Power and culture in media internationalization: the unusual case of a minority media conglomerate

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Eva Szalvai

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Similar to the general trend, Spain and its minority nation, Catalonia, increasingly rely on indigenous acquisition as a growth strategy for the internationalization of its communication industries (de Moragas, Garitaonandia, & Lopez, 1999; de Mateo, 2000; Folch-Serra, & Nogue-Font, 2001). Due to the affect of media on cultures (Schramm, 1964; Rogers, 1988), media internationalization and convergence often result in direct influence on national cultures. Through content creation and distribution, large media conglomerates tend to transform local cultural traditions as consumers tend to mimic transmitted media content (Boyd-Barrett, 2003). The case might be somewhat different in minority-owned media companies.This leads to the main question of this research: does a minority-owned host firm interfere with the culture of its foreign audience through the content creation and distribution of its subsidies? This interdisciplinary critical case study chose to explore the aspect of globalization in the FDI practices of Grupo Planeta, a Catalan minority media conglomerate. As both functionalist (e.g. Hofstede, 1981) and interpretivist (Bormann, 1983; Glaser, Zamanou, & Hacker 1987; Keyton, 2005) researchers agree that organizational structure and culture are strongly influenced by the owner’s identity and tied to their values, norms, and ethics. Thus, this research concentrates on the effect of the multicultural identity of Grupo Planeta’s owner, Lara, on the FDI and post-merger practices of his organization. While trying to reveal emerging forms of power and culture aspects of globalization, the overarching goal for this research is the advancement of equity and justice in media communication practices globally.

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