Change, family business, television

Posted on 7 Ιουνίου , 2006


Author: Apostolos Tsorakis 

The Television Business and contemporary trends

The television operations can be modeled, according to Slack et al (1995), as the processing of input transformed resources such as: sitcoms, one hour dramas, live shows, news, and sports etc. which are being utilized by the input transforming resources such as: studios, cameras, staff, hardware etc. to be scheduled for broadcasting along with: channel ID’s, interstitials, trailers and advertisements
Content is created in studios, newsrooms, and by specialty producers. The channels nowadays are delivered over a variety of networks— cable, satellite, terrestrial, and recently via broadband Internet. The audience that gathers around the content is attractive to third parties such as advertisers.

About five years ago some broadcast group owners began to see that the trends in the industry would never reverse and sought ways to cut costs to stall the decline in broadcast cash flow and began to toy with the idea of moving air operations to centralized sites, with the thought that the savings in labor would be more than the cost of interconnection lines. Simply defined, central casting is the management of various aspects of broadcast operations, including technical, accounting, and programming support for multiple broadcast facilities from a central location usually supported by digital technologies.

Targeting to the opposite of the central casting model, matrix organizational structures as Graham (2002) point out attempt to combine the benefits of decentralization (e.g. closeness to markets, speed of decision-making and implementation) with those of co-ordination (e.g. achieving synergies across business units, territories and products).

The Family business culture

It has been observed that, both in Greece as well as in international level, many family groups own significant portion of interests in the media industry. Mandel describes that the complexity of family business is appropriate to be examined from various perspectives of management, psychology, and finance. Family businesses are different because the principals make decisions based on the complex interaction among business, family, and ownership systems. (Mandel, 2001) There are though some differences among family businesses due to the degree of inclination of business-first or a family-first philosophy (Cromie et al., 1995).

Family businesses furthermore foster clan culture which assumes that people can be better managed through teamwork and employee development, customers are conceived as partners, the organization is a friendly work environment and the major task of management is to empower employees and facilitate their participation, commitment and loyalty. The leader is parent-figure, team-builders, facilitators and supporters. The company is held together by loyalty or tradition.

Change Literature

What makes change a particularly complex situation is mainly the fact that it involves the organization as a whole: each company acts as a complete mechanism and none of the parts can be seen in isolation; on the contrary each piece adds to the balance of the system and has to be given special attention.  Change therefore, cannot be broken into small pieces. Managing balance means connecting all the pieces and balancing them in such a way so that to achieve the set goals. (Duck, 1993)

Many researchers have tried to identify the change management errors that may lead a change initiative to a disaster. Kotter (1996) argues that the first things managers have to do are: establish a great sense of urgency about the need for change, and then assemble a group of people powerful enough to lead the change effort. Taking these first two steps in the wrong direction may condemn the whole effort. Lacking of vision, and under-communicating the vision, are two of the most common errors managers do.

Other researchers argue that the effectiveness of organizational change is a function of the extent to which employees are motivated and enabled to implement organizational initiatives. (Engleman and Ven, 2002). This means that in order for change to succeed people are important: not only they should be adequately informed and persuaded about the need for change but they should also be provided with an “enabling context”. As “enabling context” one can define the necessary elements within the organization that will support the change efforts and which managers have to make sure they are there when attempting to enact change, those are: corporate values and vision, cooperation and trust, effective leadership and rewards & recognition. (Kotter, 1996)

From the employees’ point of view, change is disruptive because it upsets the balance. (Strebel, 1996). Adding to the above the fact that change involves the organization as a whole and that for change to occur in any organization, each person must think, feel or do something different, (Duck, 1993) it is easily being understood that change destroys established equilibrium while managers and employees need to navigate the turmoil of metamorphosis.

For many people the first reaction to change will be unhappiness, resistance, and possible attempted rejection, the cycle of change though has a number of clear and distinct stages: Denial – typical first reaction, Defiance and rejection – the disbelief aspect of denial, Acceptance – gradual acceptance, Adapting – learning about the new system and Adoption – partially acceptance of the change as an improvement and not as dissolve of previous arrangements. (Kerley, 2003)

Power in organizations

The concept of human societies and human organizations entails the concept of power in a wide range of interpretations. Power is seen as the ability to influence, an ability to affect, an ability to mobilize, a capacity to exert influence, the ability to employ sanctions and so on. There is a range of definitions that the meaning of power, influence control, domination, and authority are not sharply cut off from one another. (Pheby, 2004)

One of the major theories of power, exchange theory, has as its central assertion in the exchange theory as it appears in economics and has been the notion of the market that is called catallaxy A catallaxy is a market order without planned ends, characterized by the ‘spontaneous order’ which emerges when individuals pursue their own ends within a framework set by law and tradition. From this perspective, there are two requirements necessary to sustain catallaxy: a) then need to enforce agreements to guard against the excesses of egoism and b) the need to prevent monopoly in order to maintain competition. Having these two conditions satisfied, power relations follow a free process of exchange.  (Hayek, 1982)

Given that the organisations comprises of humans, there are numerous combinations that might occur in practice as a result of their interactions in the way they manage change since people are apparently reluctant debtors but willing lenders. A person who supplies services to others obliges them to provide some return. If those who accept his services cannot provide any acceptable return, they must, in order to fulfil obligations and to ensure continuance of supplies, comply with his wishes, in other words submit to his power. (Lively cited in Pheby, 2004)

Cromie S., Stephenson B. and Monteith D., (1995) The Management of Family Firms: An Empirical Investigation, International Small Business Journal, 13, pp11-34.

Detert, J. R. (2000), A Framework for Linking Culture and Improvement Initiatives in Organizations, Academy of Management Review, vol.25, issue 4, p850.

Duck, J.D. (1993), Managing Change The Art of Balancing, Harvard Business Review on Change, HBS Press (1998)

Engleman, R. and Van de Ven, A. (2002), Motivating and Enabling Conditions of Effective Organizational Change,

Hayek, F. A. (1982), Law, Legislation and Liberty London, 1982

Kerley, R., (2003),  Management of Change, University of Strathclyde Graduate School of Business, 2003

Kotter, J.P. (1996),  “Leading Change, Why Transformation Efforts Fail”, Harvard Business Review on Change, HBS Press (1998)

Mandel, S., The business journal of the Greater Triad Area website: Much can be learned from family business strategies, website:

Pheby, K., (2004), Power and organizations, University of Strathclyde Graduate School of Business, 2004

Slack et al (1995) Operations Management, Pitman Publishing: London

Strebel, P. (1996), Why Do Employees Resist Change? Harvard Business Review on Change, HBS Press (1998), p.141

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