Strategisk autenticitet i politisk kommunikation: En analyse af SRSF-regeringens troværdighed i formidlingen af skatte- og dagpengereformen

Malene Petersen & Rasmus Johan Heinesen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Various polls indicate that Danish politicians’ credibility is steadily declining. The aim of this thesis is to investigate which communicative challenges the Danish government faces in terms of appearing credible in the dissemination of the current socio-economic reforms. In order to identify and categorize these challenges, Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis is applied on four prominent ministers’ communication regarding the tax and benefit reform. These theoretic results are compared with the voters’ current expectations towards political communication. This comparison demonstrates a significant gap between politicians’ and voters’ perception of trustworthy political communication. The critical discourse analysis concludes that there is a tendency towards a self-assured form of communication with a high degree of affinity among all of the selected politicians. Furthermore, when asked a critical question, rhetorical evasive manoeuvres are used in order to shift social discourses and trust discourses to long-term growth discourses. The social practise-dimension concludes that politicians’ discursive logic, to a great extent, relies on the communication paradigm introduced by Anders Fogh Rasmussen in 2001. This paradigm met the increasingly mediatized reality that changed the conditions for effective political communication. The paradigm was characterized by a more professionalized communication, including complexity reduced messages, repetition, and political mudslinging. This thesis argues that this strategy is still evident today. The voters’ social practise on the other hand seems to have shifted along with the cultural implications. Especially the authenticity tendency that has affected organizational theory, branding, mainstream television formats, lifestyle etc. presumably has an impact on the voters’ expectations towards the political arena. This discrepancy is further addressed in a leadership analysis, which problematizes the abovementioned gap between politicians and voters. The pivotal point in this part of the analysis is Fairhurst’s research in modern leadership including the demands leaders face in today’s ever changing environment. Finally, the thesis argues that the increasing distance between politicians’ and voters’ understanding of effective communication is destabilizing the paradigm under which the relationship between politicians and voters unfolds. An increased awareness of - and implementation of - the voters’ discursive and cultural reality in the political communication is therefore essential in order to meet the communication challenges the government faces in the future. The thesis’ recommendations point at the concept of “strategic authenticity” as a basis for a new communication paradigm, which will meet the Danish voters’ expectations to a greater extent.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages184