En finansiel virksomheds muligheder for strategizing i en legitimitetskrise: En kritisk diskursanalyse- gennem institutionel optik - af de offentlige mediers kommunikation omkring Danske Bank og sagen om hvidvaskning af flere milliarder kroner

Charlotte Kjeldsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In 2018 the largest financial institution in Denmark, Danske Bank, was caught up in what is portrayed as one of the world’s biggest money laundering scandals. (Web 1) This caused the financial institution to loose its reputation as being one of Europe’s most respected financial institutions and therefore it also lost its legitimacy. In this thesis I investigate how Danske Bank, as response to the massive media attention this scandal has been given, can strategize its way out of this crisis and rebuilt legitimacy. My main thesis is "that the media's power position is believed to be the greatest of all, which means that the discourses built by the media affect the bank's legitimacy and reputation, but also contribute to the bank's behavior and future opportunities for strategy ". Through the methodology of critical discourse analysis of selected empirical data from five of the largest news media in Denmark, I examine how the social discourse about Danske Bank and the money laundering case is constructed in the media. Hereafter I apply an institutional perspective to the study of how I can use my identified discourses to explain, how Danske Bank can strategize so legitimacy is rebuilt and the bank ensures institutional survival. On the basis of my analysis I present an overall strategy for Danske Bank. This strategy is followed by presenting three specific actions Danske Bank must unfold within the strategy and in response to the extracted discourses. These are the following: 1) change of management, 2) prevention of money laundering and 3) increased attention to the bank’s financial products. I conclude by arguing, that even though Danske Bank strategize, it does not necessarily make the organization more effective in the quest for legitimacy, but it can ensure institutional survival. My overall argument for this thesis is that language and society are coherent. By investigating the influence of the money laundering as a social event on the social discourse surrounding Danske Bank in the media, I have shown how language and discourse contribute to create our social world. By analyzing linguistic elements, I have demonstrated how organizations can relate to social changes in society. Danske Bank's strategy is my main point, in the sense that language plays a crucial role for our lives, our meaning systems and our social relations.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages99