Industries in Turmoil: Driving Transformation During Periods of Disruption

Author(s), Title and Publication
Weber, M. S., & Monge, P. R. (2017). Industries in turmoil: Driving transformation during periods of disruption. Communication Research, 44(2), 147-176. DOI: 10.1177/0093650213514601

While newspapers have functioned as an established population within the community of news media organizations for many decades, the production process and the organizational structure of this system are transforming in notable ways. This study addressed how established populations of organizations react to the rapid introduction of new communication technology and the emergence of competing organizational forms. Specifically, the impact of digital alliances and partnerships on the long-term survival of organizations was examined by addressing the extent to which hyperlinks aid in mitigating the risks posed by new market entrants in a digital environment. The study, which analyzed 487 newspapers in the United States between 1997 and 2007, focused on hyperlinks as a communicative tool indicative of relationships between organizations and indicative of a newspaper’s willingness to engage with new organizational forms such as blogs and social media.

A total of 48 in-depth interviews were conducted at 42 different news media organizations (37 newspapers and five blogs) to gain information about the hyperlinking approaches included in the study. Additionally, to assess the transformation of news organization in an online environment, linkage data were collected from the Internet Archive utilizing a custom web crawler. Approaches to hyperlinking were broken into four quartiles based on the degree of outlinking: 1st Quartile (isolating), 2nd Quartile (somewhat-isolating), 3rd Quartile (somewhat-prolific), and 4th Quartile (prolific). The study showed that the higher the number of institutional hyperlinks maintained by online newspapers, the lower the organizational failure rate. The results suggest that those organizations that used the most prolific approach to hyperlinking had a strong negative relationship with organizational failure rates. On the other hand, those organizations with the least prolific approach to hyperlinking had a positive and significant relationship with organizational failure rates.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should (1) understand the utility of hyperlinks as a communicative tool in a digital environment, (2) always consider micro level aspects of organizational change during a process of organizational evolution, and (3) be aware that organizational mechanisms for adaptation to online environments have a clear impact on organizational evolution.

Location of Article
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Posted in [Research Library], Employee / Organizational Communication, Organizational Systems, Communications & Channels and tagged , , , .

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