When SKAT Go Online

Patrick Hove Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This dissertation focuses on the Danish tax authority SKAT and their use of social media. With a systems theoretical approach to the issue, I will examine how social media creates a new way to understand SKAT and their surrounding world.
This thesis will analyze the new means of communication that social media facilitates and the managerial challenges it brings for the organization.
By creating new social media channels SKAT can bypass their traditionally conceived image and communicate in a much more service-minded approach. Additionally, SKAT is now open to various different topics and themes that were not possible before social media. The dialogue is primarily about general topics in regard to taxation, but also about unfamiliar topics such as charity, constructive criticism and work life at SKAT. Their surrounding world, the taxpayers, are being portrayed as somewhat equal standing friends of SKAT on social media, and their mutual relation is now collective, with a polyphonic participation.
Remarkably this interaction that SKAT desires is built on strange premises.
By inviting taxpayers to engage in personal interactions, with the use of a personal semantics, they can produce expectations that can also address SKAT in a personal form. However, as soon as taxpayers address SKAT with personal issues, SKAT becomes blunt and unsympathetic. The communication strategy seems to be a one-way stream where SKAT opens up in general communication but does reciprocate when taxpayers use the same approach. This interaction which aims to be personal but ends up being impersonal leads to a paradoxical interaction.
The interaction gives, according to SKATs communication strategy, the possibility to produce information about their organization and receive constructive criticism to improve the general tax payment system in Denmark. It also gives SKAT the opportunity to become more personal with updates of employees photos on their social media profiles. However, this thesis demonstrates that the interaction creates challenges for SKAT, which did not exist before. This is because the interaction exists in conjunction with organized traditional communication methods thus producing a formation of expectations that is contrasting the existing structure.
This dissertation questions SKAT’s presence on the social media channels, with a reflection about whether their presence is producing more or less confusion to the essential recipient of their communication strategy: the taxpayers.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2016
Number of pages84
SupervisorsAnders la Cour