Sustainable culture change for media companies must start at the top

In an article posted on The International News Media Association (INMA) blog on 26th May 2014, Tilmann Knoll expressed the view that, for media companies, sustainable culture change must emanate from the top. He begins his analysis by looking at culture change within the context of strategic and organisational structure.

In the context of strategy, he identifies certain external factors, such as the growth of search engines, news aggregators and social media platforms which, through the challenge that they represent to the traditional news company business model, provide the impetus for strategic change.

In terms of structure, the article goes on to identify changes such as those that are driven by the need to support the strategic shift to digital, the pace of technological development and platform changes and software evolutions, which necessarily also entail changes to organisational structures and working procedures.

Interestingly, the view is expressed that culture is frequently perceived to derive from strategy and structure, although it is acknowledged that the reverse is sometimes the case with certain cultural changes even requiring changes of structure and strategy.

The article concludes with the clear view that the only way to achieve change is from the top, through a “convinced and convincing top management”. It is vital that the managers have a shared conviction towards the common vision of change if is to be achieved and sustained. In the final analysis, the key lies in identifying managers who understand the industry changes that are taking place and have the collective vision to respond to them.

Although this interesting and engaging article was written in the context of media corporations, its fundamental premise – that change must emanate from the top of an organisation – is likely to be of universal application in the wider business community. What may provoke the most debate is the notion that it is possible to implement culture changes without corresponding changes in structure and strategy.

Article review by Mark Edwards, Adcurata.

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