Tidens rolle i samspillet mellem identitet og strategi: konsekvenser af mødet med omverdens og politikernes krav: Det Kongelige Teaters arbejde med identitet og strategi

Eline Wernberg Sigfusson

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


This dissertation analyzes the interaction between the Royal Theater's identity and strategy during one of the theater's biggest periods of change. The dissertation examines the role of time in this interaction and how it happens as a consequence of the changing surroundings and politicians' demands on the institution. The Royal Theater is one of the oldest public institutions in Denmark and has a long and significant past. As a national scene, it is one of the most important cultural institutions in Denmark. With its many years of experience and history, the theater has a strong identity, but this strong identity is also exposed in relation to the outside world and the politicians. Over the past 11 years, the theater has had to develop various forms of interaction between identity and strategy to realize its identity with strategies.
Identity is used in this dissertation as an expression of the organization's distinctive character over time. The dissertation shows that identity and strategy are characterized by different time structures which enable them to extend their past and future in different ways. When it comes to futureoriented processes, which characterize many private companies’ strategic approaches, the temporal structures of identity can help to frame and implement the strategy. However, this is different for national cultural heritage institutions. Here the past weighs heavily on the identity of the organization and the relationship between the two are reverse. Here, strategy is used to influence identity.
The dissertation demonstrates that there are various types of temporal interplay between the Royal Theater's strategy and identity-work during the 11-year period, and that this has occurred as a consequence and reaction to political control and in line with the population's changed consumption patterns as audience. The thesis has two central general points. First, it shows the significant role of the past in the identity work of cultural organizations and especially those who have a function of heritage. Through an analysis of what happens when strategies begin to process identities in a direction towards the future, it emerges that it is in the span of strategy and identity that organizations' interpretation and construction of time is set into play. Secondly, the thesis illustrates that cultural heritage organizations develop a dual identity, to manage both their artistic heritage and history (here elite art) - and to be relevant (here offering more popular artforms) in a changed world, where the role of cultural policy has also changed. The organizations are no longer the bearers of stories about themselves, and they must constantly show their worth and reach out to a much wider population to appear relevant in future.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages54
SupervisorsTor Hernes