CO2 emissions of the automobile industry (EC. 2017/676). In the process of drafting the proposal, the European Commission has issued an online survey to external stakeholders as part of its open consultations. The data of the thesis was derived from this survey. Results found no direct correlation between the political positions of actors and their relational ties. This thesis acknowledges that methodological and theoretical shortcomings might have affected the final results, however highlights that the combination of methods, and the use of distances as an analytical tool to define homogeneity in political positions, is a new contribution to literature that potentially holds great promises for further research.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages129
SupervisorsLasse Folke Henriksen