Shawna Kidman

2020 Hellman Fellow

Assistant Professor, Communication
UC San Diego

Project title: Media Industries in Flux: Organizational Resilience and the Generation of Capital Since 1980

Project description: Since 1980 The media business has displayed tremendous resilience for the last four decades. It has undergone three major technological transformations (the development of VHS, the rise of the internet, and the shift to streaming), four major economic slowdowns, and countless changes in consumer preferences, and behaviors. And yet, amazingly, many of the same companies remain atop the industry, and many individuals who came to power in the 1980s are still running things today. This suggests stability, but as any business expert will tell you, that kind of long-term strength only comes from perpetual change. Nobody lasts long in a competitive industry without the ability to effectively respond to crisis by pivoting markets, moving goal posts, amending models, and making constant corrections to adjust for prior miscalculations. Companies that accomplish these goals possess what the business community calls organizational resilience, and their leaders exemplify the attribute of agility.