A Framework for the Analysis of Events-Tourism Knowledge Networks

Article excerpt

This article presents an analytical framework for studying events-tourism knowledge networks at the interorganisational level. A review of literature on interorganisational relationships, knowledge management end knowledge networks precedes a discussion of existing research on collaborative relationships in tourism and events and an explanation of the proposed framework for investigating events-tourism knowledge networks. The development of this framework was prompted by the author's qualitative research into the interorganisational relationships of public sector events agencies across six Australian states and territories in 2002 (Stokes, 2003). This multiple-case research identified the current forms and characteristics of interorganisational relationships for events-tourism strategy- making and a range of knowledge arenas that contribute to the events-tourism strategy process. It also established the importance of knowledge sharing as an incentive for participating in these networks. The proposed framework for analysing events-tourism knowledge networks identifies four events-tourism knowledge arenas in which to study knowledge: construction, dissemination, embodiment and utilisation (Demerest, 1997). A sociospatial analysis of events-tourism networks (Skelly et al., 2002) that maps out where interested stakeholders obtain and transfer knowledge about events tourism sets the scene for exploring these knowledge management processes.

**********

The abilities of major events and festivals to serve as destination image-makers and injectors of new, "nonresident" revenues into local economies (e.g., Carlsen & Williams, 1999; Getz, 1997; Jago & Shaw, 1998; Mules, 1998) have cemented public sector interest in organised links between events and tourism. However, the motivations behind the creation of public sector agencies to guide events development and the intense competition to win the right to stage events also relate to their ability to enhance the political agenda of governments of the day (Hall, 1992, 1993). As a result, many nations, regions, states and cities have established events divisions within public sector tourism bodies or created independent events agencies to acquire, develop and market events (Mules, 1998). In Australia, all states and territories have established government departments and/or statutory authorities with an events-development charter, varying in the extent to which formal ties exist between events and tourism agencies.

These public sector events agencies rely on diverse relationships and partnerships with event and tourism industry stakeholders that span local and global contexts to achieve their charter. For example, events agencies' networks (sets of two or more connected relationships with an interest in events tourism) could feasibly consist of tourism authority personnel, event and festival organisers, venue managers, international sports federations, and corporate and community leaders. Such relationships have the potential to have an impact on the directions and strategies that unfold for events tourism in destinations. This relational approach to forging events-tourism strategies underpinned by intrasectoral collaboration is advocated in existing events tourism models (Getz, 1991, 1997; Gnoth & Anwar, 2000). Nevertheless, there is little empirical evidence of how these public sector events agencies form interorganisational relationships or ways in which knowledge and information sharing in intrasectoral networks might contribute to events tourism strategies. Despite the leadership role the public sector has in major events development, the opportunity exists for public sector, corporate or community stakeholders to each contribute knowledge that aids the emergence of special events or festivals with tourism potential. It is against this backdrop that the development of a framework for analysing interorganisational relationships and networks for knowledge sharing and management that supports events-tourism strategies is explored in this article. …