Organisational culture of public service media: People, values and processes

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Project overview

The three year international project (2015-18) is funded by the National Science Center of Poland (NCN). The aim is to study the phenomenon of aggregations of city-based high technology firms, particularly those able to support creative media clusters. Our hypothesis is the continuing convergence of media, communications, and other creative forms calls for new alliances and partnerships. Fluctuating socio-economic conditions and digital production practices require adaptive institutional structures and processes. For the public service project to prosper in such conditions indicates adjustments to the organisational frameworks that are currently found in public service media firms.

What we are doing

We are critically examining the internal organisational systems of ten cities in North America and Europe. Each have a growing cluster of creative firms – often small to medium-sized businesses but not exclusively. These clusters of creative businesses are experimenting with technology.

North America:

  • Austin (USA)
  • Boston/Cambridge (USA)
  • Detroit (USA)
  • Toronto (Canada)

Europe:

  • London (UK)
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Tallinn (Estonia)
  • Warsaw (Poland)

We are finding that there are many networks, hubs, and partnerships within each cluster. This corroborates the work of other researchers such as Karlsson and Picard (2011), and Creativeworks London (http://www.creativeworkslondon.org.uk). Each aggregation of workers considers community to be a binding agent. The growing existence of ‘co-working spaces’ is evident, and these are being increasingly industrialised; it is a profitable endeavour. Co-working is not new, having come from the shared studio environments of artists and craftsmen. Work is often project-based, using agile project management techniques. It is this organisational culture that we are interested in studying, for the direct benefit of leaders and managers of the public service enterprise.

Public Service Media

Our findings indicate that firms who launched after the popularisation of the internet are more likely to be fully adapted to the production and distribution of media via the Web. Public service media firms, in contrast, often have an internet department that is responsible for the website. There is often little integration between the ‘broadcast’ and ‘new media’ production divisions. We believe this is due to the largely Fordist nature of broadcast production being counter to the project-based, more fluid, approaches of the web-based media teams. How to either integrate the two or find ways to blend the Fordist and post-Fordist models will be one of the questions the project hopes to answer.

Methodology

We are using mixed methods (interviews, observations and analysis of documents and news reports) to analyse our case study; the phenomenon of high technology clusters. In each city we are looking at the internal organisational culture such as the skills-base, customs, values, and practices. We are also looking at the ‘connective tissue’ of the cluster: the knowledge exchange systems, internet and cloud services, social spaces (cafes/pubs/hangouts), travel systems, and partnership structures (museums, galleries, universities). Lastly, we will consider the contextual factors such as the geographical location and the national and local policy affecting the growth and stability of each cluster.

The project objectives

  • To examine the internal culture and practices of high-end technology clusters.
  • To identify the people, values, and processes evident in such creative aggregations that might enable public service media to operate effectively as creative public service media clusters.