Financial institutions in social media; Deliver traditional services in new channels: A case study of Danske Bank

Hege Aasheim & Ingrid Stensønes

Student thesis: Master thesis


Facebook has close to 800 million users. With this enormous popularity, even financial institutions have started to show an interest for this platform. This is a paradox as Facebook is an open and transparent medium, while banks offer complex and personal products concerning peoples’ economy. This makes the issue of banks in social media particularly interesting. Danske Bank and their Facebook usage, is the subject for a single case study in this research. The chosen problem formulation is therefore: “What are financial institutions doing in the online space of Facebook?” Subsequently, a more specific question is answered: “How fit is the technology of Facebook for Danske Bank, in regard to deliver a service, taking the richness of the medium into consideration?” The focus is thus on the fit between banking services and Facebook. The research starts out with looking into the context of the social media landscape and characteristics for the banking industry. Then the applied theories of “task technology fit”, “media richness theory” and service theories are looked into. The service characteristics are adapted and revised in order to reflect the needs of a bank, and each characteristic is being analyzed separately against Facebook in order to determine the fit. The service characteristics that will be looked into are: intangibility, contactability, accessibility and perishability. This result in a new, revised model called “Financial Services Fit Model”. This model derives from the three established theories, and will be used to analyze the data material. Due to the single case design, generalization on financial institution’s Facebook usage could not be made. However, through the research, it was found that Danske Bank uses Facebook for interaction and communication with customers. The fit for using Facebook to overcome the service characteristics also turned out to be high, due to the richness of the medium. The transparency does however limit the usage to a certain degree. It is argued that Danske Bank does not take full advantage of the medium’s opportunities, which testifies the need for more research and knowledge on the topic. Nevertheless, Facebook provide a valuable arena for interaction with customers, in times where technology and self- service dominate.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages117