Major Special Events: An Interpretative Literature Review

By Tara-Lunga, Mihaela-Oana | Management & Marketing, October 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Major Special Events: An Interpretative Literature Review


Tara-Lunga, Mihaela-Oana, Management & Marketing


Abstract. This paper approaches the new subject of major special events. With an extended international evolution, major events are visible in the world economy but they form a controversial theoretical subject due to the lack of common accepted meanings, the reduced number of research papers concerning this subject, their inclusion in holistic or applicative research and their subjective analysis. The paper then reviews the existing literature as well as the cultural evidence in order to identify the reference perspectives in defining the concept of major special events. Thus, the research aims to bring an integrated vision starting from the meanings given in different cultural backgrounds and continuing with the analysis of the definitions and typologies in order to identify common and distinct elements. The research has a qualitative approach realized through comparative analysis method having as instruments the table and the figure. As result of the analysis and the interpretation, the paper finds out the cultural meanings of the event, the managerial perspective of defining special events and the accepted perspective of defining major event.

Keywords: special events, major events, management, definition, reference perspective.

1. Theoretical controversies and the integration of ideas

Major special events represent an economic phenomenon of the XXI century with an unprecedented global expansion underlined by the amplification of the international competition between countries for their hosting, by the intense stakeholders' implication and by their dimensional growth. If economically their development is visible, theoretically major special events are a controversial subject due to the lack of common accepted meanings, less studied due to a reduced number of research papers and tangential analyzed due to their inclusion in holistic and applicative research.

The reasons which explain the missing of an integrated theoretical background include the differences between societies, organizations, individuals implicated, special events being organized in all sections of a society, in all sorts of organizations, with the support of professionals from different fields who bring their contribution according to their culture, education and status. Moreover, the event is perceived differently at local, national or international level. Furthermore, another reason derives from the researchers' subjectivity who, in general, analyze and define events in the context of their own area of study. In addition, events are not static phenomena, their signification, goal and management evolved in time, affecting the field terminology.

However, the standardization in defining major special events and the identification of a clear accepted typology is necessary for the research to bring its contribution to the establishment of the special events industry. Moreover, this standardization allows the recognition of particularities and the understanding of the aspects of organization which have a strong impact on the goal, objectives, processes and procedures on which the event manager must focus.

From this point of view, the purpose of this paper was to identify the reference perspectives in defining the concept of major special event. Thus, the research aims to bring an integrated vision starting from the meanings given in distinct cultural backgrounds and continuing with the analysis of the definitions and typologies in order to identify common and distinctive elements. The cultural contexts were correlated to the origin of the literature, research papers being offered mainly by the American and British literature with the mention that the Romanian literature does not offer any research papers in the field of major events, and, in general, practical approaches concerning special events. As a consequence, the paper brings this subject of study in the autochthon management literature and offers a starting point in creating a theoretical framework. …

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