Communication Media Management
by
Juan Pablo Artero Muñoz
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0089

Introduction

Media management is an interdisciplinary research area devoted to study how media organizations use scarce resources to meet the needs and wants of a given society. In other words, it is interested in the effective management of media outlets. It is consequently an academic intersection of two different social sciences: communication and business. The first published contributions since the 1930s on the business side of the media were made not by academics, but by industry professionals. In the 1960s some pioneering scholars started specializing on the topic, frequently combining research on both the business and economic aspects of the media. But it is only since the 1990s that media management has reached maturity in academic terms. Around that moment, several factors shaped the discipline into the form it now has, including the rise of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, academic associations, international conferences, specialized journals, and research centers. Media management is today an established field in Europe and America, with contributions by academics coming from both communication and business schools. They meet in international forums like the World Media Economics and Management Conference, and in meetings of groups such as the European Media Management Association or the International Media Management Academic Association. Their scholarship is published in specialized journals like the International Journal on Media Management, Journal of Media Business Studies, and Journal of Media Economics. In addition, its theoretical and methodological base has expanded rapidly in the last few decades. Research in media management is applied today to the business side of all kinds of media organizations operating in various industries, including newspaper, radio, television, film, and the Internet. From a management perspective, all functional areas are of interest for the discipline, including strategy, personnel, operations, marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship. Finally, media management research is mostly focused on global, European, and American markets. But it is also a rising discipline in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, with an increasing number of scholars coming from these world regions. However, the good coverage of media management regarding different business functions and media industries has not been followed up by enough relevant research on competencies of media managers. Aspects like leadership, motivation, decision making, planning, and ethical standards still need more attention from media management researchers.

General Overviews

The leading overview of media management as an academic field is the edited volume Albarran, et al. 2006. This work is a summary of research findings in most areas of expertise within media management. Mierzejewska 2011 provides a short introduction to the field. Artero 2015 offers a more bibliographical approach to the development of media management, examining books published since the 1930s. Küng 2007 is a good reflection on the scope and limits of the discipline, as well as providing an agenda for research. Lowe and Brown 2015 includes a good selection of chapters by scholars, mostly from European countries, looking at the common question of the specifics of media management. Scholtz 2006 makes an important attempt to give a complete overview of the German-speaking media management community. Ferguson 1997 focuses on the specific domain of inquiry of media management. Hollifield 2001 highlights the importance of transnational issues for theory and practice.

  • Albarran, Alan B., Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted, and Michael O. Wirth, eds. 2006. Handbook of media management and economics. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    E-mail Citation »

    This is the most comprehensive overview of the field of media management to date, examined jointly with media economics. Its thirty chapters are divided to issues on the economic and business aspects of the media. It is more suitable for postgraduate courses, as it basic focus is on advanced research.

  • Artero, Juan P. 2015. Economía y empresa de comunicación: Escuelas académicas y periodos de desarrollo. Austral Comunicación 4:11–40.

    E-mail Citation »

    This is a bibliographical overview of key contributions published in books to media management and economics in the last eight decades. It collects 350 references, dividing them into three periods of discipline development: introduction (1930–1959), growth (1960–1989), and maturity (1990–2015).

  • Ferguson, Douglas. 1997. The domain of inquiry for media management researchers. In Media management review. Edited by Charles Warner, 177–183. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    E-mail Citation »

    This chapter determines five reasons why media industries are different from others: they are often larger than life, they operate in a fishbowl, they lack unique expertise in the eye of consumers, they manage creativity, and they are webs of gatekeeping. Such issues provide a specific theoretical framework for media management.

  • Hollifield, C. Ann. 2001. Crossing borders: Media management research in a transnational market environment. Journal of Media Economics 14:133–146.

    DOI: 10.1207/S15327736ME1403_1E-mail Citation »

    This paper assesses how important transnational management issues are for media corporations, especially when they move overseas and have to face cultural issues. The conclusion is that research on transnational media management has been fragmented, and Hollifield calls for a better understanding of the phenomenon by researchers.

  • Küng, Lucy. 2007. Does media management matter? Establishing the scope, rationale, and future research agenda for the discipline. Journal of Media Business Studies 4:21–39.

    DOI: 10.1080/16522354.2007.11073444E-mail Citation »

    This revision paper provides a good state-of-the–art view of media management as an academic field. It explains the main traditions that have shaped it historically, as well as concentrating on the media organization as the central study object of the discipline. The article recommends moving to broader theoretical and methodological perspectives.

  • Lowe, Gregory F., and Charles Brown, eds. 2015. Managing media firms and industries: What’s so special about media management? Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.

    E-mail Citation »

    This volume sheds light on two basic issues. First, it is an assesment of media management research to date. Second, it points out the differential skills needed to manage in media business compared to other economic sectors. Good material for postgraduate courses, because of its structure and focus.

  • Mierzejewska, Bozena. 2011. Media management in theory and practice. In Managing media work. Edited by Mark Deuze, 13–30. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    E-mail Citation »

    This chapter is a concise overview of the main theories used in media management research. It looks at strategic management, structural theories, transnational media management, organizational culture, technology and innovation, and leadership. It provides a good introduction to research traditions in the field.

  • Scholtz, Christian, ed. 2006. Handbuch Medienmanagement. Berlin: Springer.

    E-mail Citation »

    A good account of media management research in Germany, with the participation of the most prominent academics. Wide in scope, it covers topics from all functional areas of the media business.

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