DJF: Fünf Fragen an... Lucy Küng, Professorin für Medieninnovationen

Lucy Kueng

Lucy Küng ist Professorin für Medieninnovationen an der Universität Oslo und Google Digital News Senior Research Fellow am "Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism" an der Universität Oxford. Ihr Forschungsgebiet sind Strategie- und Organisationsentwicklung mit dem Schwerpunkt Innovation von Geschäftsmodellen.

Your research is about cultural change in media organisations that go digital. What got you interested in the topic?
It’s not just about culture, but about the intertwined elements of leadership, culture and talent, and how those interplay with strategy. The social architecture of the organisation. I got interested in culture when I was Publishing Director for Random House in the UK and a number of blindingly obvious strategic initiatives were nixed by the culture - in the most subtle way. That alerted me to the huge power culture exerts in organisations. I then left publishing to do a PhD at the University of St Gallen looking at how culture drives strategy, and did deep research into the BBC and CNN for that work.

What is the biggest mistake media companies make?

In terms of culture? Probably not managing it - all acknowledge its power, but most accompany that with a sense that ’this is not really something we can do anything about’.

What is the single biggest predictor of successful digital transformation?

There’s no easy answer to that. Successful transformation rests on a system of elements that are tightly enmeshed. Excellent leadership, a smart strategy, enough of the right type of resources, timing, being able to judge challenges at the right point and design the right responses. Each successful case has different factors that led to that success.

Looking at the coronavirus crisis: Will this accelerate or stifle cultural change?

Covid-19 is accelerating the structural challenges the industry is facing, and amplifying organisational pressures. My sense is that organisations are unfrozen and open to change in a way they haven’t been for fifteen years. The issue is whether they can grasp that opportunity.

What is the most surprising finding from your latest research?

How rare media organisations that manage themselves really well are. There are some that management and organisational issues seriously - and that plays out in their performance - they are best of breed across all sectors. But in general these are issues the industry doesn’t really prioritise - and I think we can see the impact of that in its response to digital disruption.

Bild ©Julia Massey