A Clash of Ideologies: A Case Study from the NGO Industry

Eirin Lilletvedt & Rachel Torgersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores the role of commitment in competing ideologies, using narratives as proxy. We take a processual and continuous view on change when researching a Danish NGO, and use abductive reasoning. By diving into context we address how stakeholders are able to influence the organization through employees’ perception. Thus directing it in certain directions. We apply the sensemaking framework described by Hernes et al (2015), by demonstrating and explaining how two competing narratives are enforcing a change process at the NGO. Therefore this thesis explores the ongoing sensemaking process for the business as usual narrative, meeting an ambiguous future. To support Hernes et al (2015), the importance of narratives described by Søderberg (2006), and a processual framework of change presented by Dawson (2003) is applied.
A lack of pre-existing frames provides a possible explanation of the low level of commitment to the competing narrative. In our research we identified a pre-commitment, assumed relevant for the general NGO industry. We suggest this commitment goes beyond ideology. Our contribution to the sensemaking literature lies in relating context and pre-commitment to the narratives that underlie the change process. At a more general level, the analysis shows that dynamics inherent in the process might be a hinder of organizational change.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages112
SupervisorsTor Hernes