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management, in particular the management of mega events. It also delves deeply into the positives and negatives of the London Olympic Games and the 2006 World Cup events in Germany. Those who manage mega events have an enormous task and an almost impossible responsibility to the public, to those participating in the events, and to the countries where mega events take place. Those issues and more are covered in this paper.
Theoretically review the key aspects of event management
Form and Function
Theoretically an event is a kind of convergence, according to Professor Donald Getz (School of Tourism, The University of Queensland); it is a blending of forms and functions, and those in turn converge into a worthwhile experience for the tourist / participant. Getz uses two huge events to illustrate how form and function come together to produce a grand experience for the attendee. He points to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, which was consistent with all Olympics' Games in that its function was ostensibly to present competition between the world's best athletes. But in addition, the 2012 Summer Games had a form that extended the function well beyond athletic competition.
Indeed, the International Olympic Committee dictates that every Olympics will have a festival (form) involving the arts, and in London, for the four years leading up to the 2012 Summer Games, offered "…dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation" (Gets, 2012, p. 42). The form of the 2012 Summer Games included everything from a circus and carnival to fashion shows, pop music, films, opera and more, Getz explains (42). A nearly unbelievable amount of events preceded the pragmatic function of the Games -- over 1,000 in all -- which the organizers used in order to leave what Getz calls a "lasting legacy for the arts in the UK" (42).
The other event Getz references to show his theory that form and function are integral parts of a large event is the Kentucky Derby Festival that happens each spring in Louisville, Kentucky. Of course the Kentucky Derby (the "run for the roses") is considered the premier event in thoroughbred horse racing, but the horse race itself (held on the first Saturday in May at the iconic Churchill Downs) is only part of the entertainment. In the two weeks leading up to the Derby the organizers provide a festival that includes more than 70 events, including: an air show, one of the nation's largest fireworks shows, basketball, volleyball, musical concerts, a hot air balloon event, and even "…live bed racing" (Getz, 42). The professor's point is well made when he says the theory of convergence helps events achieve "…wider appeal and greater impact by combining elements of style and forms" (Getz, 43).
Getz theorizes that "surprise" is an important element of any successful event (193). He notes that "staging the unexpected" builds on customer satisfaction because they are getting what they expected -- and more. Departing from the original script of the event can be "risky," the professor continues, but it can contribute to the positive impression and add to the sensory stimulation of the event (193).
In the book Event Management and Sustainability the authors (professors at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK) present a theory that digs deeply into the organic roots of event management. They discuss "sustainable event management" which entails "multidimensional" concepts wrapped around the three "pillar impacts" -- which are economic, social, and environmental considerations (Raj, et al., p. 3, 2009). In other words, for an event to be sustainable it must have solid economic planning (the most obvious element), it must have positive social impacts, and should also raise awareness of environmental issues. Raj asserts that the social elements of large events are often "neglected and often ambiguous" -- and this means that people of all socioeconomic backgrounds should be served as well as those who are more affluent.
The sustainable theory posits that "social inclusion within events" should include: a) awareness of the needs of all groups in attendance; b) "creation of a structured policy statement" that ensures a quality and equitable experience for everyone; and c) methodical training for everyone working on the event (volunteers, vendors, staff) to ensure fairness and fun for all (Raj, 4).
Tacit and Advancement Knowledge
Another theoretical aspect involved in good event management posits that "in-depth experiential knowledge" is necessary to generate the kind of perspectives and understandings that give event managers a "competitive advantage" in their field (Mallen, et al., 2013, p. 14). Within the experiential knowledge that the authors are alluding to are "advancement knowledge" (this provides "highly framed quick insights, understandings and intuition" which helps when decisions must be made), and "tacit knowledge" (what an individual has in his or her mind about "perspectives, beliefs and models") (Mallen, 15).
Basically Mallen's explanation is that advancement knowledge is a "learned practice" that brings to mind the "subtle details of how to be efficient, effective and successful" -- and is learned over a period of years -- but isn't easily transferred to another person. This is important when viewing the potential success and appeal of a given event (15).
For an event manager, tacit knowledge of events probably makes sense "intuitively," but on a practical level a manager may have a difficult time figuring out "…how to use it" (von Krough, et al., 2000, p. 7). Passing tactic knowledge along to those working with or under an event manager requires "…extended conversations and good personal relationships" which comes down to "knowledge enabling" (von Krough, 7). As to the usefulness of tacit knowledge, von Krough suggests that it may be "…too mysterious to be usefully or consistently applied to a business situation" (7). That said, tacit knowledge of events -- albeit it can have a "shifting, context-specific quality" -- can become a "powerful tool for innovation" in events, von Krough asserts on page 7.
Professor Philippe Baumard explains tacit knowledge by comparing it to a chess grand master. An amateur chess player considers far more potential moves than does a grand master, because a grand master's knowledge of "…the probability of success or failure of different plays is tacit" (Baumard, 1999). That is, the amateur chess player is searching the board for solution but the grand master recalls strategies from his "implicit memory" so he doesn't have to "reiterate arguments in full" (Baumard). In other words, the grand master -- like the experienced event manager who has been putting on events for years -- knows "…a lot more" than he can explain or express, Baumard explains.
The Appraisal theory is relevant as a theoretical aspect of an event manager because in theory every event is planned with the goal of evoking smiles and happiness through positive stimulus. In other words, the great majority of events -- especially big events like the Olympics, the World Cup, and concerts with well-know stars performing -- are designed not just to entertain but to leave a feeling of joy though positive emotional responses.
The way the Appraisal theory works and how it is manifested is that every attendee at every event has an emotional response to the entertainment he or she is participating in. Emotions are triggered by the stimuli presented at the event, and "…individuals should experience emotional responses to the social context of interactions" within an event, and that goes beyond the stimuli that affect them as individuals (Urda, et al., 2005).
Clearly the event manager has expectations that his or her event is going to trigger positive emotions in those attending the event. In that context, Urda posits that by "…understanding the mechanisms underlying emotions, managers have an additional tool…" to use in influencing not only the attendees but the staff and volunteers working on the event (Urda, 3).
The authors break the Appraisal theory down: a) attendees at an event "…perceive a stimulus and evaluate it according to [their] internalized goals"; b) their evaluation is an appraisal and their current state of emotional response is [internally] compared with the "desired goal" [how they expected to respond to the event before attending]; and c) the internalized comparison of what they expected with what they are experiencing at the event "…triggers the emotions appropriate for readying the body for action…" and hence, whatever discrepancy exists between what the attendee expected and what the attendee actually experienced is reconciled (Urda, 4). .
The theory put forward by Urda and colleagues can be useful for the event manager because whatever the event is, it has been designed to elicit stimulus -- hopefully positive stimulus -- from those paying to get in (or in the case of a free festival, from all attending the event). To be sure, triggering emotions for those attending an event is "…a complex and constantly shifting process during which several emotions may be triggered at once and may be combined," Urda continues (7). Attendees may not report to staff, volunteers and managers what stimuli they have…[continue]
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