Axel Welinder

Doctoral Student

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • Sustainability, CSR, Communication , Marketing, Political Advertising , Sustainability Communication, Brand management, Reputation, Online Marketing

Research

I have been a doctoral student at the Department of Business Administration since September 2016 and am also part of the Centre for Retail Research at Lund University. I am currently involved in a research project together with Professor Ulf Elg and Associate Professor Jens Hultman where we are looking at how a multinational retail firm is working with strategies concerning sustainability communication. We are also interested in how employees at different levels in the organization, and consumers outside the organization, interpret and use these messages and why. 

As a doctoral student, I want to help create a better understanding of the communication we engage ourselves in as we try to make sense out of the rather abstract and pluralistically interpreted concept of “sustainability”. More specifically, I want to understand how we translate, embed and use a sustainability discourse in our everyday lives depending on what situations we find ourselves in, especially as we adopt the imposed roles of consumers and employees. Be it on the job or in the shop, we increasingly seem to apply a sustainability discourse to guide our everyday decisions.


Hearing, talking, reading and thinking about sustainability are thus the communicative acts which I find interesting, especially when triggered by sustainability communication from profit oriented organizations. I therefore focus my research on internal and external communication strategies adopted by retail firms, which seeks support for the firms’ sustainability agenda. I find retail to be an especially important industry to study since these very interesting and rapidly changing firms can be described as the intermediaries between production and consumption, and thus play a crucial role on the path towards a more sustainable business landscape.
 

But how do we as employees or consumers make sense out of the sustainability concept as it is brought to mind? When and why is it brought to mind? How do we interpret the concept depending on what situations and why? In other words, how do we translate and transform the meaning of sustainability as we find ourselves in different states of mind?
 

I hope that answering these questions can contribute to broader discussions about what role we want business to play in our everyday lives and why. Do we want business to make moral claims and increasingly become political actors, taking over responsibilities previously held by government and civil society? Do we want business to communicate what these actors consider to be morally right or wrong? To what extend is business molding our values through sustainability communication? Or is it rather we who are molding the values governing business?
 

If you find these questions interesting, want to know more about my research, or help me in my quest for increased understanding on these issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me.