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Exploring reputation management in an episodic event organisation : the case of Targa Tasmania
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 14:46 authored by French, L
Extant literature on the concept of 'corporate reputation' focuses on traditional organisations within markets for goods and services (Walsh, Mitchell, Jackson & Beatty 2009). However, a favourable reputation also provides competitive advantage to the growing number of episodic event-related organisational forms that operate in the social arena and the marketplace of ideas (Mahon & Wartick 2003). The paucity of research in this arena provides the research opportunity for this thesis. Based on a review of extant literature, a process model of reputation management in traditional organisations is presented as the basis for the specific research question in this thesis: To what extent are the factors present in the process model of organisational reputation management evident in an Episodic Event Organisation (EEO) context? This research was conducted as a quasi-longitudinal embedded single case study, focussing on the start-up stage, emerging growth, and mature stages of the annual Targa Tasmania (TT) rally event held in Tasmania, Australia's island state. The methodological approach commenced with the collection and analysis of secondary data pertaining to the TT event. This was followed by primary data collected via interviews with eighteen key informants. A thematic analysis of secondary and primary data was then conducted using the computer software NVivo 10. Research results indicated that many factors in the process Model derived from extant literature were analogous in their applicability to the EEO context, however there was some divergence. The important exceptions to the extant theory included the following: firstly, results indicated that in the context of EEO reputation management, it is a strategic imperative that the event's core mission is grounded in cultural links to its 'place' location. Secondly, results suggest an absence of Human Resource Management policies in an EEO context, meaning an inability to strategically control the behaviour of temporary employees. However, results also indicated that behaviour could be strategically influenced via actions such as, incorporating institutional rules into the event structure, and identifying key positions for 'volunteer ambassadors' who could be delegated the responsibility of recruiting and training volunteers within their locale. Thirdly, results suggest that the media exposure variables of 'tone' and 'recency' were amplified in an EEO context due to the event's ephemeral nature. Based on these results a process model of the factors of reputation management within an EEO context is presented.
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