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The Professionalization of Festival Organizations: A Relational Approach to Knowledge Management

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In this article we examine the emergence of knowledge management (KM) within the professionalization of festivals and events. The growing complexity of festival management places pressure on organizations to effectively manage “knowledge” in order to succeed. Knowledge is commonly conceptualized as information that can be stored or itemized through checklists. We offer an alternative conceptualization of KM as a relational construction shaped by the organizational culture and structure. We develop this relational approach through a case study of the Queensland Music Festival (QMF) to examine the construction of KM roles and responsibilities. Our ethnographic research and qualitative analysis identifies how QMF implicitly utilizes chief knowledge officer, knowledge broker, and knowledge worker roles. These roles were successfully performed over a short duration and yet they were not defined or explicitly stated. We discuss how the culture and spatial organization of work teams contributed to a collective understanding of the value of sharing and creating knowledge. With growing professionalization we argue that festival organizations will increasingly develop a more self-conscious awareness of the significance of KM language and practice. The findings will enable festival managers to better understand how KM processes are embedded within an organizational culture and contribute to organizational learning.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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