Campaigning for the Climate Act – how environmental communication can be used in institutional entrepreneurship

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Degree programme
Corporate Communication
Objective of the study The main purpose of this thesis is to examine how an NGO can act as an institutional entrepreneur by using environmental communication as its means. More specifically, it examines the main characteristics of successful environmental communication that can lead to a change in the political field. The study concentrates on the case of the NGO Friends of the Earth acting as an institutional entrepreneur by conducting a campaign with the purpose of getting a climate change law to Finland. Analytical framework and methodology The study looks at the discussion about environmental communication from the theoretical perspective of institutional entrepreneurship. Institutional entrepreneurship examines how a highly motivated actor with enough resources can act as an institutional entrepreneur and conduct an institutional change. The primary source of data is the written material used in the campaign, and the analysis is conducted with rhetorical discourse analysis as a method. Findings and conclusions The main findings are related to the legitimating of the purpose of the campaign with the help of discourses. The study gives implications of effective ways of environmental communication which can be used in changing institutions. Five different discourses typical to environmental communication can be found based on the analysis. These discourses are: professionalism, benefits to receiver, acknowledgement, empowerment and exemplar behavior. The most important conclusions are that 1) fact-based communication together with 2) strong support of other actors is a very effective form of environmental communication in the cause of institutional entrepreneurship.
Thesis advisor
Eräranta, Kirsi
environmental communication, institutional entrepreneurship, NGO, organizational communication, institutional change
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