Politics and Power at Sea: The Power and Political Strategies of Firms in International Maritime Regulation

Christian Hendriksen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines the relationship between maritime firms’ political strategies and their political power. The thesis takes departure in two theoretical frameworks which categorize business power and corporate political strategies, respectively. The theories provide the foundation for analyzing power, political strategies, and their relationship. The research question of the thesis is “How do firms’ political strategies relate to business power in international maritime regulation?”.
The thesis takes a deductive, qualitative approach to the research question. By using interview data from individuals from the industry as well as official documents from the International Maritime Organization, the thesis identifies the instrumental, structural, and discursive power of international maritime firms. In addition, the thesis determines the political strategies carried out by maritime firms. Finally, the thesis relates power and strategy to each other to provide a unified understanding.
The primary conclusions of the thesis are that firms carrying out defensive strategies in international maritime regulation tend to rely on their structural power in certain countries, while proactive firms rely on both their structural and discursive power in relation to other countries. An important theoretical point is that business power and business strategy differs between industry segments, and that maritime firms as a group differs in terms of the power wielded.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages77
SupervisorsMorten Ougaard