Effects of Social Media on the Communication Model and Legitimacy of the Swiss Armed Forces

Saturday, 21 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Olivia SCHNEIDER, Military Academy at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Eva MOEHLECKE DE BASEGGIO, Military Academy at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Jennifer Victoria SCURRELL, Military Academy at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland
In a democracy, political processes and decisions need transparence which can be realized by communication. It is also a prime means to gain legitimacy, reputation and trust (Deverell et al. 2014). In recent decades there has been a change in communication behaviour and models.

Therefore the Military Academy at the ETH Zurich is analyzing the social media behaviour and impact of the Swiss Armed Forces by using the method of qualitatively oriented quantifying content analysis. Three different models are analyzed:

The old public administration (OPM) provides information about government decisions without protectorate or preferential treatment. Citizens get relevant information by top-down and one-way communication in order to align the government with its citizens (Brainard & Mc Nutt 2010).

The New Public Management (NPM) seeks marketization and outsourcing of core services like in the private sector (Möltgen & Pipke 2009). Perception and impression count more than objective facts. Citizens are considered as costumers. The aim of the NPM is to work on its particular brand and its reputation. The focus is on single demands and individual interests. Thereby the public administration endangers democratic values like transparence and impartiality.

The New Public Service (NPS) does no longer rely on reputation but is oriented towards participation, collaboration and deliberation. The citizens should be supported in articulating their common interests in a pluralistic society. By facilitating participation, democracy and a responsible government are fostered. Citizens discuss common values cooperatively to find answers for relevant problems of the public interest (Robinson 2015). As a result democratic legitimacy of political processes increases. The armed forces should be open for public deliberation. Social media provide a chance for this as they facilitate information and participation simultaneously.