Suits and Ties: A Social Network Analysis of Democratic Companies in Denmark

Jeppe Ask Tofteskov

Student thesis: Master thesis


Which role do democratic businesses play in the future economy. This is a question, which is currently debated by academics and politicians (Beim & Bæksgaard, 2019). This thesis will analyze the social network of democratic organizations in Denmark, in order to investigate how they are integrated within the Danish economic system. Even though democratic companies are currently debated, they have a long history in the Danish economic and political system, as a movement to secure a fair economic model, starting with co-operatives being established in the late 19th century (Grelle, 2012). The approach, I employ in this thesis in order to investigate the democratic companies, is a board interlock analysis, simply the overlap of leaderships in firms. The literature in this area has shown that organizational practices spread through the network of board members, and that growth in revenue has been associated with higher social capital. The definition and theory of social capital in this thesis, comes from Ronald Burt. Burt’s theory of social capital uses the terms brokerage and closure to understand social structures. Brokerage in which actors can be bridgers between various groups of organizations. On the other hand, there is closure, in which organizations are embedded within a social group, which contains plenty of redundant ties (Burt, 2000). Using this theoretical understanding of social capital within corporate boards, I employ a social network analysis on the interlock between Danish companies registered within the CVR-registry, and test if democratic companies have different social capital than non-democratic companies. I show that democratic companies more often occupy brokerage positions. I furthermore show that democratic firms are well integrated within the core of the Danish business community, and that they often overlap with non-democratic companies. There are a few issues relating especially to the statistical analysis and violated assumptions behind the regression. Furthermore, some of the analysis surrounding the types of connections between the companies can be improved and formalized. Even still, this thesis shows that democratic organizations have the same number of connections as comparable non-democratic organizations, but that democratic organization more often use these connections to occupy advantageous brokerage positions within the network of Danish businesses

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages101
SupervisorsLasse Folke Henriksen