Vol. 1 No. 1 (2020)
Research Articles

Successful Exploration: Organisational Ambidexterity and Performance in News Media Firms

François Pierre Nel
University of Central Lancashire
Coral Milburn-Curtis
University of Oxford
Katja Lehtisaari
University of Helsinki
Nordic Journal of Media Management 1(1)

Published 01-03-2020


  • organisational ambidexterity, media innovation, entrepreneurship, newspapers, performance

How to Cite

Nel, F. P., Milburn-Curtis, C., & Lehtisaari, K. (2020). Successful Exploration: Organisational Ambidexterity and Performance in News Media Firms. Nordic Journal of Media Management, 1(1), 45–62. https://doi.org/10.5278/njmm.2597-0445.3495


This paper sheds light on the distinctive nature of entrepreneurial-oriented behaviours in news media firms by: (1) reconsidering conceptualisations of exploitation and exploration in the industry in order to provide further clarity to Organisational Ambidexterity (OA) measures; (2) offering a multidimensional construct for success of innovations that combines both objective and perceptual measures to allow direct comparisons; (3) drawing on data from a longitudinal study into the decision making of news media executives worldwide that provides historical and industry contexts; and (4) testing whether there are significant differences between the OA priorities of leaders at firms that report successes versus those who report poor performances. The investigation draws on the statistical analysis of original data collected from 1438 individuals in 107 countries. Though the results are based on a large sample, there still are limitations to the research, since the sample was self-selected, and the analysis methodology cross-sectional. However, objectivity was ensured through rigorous quantitative analysis, based upon strict significance testing. This study provides alternative definitions of exploitation and exploration and tests the relationships between them and the performance of news media firms. In so doing, it answers both the specific appeal for greater clarity of OA measures, as well as calls to test and expand existing theory in various contexts, and to develop theory that is directly pertinent to media management science.