University of Twente Student Theses


Is met het begrip duurzaamheid te lobbyen in de politiek?

Verduyn, Lotte (2012) Is met het begrip duurzaamheid te lobbyen in de politiek?

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Abstract:Sustainability is a subject that has become more popular and important in recent years. In this research paper a real case study has been used to examine the role of sustainability in the lobbying process. The real case study is about realizing a sustainable sport centre in a Dutch village which is part of the municipality Dinkelland. Lobbying is a topic in which much research has been conducted. Especially the influence of interest groups is an important question in politics. Many interest groups, for example in the European Union (EU), are trying to influence the democratic decision makers on different topics. Research in the area of lobbying focuses mainly on the strategies which interest groups could apply. Moreover, how to measure influence and power is a popular but also difficult research area. The perceived success can be measured on various ways. Although much research has been conducted on the subject lobbying, there has not been any research which combines lobbying and the role of sustainability as a factor in this process. The practical question from the interest group in this real case was: would we be more effective if we would focus on sustainability during the lobby practices? It turns out that the practical question: could sustainability be a factor of influence, was not answered in the literature so far. Sustainability could be an argument for interest groups to use in their lobby strategies. Initiatives from interest groups may be more successful when focusing on sustainability. Nowadays sustainability is an important and also popular topic. The following research question is conducted for this investigation: to what extent does sustainability play a role during the lobbying process? To answer this question the following sub questions are composed: 1. To what extent do decision makers see sustainability as an influential argument in the lobby strategy? 2. Could sustainability be seen as a general influential argument? 3. To what extent is sustainability as a factor reflected in the political arena of the decision? Different kinds of studies are composed to answer these questions. First an arena (playing field with all stakeholders) has been described where all the stakeholders of the sport centre have been added to. This arena showed that the decision makers in this case study are the councillors. To answer the first sub question interviews have been conducted with the councillors from four different political parties. The political parties are PvdA, VVD, CDA and Lokaal Dinkelland. Conclusions gathered from this research: sustainability is regarded as an important factor but is does not influence the councillors. The question that rises is if sustainability could be seen as a generally influential argument. Secondly an experiment is conducted to investigate this question. A case has been put together based on the real case study of the sport centre. In this survey the respondents had to imagine themselves being councillors and they had to make a choice in case of the sport centre. Three arguments based on values and topics were added to this case. These are sustainability, finance and to achieve anything in the municipality. Respondents randomly received a case with arguments. The results from this study showed that the argument sustainability did not have more influence against the other arguments. It means sustainability is not an argument that can be used to influence people in general, because the kind of argument does not matter. However, the kind of argument (sustainability, finance and to achieve anything in the municipality) given in the case turns out to be mentioned as a reason to vote for realizing the sport centre. After the interviews of the councillors an arena is described. During the study there were many developments. After the decision of the councillors a new arena is described. By comparing these arena’s the changes are clearly visible. The actors and factors that influenced the councillors their decision are the media, consultancy Synarchis, the voters (residents of the municipality Dinkelland), the stakeholder that was added later to the arena and finally the interest group itself (the team De Dinkel Twente). This study showed also that sustainability has not been an influential factor in the political arena. Never before has the role of sustainability in lobbying been studied. Based on this research can be concluded that sustainability appears not to play a specific role during the lobbying process. Sustainability does not influence the decision makers during the decision. According to this research the focus on sustainability in communication during the lobbying process does not have the desired effect.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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