Når krisekommunikation mislykkes: En analyse af forsvarets krisekommunikation i forbindelse med jægerbogsagen

Camilla Schrøder & Susanne Torpe

Student thesis: Master thesis


The present thesis argues that there is a gap between the theoretical and practical dimensions of crisis communication. It also argues that a likely explanation for said gap can be located in the concept of frames. The purpose of the thesis is to analyse why it is possible for an otherwise professional organisation to fail to execute a useful crisis communication strategy in a time of crisis. Our findings are as follows: An organisation may get “caught up” in frames as frames are very powerful and may lead the organisation to disregard the best practice of other theories. Frames, in other words, have the potential to control the actions of an entire organisation in a manner detrimental to the organisation. To demonstrate this, we subject to close scrutiny the case of the Danish Defence and its handling of the crisis triggered by the publication of Thomas Rathsack’s book Ranger – At War with the Elite in 2009. The publication of the book Ranger – At War with the Elite gave rise to the biggest scandal within the Danish military in recent years. The Danish Defence maintained that the book contained classified information and insisted that the Danish courts granted an injunction so that the book would remain unpublished. Nevertheless, the Danish newspaper Politiken released it as a supplement to its September 16th issue prior to the Danish court having ruled on the injunction. The two parties subsequently entered into a heated debate of frames; Politiken lashed out at the Danish Defence for trying to suppress a citizen’s freedom of speech while the Danish Defence claimed that the book posed a major risk to Danish national security. By reviewing carefully selected literature on crisis communication the thesis identifies a number of ideal strategies for an organisation to utilise if it finds itself in a crisis. More specifically, this review tells us what would have been the best way for the Danish Defence to deal with the crisis under scrutiny. By analysing the specific crisis communication strategies employed by the Defence we are able to identify a gap between its theoretical and practical dimensions, which suggests that the Defence did not act to the best of its interests. The thesis, furthermore, proposes that the Danish Defence did not act in accordance with what most major crisis communication theories hold to be the best way of handling a crisis as the Danish Defence was caught up in their own frame of national security. Said frame, in other words, made the Danish Defence disregard the best practice of crisis communication for which they suffered a loss of credibility in the public opinion.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages137