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Pre-defence: Elisabeth Houe Thomsen

An open pre-defence by the doctoral student Elisabeth Houe Thomsen


04.05.2016 kl. 14.00 - 16.00



Doctoral student

Elisabeth Houe Thomsen


Power Relations Reflected in CSR Discourse – a Merkur Case Study


As the banking sector generally speaking tries to profit from the possible benefits of using CSR communication as a lever to restore damaged images in the wake of the financial crisis, the small sustainable bank, Merkur, tries to avoid explicit CSR communication. However, Merkur is not against CSR, but tries to find other ways of expressing corporate responsibility – both socially and in any aspect of the business.

This project aims to uncover the ways in which Merkur communicates responsibility without ostentatiously employing the hegemonic CSR discourse. Furthermore, the alignment of what is communicated by various stakeholders related to the business is highlighted by focusing on the interaction between the three stakeholder groups – management, employees and customers.

Data have been collected over the course of 4-5 years through interview, focus group interview, participation in meetings, recorded meetings and email correspondence between employees and customers – as well as through access to written material as it is presented on Merkur’s website, annual reports, business magazine, etc.

Theoretical aspect of this project include power relations employing Fairclough’s CDA, legitimation as explained by van Leeuwen’s legitimation strategies, stakeholder theory as an overall framework for distinguishing various relevant stakeholder and disclosing the stakeholder overlap, alignment of communication between these stakeholders and CSR as it is interpreted over time, in various sectors, in various settings.


Professor Anne Ellerup Nielsen, Aarhus University


Inger Lassen (main supervisor)
Christa Thomsen (co-supervisor)


Glassalen, room 1.202, Kroghstræde 3

All are welcome to attend this open pre-defence. Please sign up by mail to Marianne Høgsbro: hoegsbro@cgs.aau.dk




Kroghstræde 3

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