Recontextualising the Event Management Life-Cycle Landscape




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Abstract Recontextualising the Event Management Life-Cycle Landscape Tim Brown and Prof Peter Stokes

Current academic convention promotes the events life-cycle as being a singular and sequential process. This has a tendency to represent event management processes and life-cycles as if events were taking place as a single event at a time (Getz, 2005; Grant 2005; Bowdin, Allen, O’Toole, Harris & McDonnell, 2006; Shone & Parry, 2010; Silvers 2013). In many regards, this has constituted a useful conceptual approach to understanding the mechanisms and life-cycle of the event management process in a field wherein, given its youth, the conceptual development and analysis is relatively embryonic. In extant literature, there is a plethora of event process models, each indicating and providing insight into some nuance or novel dimension of events management. However, within the underlying conceptualisation of these models there is a propensity to build them around the notion of the events life-cycle as being a single process. However, this representation does not seem to reflect the lived experience felt by many event managers who are more likely to be working on numerous events simultaneously. Therefore, there is need and scope to reconceptualise the event process and lifecycle that incorporates the multi-event approach and practice. With regard to methodological approach of the study, in order to undertake the construction of a reconceptualization of the event process and life-cycle model the research was undertaken along two separate lines on enquiry. Firstly, an extensive review was conducted of the event management literature. This identified and examined more than 20 different models which had been developed by a range of authors. Secondly, field research was undertaken to gather primary data which involved conducting semi-structured interviews with 30 events managers to understand their experiences and practice of the event management lifecycle. In terms of findings, in the literature review, approximately fifty percent of the models displayed a serial and linear style of event life cycle representation (i.e. moving from the beginning to the end of the event) (Getz, 2005; Grant 2005; Bowdin, Allen, O’Toole, Harris & McDonnell, 2006; Shone & Parry, 2010; Silvers 2013). The remainder of the models in the literature followed this pattern however added some form of feedback loop which returned to the beginning of the event process (Watt, 1998; Masterman, 2003; Salem, Jones & Morgan, 2004; Tum, Norton & Wright, 2005; Mallen & Adams, 2008). Nevertheless, both sets of representations of the event lifecycle are inherently serial and linear in nature. The analysis of the literature operated in parallel with the empirical data collection. The field interview data determined that events managers did not strongly recognise the notion of a serial event process and indicated that, in fact, they tended to work on events simultaneously juggling multiple realities and challenges. The conjoined approach to the research thus problematized the serial approach and provided the data, insights and opportunity to generate an alternative representation of the event process life-cycle which reflected this. In terms of implications, this research offers a novel and valuable reconceptualization of the events management life-cycle and in so doing creates a new perspective on events management. Equally, a more accurate understanding and representation will assist academics and practitioners in better understanding the domain and enhancing a wide range of event-related processes including design, planning, operations, delivery and evaluation.



event management models


Brown, T. and Stokes, P. (2015) Event Management Models: Problems and Perspectives. Association for Events Management Education, Falmouth, 16-17 July


Research Institute

Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)