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MDSA01H3 (310)
Chapter 3


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Media Studies
Michael Petit

MDSA01 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA STUDIES CHAPTER 3 – ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS  Most mainstream media products are highly formulaic  One explanation as to why music videos seem so homogeneous is that it lies in the logic of safety and desire to guarantee success by minimizing risk  An organization is more than the mere arrangement of disparate parts Organizational Theory: An Overview  It is important to understand what happens at a workplace, and how what happens there influences an organization’s services and products  Our work lives are most centrally defined by whom we work with and for  Organizations: A system (network) of ordered relationships and coordinated activities directed toward specific goals  Organizations have two basic dimensions o Structure: The underlying framework that shapes an organizations over time and includes three key elements  Hierarchy: The specific arrangement of job roles and positions based upon authority within an organization  Differentiation and Specialization: The division of companies into units, departments, and positions, each of which performs specific tasks. Filled with professionals  Professionals: Individuals who possess expertise in a particular area of field that allows them to accomplish the distinctive tasks of their position  Formalization: The degree to which specific practices must conform to accepted organizational and professional conventions o Process: Reflects the actual substance built upon that framework of the structure of an organization o “Container and thing contained” Assessing Communicative Practices  Every organization develops a unique organization culture: The set(s) of norms and customs, artifacts and events, and values and assumptions that emerge as a consequence of organizational members’ communicative practices  Communicative practices are dynamic, contingent, and transactional not static, universal, or bounded, but complex, improvisational and continuous  To understand organizational culture one must look at its communicative practices in local, social, and historical contexts o Why, when, where, and how they occur o Whether or not they are ignored o Whether or not they are legitimate and/or challenged by members  Performance: Expressive displays that carry symbolic significance in a particular context o Expressive (productive and purposeful) o Displays (process and product) o Symbolic Significance (meaning and implication) a. Rituals: Those personal or organizational behaviours that members engage in on a regular or routine basis. 1 | P a g e MDSA01 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA STUDIES i. Personal: Not necessitated by job ii. Organizational: Necessitated by job b. Sociality: A second type of performance refers to the code of etiquette that is enacted with regard to friendliness, small talk, joking, and privacy within an organization. c. Politics: Performed differently in every organization and influence the type and degree of independence, negotiating, and coalition building that are acceptable d. Enculturation: Emphasizes those “communicative performances wherein the newcomer learns the social knowledge and skills of the culture”.  Narratives: Stories are a ubiquitous feature of organizations, and the stories members tell about their workplace experiences are another way to evaluate the endless (re)creation of an organization’s culture. o Selectiveness of stories shows the organization’s values and norms, as with the frequency and manners in which stories are told 1. Personal Stories: Those that convey individual subjective experiences 2. Collegial Stories: Those told about the organization members 3. Corporate Stories: Those told about the organization itself o These story types can affirm or discourage certain attitudes and activities within a culture  Glorifying success  Accentuate failure  Textual: Another means of examining and organization’s culture is through the texts it produces. o Formal texts identify what are considered to be acceptable and unacceptable actions and activities within and organization o There are also informal texts o Examine differences between formal and informal texts  Management: How organizational culture is developed and directed by managers for the purpose of improving operating efficiencies, enhancing the bottom line or creating satisfied customers. o Evaluate the political consequences of managerial practices o How specific management structures and practices influences the character of products and the QWL  Technology: Influences organizational members’ work roles and work relationships o The environment in which one does their job  Professional Culture: Set(s) of norms and customers, artifacts and events, and values and assumptions that emerge as a consequence of formal training, membership and participation, and recognition within a profession. Characteristics of Conventions  Conventions: Describe the norms that govern the technical and creative choices made by workers in the execution of their duties, art or craft. o Operates at various levels  Unit  Department level  Corporate level  Occupational or professional level o Practical to abide by  Motivated o Appears arbitrary, but conventions are developed for a need 2 | P a g e MDSA01 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA STUDIES o Conventions are motivated and not random o There is always a purpose  Shared o Not all practices becomes conventions o Conventions are shared  Naturalized o Largely invisible o Conventions are the norm, so workers abide by them unconsciously  Resilient o Conventions tend to endure over time o Not fixed or static  Directive o Conventions sanction or authorize some practices and behaviours and discourage or disapprove of others o Unspoken guidelines or rules Professionalization  Existence and operation of professional conventions leads to professionalization: The process by which an individual with free will and choice is transformed into an ideological subject whose behaviours and actions reaffirm one’s status as a professional  Internalization of professional conventions as common sense o Profit motive o Practicality The News Media: An In-Depth Case Study  Media organizations constrain the practices and the projects of media workers  Before newspapers, there were broadsides o Politically critical  Public Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic o First newspaper published in USA o Banned after a single issue (September 25, 1690)  In the 1700s, the broadsides and newspapers challenged British authority o Stamp Act: Newspapers to have a stamp tax to generate revenue for the British government  Thomas Jefferson: Newspapers were vital to an informed public and a healthy democracy  Partisan Press: Sympathetic toward or even funded by particular political parties and interests  Slowly shifted to human interest pieces  Muckracking: Journalism interested in scandal, corruption and sensational headlines  Yellow Journalism: A style that lacked any sense of social responsibility and privileged sensational and even fabricated stories and photos o Due to competition  In the late 1800s, yellow journalism was challenged by a more responsible model of journalism  Objectivity: The reporting of facts in an impartial manner  Further professionalization of journalism due to: o Government attempts at regulation 3 | P a g e MDSA01 INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA STUDIES o Advocacy of social responsibility 
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