Ambidextrous tensions: Dynamics of creative work in the media innovation process


  • Sari Virta University of Tampere (CMT); Jönköping International Business School (MMTC), Sweden
  • Nando Malmelin Aalto University, Helsinki



Ambidexterity, Media Innovation, Media Work, Organisational Creativity, Tensions


This article analyses creative work in one of Europe’s largest media organizations, in which a newly formed development team was tasked with creating a new multi-platform media product. The objective of this article is to explore the dynamics of team creativity in the process of developing and managing media content innovation. To do this, this study utilizes the concept of ambidexterity for understanding multi-level tensions between the on-going media production work and innovation processes typically co-existing in media operations. The results of the analysis indicate that, due to pressures created by the routine media production, media innovations require specific focus and prioritization to succeed. This requires recognizing, balancing and managing the ambidextrous tensions between exploration and exploitation in creative media work. In addition to practical implications for management of media innovations, this study contributes to research on media innovations, particularly from the perspectives of creative work and organizational creativity.

Author Biographies

Sari Virta, University of Tampere (CMT); Jönköping International Business School (MMTC), Sweden

Department of Communication, Media and Theatre;
PhD Student, Media Management

Media Management and Transformation Centre;
PhD Candidate, Business Administration

Nando Malmelin, Aalto University, Helsinki

Department of Management Studies;
Professor of Practice, PhD


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