Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance

Program Name/Specialization

Conflict and Security


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Alistair Edgar

Advisor Role



Many Western militaries now actively engage with various social media platforms. The starting point for my dissertation research was this question: how does the military use social media? Considering the Canadian Armed Forces’ use of Twitter as a case study, I collected over 14,000 tweets from four Twitter accounts of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Royal Canadian Air Force with some tweets as old as September 2012 and the most recent tweets from December 2015. I employed Grounded Theory Method to analyze these tweets, which revealed four themes — organization, history, preparedness, and partnership. These themes create an image of CAF as a Canadian institution and a military one, as they speak to the many war and other combat operations that the Canadian Armed Forces have engaged in at the behest of the government. A literature review conducted simultaneously with the analysis uncovered the International Relations literature on strategic narratives and the Organizational/Military Studies literature on strategic communication. The main finding is that the Canadian Armed Forces are using social media for the strategic communication of government strategic narratives because the norms of civil-military relations require the military to follow government orders and prevent the military from using social media as intended because social media tend to be political whereas the military has to be “apolitical.” The military, thus, maintains an “apolitical” image by communicating what the government wishes it to communicate, even though the government’s narrative can be political. Government strategic narratives frame organizational strategic communication, while organizational strategic communication supports government strategic narratives.

Convocation Year