Sustainable and unsustainable narratives: Storytelling a Sustainable Future”

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/konference proceedingKonferenceartikel i proceedingForskningpeer review


The present conference paper is from a case study (Flyvbjerg 2011) on the Danish cooperative water suppliers, organized as cooperative organizations, according to the Rochdale principles (Walton 1997). Danish water suppliers occupy a unique position in the Danish society, as they supply large parts of Denmark with clean drinking water that comes directly from underground. The subsoil water in Denmark is still considered clean, and local water suppliers can distribute the water directly to consumers without any mechanical cleaning. The requirements for the consumer-driven water supply are becoming increasingly complex, because of legislation (regulation) and the availability of new technological developments that allow the measurement of even a minimal presence of undesirable substances in the water. The undesirable substances are often the result of chemicals used by local conventional farmers. The presence of undesirable substances increased documentation requirements and the ever-increasing administrative burdens, as well as increased political interests, compelled the Association of Danish Water Suppliers to create an organization of professional consultants and specialists who can advise local water suppliers on cleaning technology and new legislation. This new professional operating system in the national association of Danish water suppliers drives professionalization and could be a contradiction to the elected representatives who employ the professionals. This situation can provide a backdrop for multiple and sometimes contradictory organizational narratives. In this short paper, we present an analysis of stories that are exchanged in the discourse between the National Association of Danish Water Suppliers and the cooperative water suppliers of small Danish consumers. We address the research question: How do sustainable organizations produce both sustainable and unsustainable organizational narratives? We have gathered the empirical material analyzed in this conference paper through participatory action research and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders.
TitelSustainable and unsustainable narratives : Storytelling a Sustainable Future
StatusAccepteret/In press - 1 maj 2020