Europeanization of Public Policies for Corporate Social Responsibility- A case-study of Danish CSR policy

Camilla Gøhler Ryberg

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


The European Commission’s promotion of public policies for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is based on the non-coercive governance form the Open Method of Coordination. The Commission has only recently initiated a structured dialogue coordinating CSR policies between Member States, which indicates the soft mechanism for compliance, are less advanced. Based on these findings the thesis seeks to challenge the top-down assumption of EU effect inherent in most recent studies of europeanization. An inductive bottom-up research design has been constructed to determine, whether European or domestic factors spur domestic policy change. Based on Vivian Schmidt’s theory on adjustment pressure and Claudio Radaelli’s cyclical definition of europeanization, the thesis identifies Danish Commerce and Companies Agency (DCCA) as the EU disposed discourse entrepreneur who changes the logic of exiting Danish CSR policy within the period 1994-2007. The process of Danish CSR policy change is described through a diachronic analysis observing how Danish policy actors’ ideas of CSR change and materialise in different policy discourses over time. The diachronic analysis likewise identifies a rupture in the traditional policy discourse on CSR. These findings provide the ground for a synchronic analysis clarifying whether the theoretical mechanisms of europeanization are in play around the time of rupture. On this background, the thesis identifies a europeanization process of reciprocated progression where EU seeks to affect Danish CSR policy formulation and vice versa. Danish CSR policy change is, however complex and spurred by rivalling domestic and European discursive impulses. DCCA introduces a new EU inspired business-driven CSR concept into Danish policy-making, while more traditional CSR ideas linked to labour market integration of political target groups continues under the auspice of Employment policy. On this background the thesis identifies a domestic absorption of the European CSR policy, as a new EU discourse is introduced while traditional policy- preferences and legacies prevents the establishment of a common CSR understanding among the Danish policy actors. Policy transformation may however emerge in the future, as the policy actors’ perceptions of CSR are increasingly moving towards the European conceptualisation. Hence, the thesis illustrates that EU institutions matter even in a policy area where EU policy processes have barely taken off.

UddannelserEU-studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato27 jun. 2008
VejledereKennet Lynggaard


  • Bottom-up research design
  • CSR
  • Europeanization
  • Public Policies