“Organisational Culture of Public Service Media: People, Values and Processes” (2015–2019)

Project report by Michal Glowacki and Lizzie Jackson



From 2015–2019 Dr Michał Głowacki and Professor Lizzie Jackson have been investigating the internal organisational cultures often successful high technology clusters in North America and Europe. The project aimed to identify the strategies and organisational culture of firms operating within such clusters to inform the evolution of public service media worldwide. The researchers also included the nearest public service media outlet to each cluster in the investigation. “Organisational Culture of Public Service Media: People, Values and Processes” examined four high technology clusters in North America: Austin (Texas), Boston/Cambridge (Massachusetts), Detroit (Michigan) and Toronto (Canada), and six in Europe; London (UK), Warsaw (Poland), Copenhagen (Denmark), Brussels (Belgium), Tallinn (Estonia), and Vienna (Austria). The project was funded by the National Science Centre of Poland (Narodowe Centrum Nauki, NCN). It was also supported by the University of Warsaw (Poland) and London South Bank University (UK).

Glowacki Jackson cover 1

The question was to identify what people, values and processes should Public Service Media (PSM) develop in order to complete with commercial media firms within a highly volatile media market. It was clear there is an urgent need for the holistic adaptation of the organisational culture of Public Service Media. Without adaptation, there is likely to be a decline in the ability of PSM to survive within this fast-evolving contemporary media and communications production and distribution landscape.

150 semi-structured interviews, 500+ photographs of observational neighbourhood and office ‘walkabouts’ were augmented with grey literature (such as City Hall strategies and news reports). To introduce the findings presented here in a report tailored for industry: six highly linked and inter-woven organisational-cultural characteristics were evident in High Technology clusters. These contrast, sometimes significantly, with the organisational culture of Public Service Media:

  1. High Technology clusters are aggregations of large, medium and small firms with associated university departments in proximity. Small firms are often aggregated in co-working spaces that may also offer acceleration and incubation facilities. All firms and facilities promote intense knowledge-sharing in contrast to PSM firms that are largely internally-focused.
  2. There was a lack of entrepreneurialism in PSM in comparison to the successful high technology firms. Finding ways of partnering with small to medium-sized businesses situated within co-working spaces could assist the growth of an entrepreneurial culture within PSM.
  3. The formal structure of a Corporation as found in most PSM is counter to the agile working necessary for services delivered via data-driven platforms.
  4. The more successful co-working spaces are beginning to use a social science approach to the workplace. Each area on each floor has been specifically designed to support different kinds of activity whether it be a café or bar (networking), reconfigurable desk and project spaces (agile teams), communication booths, roof gardens and ‘chill-out’ spaces (for relaxation), and bicycle parks (for wellbeing).
  5. One of the most significant new roles found universally within the co-working spaces of high technology clusters is the Community Manager. They run networking evenings, working breakfasts and lunches, and schedule training in order to create a fundamentally pro-social work culture. The reason for this is the criticality of supporting the trust relationships necessary for a small project working where different creative and technologists work quickly to develop and test minimum viable product or services. Project work also blends face to face and online remote working, which requires deeper, cross-cultural, understanding.
  6. Successful high technology clusters are likely to have access to cheap transport, fast internet, and characterful industrial-age warehouse buildings. Developed relationships with in-proximity university research departments amplify the knowledge-exchange necessary to adapt to continually changing market conditions. Pro-active stimulation by City Hall, for example, through the creation of Creative Corridors, Creative Districts, and Media Cities where PSM could flourish, if the organisational-cultural aspects can be adapted, could also assist PSM growth.

The Project Report is available for free download in the Findings section of the project website: www.creativemediaclusters.com.

The website also offers insights on project methodology, and ongoing and future research initiatives and publications.

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