Digital Transformations: Tensions and responsibilities in the media

MEDIT welcomes everyone interested in current dynamics in the media industries to join a seminar with visiting colleagues from LUT University. How do media companies renew their competences, managerial practices and explore as well as implement new business models? What tensions arise in the process of digital transformation, and how do companies manage and resolve these tensions? How do companies connect journalistic and business responsibilities? Come and listen to what our Finnish colleagues have found out, and join our discussion!

11/25/2019 - 10:00 - 11.45

Media Seminar at MEDIT

Media Seminar at MEDIT


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10:00 Start of the event
10:10 Welcome note and chair (Ulrike Rohn)
10:15 Päivi Maijanen From print to digital: A case study of digital transformation in the regional media (20 minutes + 10 minutes of Q&A)
10:45 Paavo Ritala Tensions of ambidextrous change in a media organization (20 minutes + 10 minutes of Q&A) 
11:15 Laura Olkkonen Journalistic and business responsibilities—match or mismatch? (20 minutes + 10 minutes of Q&A) 

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From print to digital: A case study of digital transformation in the regional media


This longitudinal case study in a Finnish regional media company analyzes how the company renews it competences, managerial practices and explores and implements new business models. The applied theoretical approach is based on such concepts as ambidexterity, capabilities, organizational tensions and managerial and organizational cognition. The study provides insights of good managerial practices in enhancing organizational change capacity.


Päivi Maijanen, D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Admin.), is Post-Doctoral Researcher at the School of Business and Management at the LUT University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland and a visiting scholar in the University of Tallinn. Her research interests are focused on strategic management and organizational change, and in particular, on issues related to media management and digital transformation. Before strating in academia, she had a long career as a journalist and manager at the Finnish Broadcasting Company.  

Tensions of ambidextrous change in a media organization


Technological transformations such as digitalization creates major tensions for managers pursuing to retain the current sources of competitiveness, while innovating new ones. In this environment, companies need to be “ambidextrous” – able to handle both exploration and exploitation at the same time. In this study, we analyze a longitudinal single-case study of a regional media company undergoing a major digital transformation. We examine the variety of tensions arising from the ambidexterity demands faced by the managers in the company, the ways how the company pursues to manage these tensions, and finally, how managers are able to revolve those tensions over time. We find evidence of contextual simultaneity, path-dependence, structural heterogeneity and resource scarcity –related tensions. Each of these tension types are either retained, reinforced, or resolved over time as the organization changes. We also find that the tension resolution takes place both due to deliberate organizational arrangements aimed to manage ambidextrous demands, as well as through evolutionary mechanisms such as experiential learning in the individual level, as well as improvements in the capability-environment fit. The results contribute to our understanding of the organizational tensions emerging from the ambidextrous demands of digitalization and other social and technological transformations.


Paavo Ritala, D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm.), is a Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the School of Business and Management at LUT University, Finland. His research and teaching focus broadly on organizational renewal, collaborative innovation, as well as sustainable value creation. His research has been published in journals such as Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Industrial and Corporate Change, British Journal of Management, R&D Management and Technovation. He is also closely involved with business practice over these topics through company-funded research projects, executive and professional education programs, and in speaker and advisory roles. Prof. Ritala currently serves as an Associate Editor of R&D Management.

Journalistic and business responsibilities—match or mismatch?


Media organizations serve a distinct societal role in society, yet they also influence societies as businesses. Therefore, the full range of responsibilities for media organizations extends to include issues that deal with both journalism and business, which can be integrated with the lens of corporate social responsibility. Based on an analysis of responsibility reporting of five largest media companies in Finland, the companies are shown to adopt either “dual thinking” where corporate social responsibility and journalism ethics do not meet, a “semi-integrative” approach where some connections are made, or an “integrative forerunner” role that makes meaningful connections between journalistic and business responsibilities. 


Laura Olkkonen (PhD, Docent) is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Business and Management at LUT University, Finland. Her expertise is in stakeholder relations and corporate social responsibility. She has published her research on corporate social responsibility in the media sector in the Journal of Media Business Studies, the Journal of Media Ethics, and Corporate Communications: An International Journal.