University of Hertfordshire

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The professionalization of festival organizations: A relational approach to knowledge management

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-52
JournalEvent Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


In this article we examine the emergence of knowledge management (KM) within the professionalisation of festivals and events. The growing complexity of festival management places pressure on organisations to effectively manage ‘knowledge’ in order to succeed. Knowledge is commonly conceptualised as information that can be stored or itemised through checklists. We offer an alternative conceptualisation of KM as a relational construction shaped by the organisational 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 utilises 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 organisation of work teams contributed to a collective understanding of the value of sharing and creating knowledge. With growing professionalisation we argue that festival organisations 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 organisational culture and contribute to organisational learning.

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