Institutional learning from a newsroom minority: The case of the Swiss public service broadcasting company | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2001-0818
  • E-ISSN:



Promoting public understanding is what the programming mandate asks the Swiss public broadcasting company SRG SSR to do. From a sociolinguistic perspective, this means linking speech communities with other speech communities, both between and within the German-, French-, Italian- and Rumantsch-speaking parts of Switzerland. In the Idée suisse project, we investigated whether and how SRG, caught between public service demands and market forces, should and actually does fulfil such language policy requirements. Four research modules were combined: module A focused on language policy expectations; B on media management’s interpretation; C on media production and D on media reflection in the newsrooms. Interviews with policy-makers and media managers were triangulated with in-depth analyses of text production processes and workplace conversations. The overall findings: whereas the managers are usually frustrated by the expectations of media policy-makers, a minority of experienced journalists in the newsroom find emergent solutions to overcome the conflict between the public mandate and the market. This tacit knowledge can be identified and made explicit to the entire organization in systemic knowledge transformation.


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