Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Cooperative Core Competencies in Tourism: Combining Resource-Based and Relational Approaches in Destination Governance

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Cooperative Core Competencies in Tourism: Combining Resource-Based and Relational Approaches in Destination Governance

Article excerpt

Introduction

Extant literature repeatedly recognized tourist destinations as complex service networks (Dredge, 2006; Pforr, 2006; Shian Loong, 2012; Tinsley & Lynch, 2001). Within destinations, complementary services are provided by a large number of inter-dependent businesses, including hotels, ski resorts, other sports businesses, theatres, shopping centres and attraction points as well as local or public authorities (Pechlaner, Herntrei & Kofink, 2009). Due to this fragmented nature of tourism supply, cooperation in destinations is needed (Augustyn & Knowles, 2000).

'Cooperation' and its corollary 'coordination', with their various building blocks (Camagni, 1991), are major functions of destination management and governance (Beritelli, Bieger & Laesser, 2007; Bramwell & Lane, 2011; Derco, 2013; Kozak, 2004; Nordin & Svensson, 2007; Pechlaner, Raich & Beritelli, 2010; Pechlaner & Volgger, 2012; Raich, 2006; Volgger & Pechlaner, 2014). As a focal actor in the tourist destination network, the destination management organisation (DMO) is usually called to account for these duties (Flagestad & Hope, 2001; Presenza, Sheehan & Ritchie, 2005; Ritchie & Crouch, 2003). According to Sainaghi (2006), a DMO's tasks may be grouped into primary and supporting management tasks. The primary tasks include strategic or operative ones. Operative tasks deal with the management of tourist infrastructure, whereas strategic ones involve the development of new tourist products, which in the end means a (re)configuration of resources. These primary tasks are backed up by a second class of tasks - the supportive jobs. This class of tasks first and foremost includes the destination management's coordinating function, which helps the service providers to act in a concerted manner. This happens in a twofold way (Sainaghi, 2006):

? Supportive tasks back the collection and evaluation of information from the tourism service providers and help deducing goal- oriented measures in order to structure their cooperation. The supportive tasks enhance learning processes and support the development of learning routines, which aid the partners in sharing a greater amount of knowledge (Grant, 1991).

? Supportive tasks furthermore facilitate refining resources of the single service providers into network-specific resources. These resources are applicable in the network context only - they are network specific. The extent of this network specificity is determined by the degree of the tourist actor's participation in the network and the degree to which the partner's inputs are complementary to each other (Dyer & Singh, 1998).

Building on strategic management theories (Barney, 1991; Duschek, 2004; Dyer & Singh, 1998; Hamel & Prahalad, 1994) and the related school of evolutionary economics (Dosi, Faillo & Marengo, 2008; Nelson & Winter, 1982), the paper links a DMO's supporting tasks to the establishment of cooperative core competencies in tourist destinations.

Cooperative core competencies are core competencies located at the network level and come into existence by linking up complementary resources and competencies of more than two interdependent partners (Duschek, 1998; Duschek, 2004; Fischer, 2009). They express themselves in inter- organisational routines. Cooperative core competencies may form the basis for the establishment of a sustainable competitive advantage for the destination network and its partners (Duschek, 2004; Dyer & Singh, 1998). Indeed, the aforementioned supportive jobs of DMOs are mainly aimed at establishing a high network quality, in terms of a high degree of integration, of complementarity of resources, of network-specificity and learning routines in the destination network (Fischer, 2009; Sainaghi, 2006). High network quality, in turn, is considered a pre-condition for the development of cooperative core competencies and thus for competitive network-based tourist products and services. …

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