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Exploring reputation management in an episodic event organisation : the case of Targa Tasmania


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French, L 2014 , 'Exploring reputation management in an episodic event organisation : the case of Targa Tasmania', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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
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.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:French, L
Keywords: Reputation management, episodic events, non-traditional organisations
Copyright Holders: Copyright the Author
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Copyright 2014 the Author

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