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Pressure and organisational change in the digital age: Strategy transformation in response to changing environmental conditions in Swiss and UK legacy news organisations over the past decade


Lischka, Juliane A (2015). Pressure and organisational change in the digital age: Strategy transformation in response to changing environmental conditions in Swiss and UK legacy news organisations over the past decade. Working Paper August 201, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Abstract

This study investigates the relations between the corporate culture, organisational sensemaking of environmental changes, strategy responses, and market performance of news media organisations in a time of technological change and the financial crisis in the UK and Switzerland. This study asks the key question whether news media organisations should adapt quickly or incrementally to environmental change in order to remain functional to the audience and advertiser markets.
Analysis is based on longitudinal (1) qualitative content analysis of main statements and events concerning online activities per year and (2) quantitative content analysis of corporate culture, corporate sensemaking, strategic transformations, and market success statements in annual reports of three major Swiss and two major UK news media organisations from 2005 to 2013/14, i.e., the NZZ Mediengruppe, Tamedia and Ringier in Switzerland as well as the Guardian Media Group and Daily Mail and General Trust in the UK.
Findings reveal an advanced stage of online adaptation of the UK compared to Swiss news media organisations. Factors that hinder organisational change toward online activities are a stronger residual fit of print products with the audience market and a lower threat to the organisation’s revenue structure in Switzerland. Accelerating factors of organisational change are a progressive corporate culture, an opportunistic interpretation of the environment, and difficult market conditions. A bad market condition that threatens the organisation’s revenue structure functions as a catalyst for organisational change if corporate culture allows for an opportunistic interpretation of the corporate environment. However, both UK and Swiss news organisations adequately adapt to their specific environments and populations.
In conclusion, a progressive corporate culture is an important condition for a firm’s ability to adapt in a constantly changing environment and thus for its long-term survival, from a management perspective. Results also support an ecological view, revealing that pressure from the macro environment on the organisational task environment, i.e., performance on the audience and advertiser markets, eventually causes organisational change.

Abstract

This study investigates the relations between the corporate culture, organisational sensemaking of environmental changes, strategy responses, and market performance of news media organisations in a time of technological change and the financial crisis in the UK and Switzerland. This study asks the key question whether news media organisations should adapt quickly or incrementally to environmental change in order to remain functional to the audience and advertiser markets.
Analysis is based on longitudinal (1) qualitative content analysis of main statements and events concerning online activities per year and (2) quantitative content analysis of corporate culture, corporate sensemaking, strategic transformations, and market success statements in annual reports of three major Swiss and two major UK news media organisations from 2005 to 2013/14, i.e., the NZZ Mediengruppe, Tamedia and Ringier in Switzerland as well as the Guardian Media Group and Daily Mail and General Trust in the UK.
Findings reveal an advanced stage of online adaptation of the UK compared to Swiss news media organisations. Factors that hinder organisational change toward online activities are a stronger residual fit of print products with the audience market and a lower threat to the organisation’s revenue structure in Switzerland. Accelerating factors of organisational change are a progressive corporate culture, an opportunistic interpretation of the environment, and difficult market conditions. A bad market condition that threatens the organisation’s revenue structure functions as a catalyst for organisational change if corporate culture allows for an opportunistic interpretation of the corporate environment. However, both UK and Swiss news organisations adequately adapt to their specific environments and populations.
In conclusion, a progressive corporate culture is an important condition for a firm’s ability to adapt in a constantly changing environment and thus for its long-term survival, from a management perspective. Results also support an ecological view, revealing that pressure from the macro environment on the organisational task environment, i.e., performance on the audience and advertiser markets, eventually causes organisational change.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:August 2015
Deposited On:24 Sep 2015 10:30
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:25
Publisher:Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Series Name:Working Paper
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Pressure%20and%20Organisational%20Change%20in%20the%20Digital%20Age.pdf
Related URLs:https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/publication/pressure-and-organisational-change-digital-age

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