Michael Jennewein


Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ringa Raudla, Prof. Dr. Robert Krimmer

Opponent: Dr. Noella Edelmann

Defense: 19 January 2022


Abstract: This thesis contains a discourse analysis of the evolution of the coordinative policy discourse of Austrian governments since 1999. The analysis builds on Marenco & Seidl’s (2020) opportunity-threat typology of national digital discourses and looks at five central digitalisation challenges: (1) digital infrastructure, (2) public administration reform, (3) assisting the economy, (4) skills & research, and (5) rights in the digital space. Methodologically, word frequency analysis and inductive coding are used to analyse Austrian government programmes (GP) as a proxy of coordinative discourse between government policymakers. The analysis finds five central elements of the Austrian government digitalisation policy discourse: (1) Austrian digitalisation discourse is opportunity-focussed, most notably on economic competitiveness, (2) 2017 marks a paradigm change in the Austrian policy discourse starting to conceptualise digitalisation as an all-pervasive phenomenon, (3) reduced bureaucracy and increased efficiency are the major discursive values across time and government composition, (4) investments in digital skills and research have only been addressed recently, posing a challenge to future digitalisation efforts, and (5) the analysis renders no evidence that the digital national coordinative discourse correlates with political parties perception of digitalisation.


Keywords: Digitalisation, discourse analysis