The Municipality of Copenhagen Meets Generation Z on Social Networking Sites: A Case Study about the Interplay between E-government and Strategic Communication on Social Networking Sites

Mikkel Møller Rolff & Anne Sofie Woitowitz Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is based on an interest of how public organisations can apply e-government through social networking sites to optimize the use of its digital services for citizens. Related to this, the lack of Generation Z’s integration and usage of public digital service platforms, has been a focus for several public authorities in Denmark. This problem area is analysed through a case study based on the Municipality of Copenhagen, and the young citizens of the city belonging to Generation Z. Based on these thoughts the thesis took an outset from the following problem statement: which possibilities and limitations do the municipality of Copenhagen have to integrate Generation Z on public digital service platforms through strategic communication on social networking sites. Through a perspective of social constructivism, the problem statement has been examined through qualitative research methods, being 3 interviews with publicly employed professionals and 3 focus group interviews with Generation Z. Due to the use of social constructivism as paradigm, the thesis does not set out to discover a definitive conclusion in regard to answering the problem statement. Rather it demonstrates insights and tendencies in relation to the problem area. The theoretical scope of the thesis is based around 4 focus areas being e-government, strategic communication, social media and Generation Z, which are all considered relevant for the problem statement. Due to the thesis’ limitations, the analysis focused on the creation of attention and interest in the communication process, which can lead to Generation Z’s integration on the digital public platforms. In this sense, the analysis found that there exist opportunities for the Municipality of Copenhagen to integrate Generation Z on public digital service platforms, through strategic communication on the social networking sites: Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. One of the main findings was that relevant and strategic communication is necessary in order to reach Generation Z on social networking sites. The relevancy is in this context created through a focus on occasions related to the individual citizens’ current life situations. The empirical research also found, that Generation Z has a relatively negative relation, knowledge and perception of the municipality. This leads to limited opportunities for the municipality to reach Generation Z with the communication and messages. However, the analysis found 2 opportunities to get around this issue, which were to apply sponsored content on the social networking sites, or to apply young opinion leaders as senders of the communication. In spite of the mentioned opportunities, a significant limitation exists for the Municipality in terms of resources, as they currently do not prioritise strategic communication to Generation Z through social networking sites and are not likely to do so in a near future. In relation to this issue, the analysis found that Generation Z is difficult to reach through strategic communication, which therefore requires resources in order to do so. All in all, based on the thesis’ theoretical and empirical research, we found that there exist certain opportunities in relation to the problem statement. However, the limitations found are of significant matter, which means the challenges of Generation Z cannot necessarily be solved with relevant strategic communication on social networking sites.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages122
SupervisorsUrsula Plesner