The Legitimacy of Rudolph Care as an Effect of Communication about Sustainability

Sarah Michelsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The thesis investigates how a communication strategy with a focus on sustainability affects the legitimacy of the company using the strategy. This is investigated with Rudolph Care as a casecompany and the research question of the thesis is: What effect does Rudolph Cares use of a communication strategy with a focus on sustainability have on their legitimacy? The scientific theoretical point of view is the social constructivism as the thesis seeks to understand social constructions that are formed around Rudolph Care. Social constructivism does not allow the conclusions to be generalized, i.e. the conclusions are unique for this thesis. The analysis is primarily based on Suchmans legitimacy theory as his nine different types of legitimacy are used to determine the legitimacy of Rudolph Care. The communication of Rudolph Care is collected through document collections and an interview. Interviews with three groups of consumers have also been conducted. In the Communication Analysis, the first part of the analysis, the communication of Rudolph Care is analyzed in order to determine which of the nine types of legitimacy the communication represents. The communication of Rudolph Care does primarily represent the pragmatic types of legitimacy by mainly focusing on the products and the interests and values shared by the consumers. Hereafter, the consumers are evaluating the communication throughout the interviews. These evaluations are analyzed in the Legitimacy Analysis, the second part of the analysis, where the legitimacy of Rudolph Care is determined. First each of the types of legitimacy that the communication of Rudolph Care represent are assessed and then assembled to a general degree of legitimacy. Throughout these two analyzes it is possible to determine how a communication strategy with a focus on sustainability affects the legitimacy. It is found that Rudolph Care has a high degree of legitimacy which is mainly justified by the focus on sustainability in their communication. The consumers are acknowledging this focus and rewarding it by positive evaluations. Two types of legitimacies do, however, have a low degree. This is because consumers are feeling a lack of shared interests and indifference in regard to communication about the results of Rudolph Care. These conclusions are discussed and several recommendations for the future communication of Rudolph Care are given.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages84