Strategic Paths and Media Management - A Path Dependency Analysis of the German Newspaper Branch of High Quality Journalism

Schmalenbach Business Review, Vol. 60, January 2008

25 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2008 Last revised: 12 Oct 2008

See all articles by Jochen Koch

Jochen Koch

affiliation not provided to SSRN


I examine the difficulties of incumbent firms have in acting and reacting to changing environments and in coping with new strategic challenges. The study focuses on the strategic development of media organizations in the market of national daily produced high quality newspapers in Germany. The analysis takes place at the branch level, and by using path dependency theory, explains the difficulties that newspaper companies face in strategic realignment. I introduce the concept of a strategic path and provide an analytical framework for analyzing strategic processes and their inner dynamics. By means of an explanatory case study design, comprising all incumbent players in the field, the analysis sheds light on how and why a specific strategic pattern has emerged and why it is still maintained in quality newspapers. The analysis reveals the different components of the strategic pattern, their self-reinforcing dynamic, and their complex interplay. The results indicate that strategic patterns explain much of the recent crisis and the difficulties that newspapers have in coping with continuing changes. Thus, the paper contributes to both a better understanding why daily produced quality journalism has to be considered a jeopardized product-market-concept and to better explore the emerging and self-reinforcing character of strategic processes. Insights of the study could also be helpful for discern and disentangle the core assets of a strategy from the problematic set of strategic assumptions they are embedded in.

Keywords: Media Management, Path Dependency, Strategic Choice, Strategic Paths, Strategic Process

JEL Classification: M10

Suggested Citation

Koch, Jochen, Strategic Paths and Media Management - A Path Dependency Analysis of the German Newspaper Branch of High Quality Journalism. Available at SSRN:

Jochen Koch (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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