Governance in Partnerships: An Analysis of the Possibilities and Challenges in Frederiksholmpartnerskabet as a New Cooperation

Tobias Voss Ilum & Ulrik Simoni Märcher

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis concerns a partnership between the municipality of Copenhagen and AKB, København, a profit housing society in Copenhagen. The partnership is centred in the part of Copenhagen called Sydhavnen, more precisely the area called Frederiksholm. The Partnership is an urban development partnership with a focus on buildings, environment, commerce and social development. We use Niklas Luhmanns systems theory and Ernesto Laclau discourse theory as the two theoretical perspectives to understand the challenges and possibilities of the partnership. Our thesis seeks to understand how the partnership creates a certain way of cooperating between the partners. The focus is on the challenges of creating and maintaining boundaries and using the openness of the partnership structure to create ownership, connection to the surroundings and urban development. Furthermore, we focus on what impact the challenges that are created by a new cooperation structure have on the possibilities for leadership. The thesis starts with an analysis of the organisational structure of the partnership with the partnership agreement as a starting point. We found that the strategic perspective is very important in projects with different partners from different sectors and that this organisational structure challenges the possibility for governance. Our political perspective is the discourse analysis where we analyse how antagonistic relations between different chains of equivalence challenge the partnerships’ cooperation boundaries. This analysis showed how the complexity and contingency of the partnership is challenging the democratic structure in the profit housing society. In conclusion, partnerships are an interesting way of solving challenges in the welfare state but is does not come without challenges and it has constitutive consequences for the possibilities to create ownership, connection to the surroundings and urban development. The analysis of this thesis makes second-order observations of the opportunities and challenges of a partnership, which demands a high level of reflexivity as a certain way of leadership to make partnerships like this a success.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages120