Changing the Rules of the Game: Strategic Institutionalization and Legacy Companies’ Resistance to New Media

Heidi J. S. Tworek, Christopher Buschow


Drawing from communication research, history, and organizational studies, this article uses a new, interdisciplinary approach to study how legacy media companiesunderstood as established players in a specific media sphererespond to the emergence of new media. The article examines the example of copyright legislation in news, using two case studies from Germany on radio in the 1920s and online news aggregators today. The article combines historical archival research with other qualitative research methods to explore when and why contemporary transitions follow similar patterns to the past. Our results show that legacy media companies frequently engage in what we term “reactive resistance” to reconstitute their media environment. Rather than just fighting new media companies on their own turf, legacy media pursue what we call “strategic institutionalization” to consolidate their business models.


copyright, disruption, Germany, Google, legacy media, legislation, new media, old media, radio

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