Paradoxes of Strategic Renewal in Traditional Print-Oriented Media Firms

Sven-Ove Horst, Johanna Moisander

Abstract


This article continues and extends the emerging scholarship of strategic media management by examining the day-to-day challenges that media managers face when managing strategic renewal in traditional print-oriented media firms. The aim, in particular, is to shed light on the tensions and paradoxical situations that middle managers need to deal with in contexts where taken-for-granted industry recipes and well-established business practices have become problematized as a result of industry-wide technological and cultural change. Based on an empirical case study, the article identifies and elaborates on three interconnected paradoxes, rooted in the history of the company and past decisions of its top-management: (1) balancing employees’ needs for stability with organizational needs for change; (2) bridging employees’ needs for security and tradition and the organizational need for learning and taking risks; as well as (3) reconciling employees’ needs to “focus on themselves” with organizational needs to collaborate for collective success. Theoretically, the article contributes to the literature by working toward a new paradox perspective on managing strategic renewal in media organizations. This theoretical perspective is offered as an interpretive framework for empirically exploring and critically examining the dynamics and complexities of strategic media management in the continuously changing business environments of the industry.

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