Institutional Leadership, Innovation, and Organizational Change During Technical Transitions: A Study of Digital Transformation in Public Radio
Hansen, Elizabeth Anne Marie
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CitationHansen, Elizabeth Anne Marie. 2019. Institutional Leadership, Innovation, and Organizational Change During Technical Transitions: A Study of Digital Transformation in Public Radio. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation explores how the pursuit of mission affects the process of innovation in a public service organization facing digital change. The dynamics of how firms manage innovation under conditions of technical change are well understood. Successful innovation is shaped by how well a firm can adapt to changes in product architecture and market demand. Less well understood are the dynamics of managing innovation inside public service organizations whose multiple stakeholders, diffuse missions, and unique characters make identifying products, outcomes, and goals very difficult. To shed light on this question, this dissertation employs the findings of a 15-month ethnography of digital innovation in a local public radio station. I examine in depth the station’s launching of a semi-autonomous innovation unit, the redesign of its main web platform, its crafting of a digital revenue strategy, and its creation of a managerial metrics dashboard. My analysis focuses on the challenges of creating digital innovation in a broadcast organization, and on the relationship between the station’s public service mission and its innovation efforts. I supplement my ethnographic findings with historical analysis of the evolution of the public service mission in American public radio broadcasting from its early years through the current podcasting renaissance. I further contextualize my ethnographic findings in a review of the literature on the changing values and practices of digital journalism. My findings shed light on the relationship between institutional leadership and innovation in public service contexts, and on the challenges of creating digital change in legacy news media organizations.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029776
- FAS Theses and Dissertations 
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