Event Studies: Theory, Research and Policy for Planned Events

Nnamdi O. Madichie (Assistant Professor, College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 November 2009



Madichie, N.O. (2009), "Event Studies: Theory, Research and Policy for Planned Events", Management Decision, Vol. 47 No. 10, pp. 1665-1666. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740911004745



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The world has witnessed a rise in events from the late nineteenth right into the twenty‐first century. With the proliferation of entertainment spanning film, music and sports (including the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, and Formula One motor racing amongst others) and carnivals costing trillions of dollars to organise, events have become an area of global reckoning and hence worthy of recognition as a distinct academic discipline.

In the movie and film industry the Oscars showcased in Hollywood is a globally renowned event. Likewise the BAFTAs and movie premieres that draw heavy weights to the red carpets of London's Leicester Square. In music, clutching the Grammys and MTV Music Awards is every artist's dream – from rock to hip hop, jazz to country, amongst other categories.

In the field of sports, winning the FIFA World Cup has become a symbol of national unity and pride. A cursory look at the unity exhibited by the English as a result of having won this competition over three decades ago in 1966 says it all. Moreover Wimbledon, Australian Open, French Open and the ATP Tennis Championships often attract participation from the world's finest tennis players. Furthermore there are International Motor Shows – from the Chicago Motor show (USA) to Frankfurt in Germany, Paris (France) to the British International Motor Show at London's ExCeL Centre on the one hand. The Formula One Grand Prix, on the other hand, has established itself as a global event from the USA, Australia, Brazil, and China to more recently the Middle East – notably Bahrain and now Abu Dhabi (UAE) in the pipeline. Indeed the list is never‐ending. Formula One alone costs billions of US dollars and attracts trillions of fans globally.

Little wonder why the “management of events” has taken quite a while to become an area of academic interest. Thankfully, Donald Getz, Professor of Tourism and Hospitality at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary – in his book Event Studies: Theory, Research and Policy for Planned Events – takes a bold step in recognizing this need.

In the 14 chapters that make up the text, the first two provide a detailed introduction to the subject of events studies with a thorough description of the field of play. These chapters also highlight the typologies of events and their various guises – planned and unplanned. The next two chapters take the discourse further by unveiling the founding disciplines in three different parts. In the first of these, the disciplines of the social sciences such as anthropology, sociology, psychology and social psychology are highlighted in chapter 3 illustrating how they contribute to the study of events. In chapter 4, other disciplines such as philosophy, religious studies, economics, management, political science and law are reported. Finally, chapter 5 documents the contribution of history, geography and others which are tagged “future studies” to our understanding of events.

Entitled “The event experience and meanings”, chapter 7 explores the meaning of event and emphasises the need to consider this in terms of the “experience”. With the stage already set, chapter 8 goes on to highlight how events should be designed in order to ensure resonance with the target audience or market depending on who is at the receiving end. This chapter also sheds light on those crucial aspects of service quality and design. In chapter 10 the author provides laudable insights on the art of “successful” events including its marketing and communications, which is reflected in the title “Management of Events”. Following this, chapter 12 discusses yet another very critical area – how public policy impacts on events. In this chapter entitled “Events & public policy,” the author attempts a justification of public sector involvement in the management of events – from economic to cultural, social and environmental considerations.

Apart from the misplaced labelling of chapter 13 as “Creating knowledge in events studies” – considering that it is purely a chapter dedicated to methods, tools and techniques for researching the subject, some of the chapters read like stand‐alone pieces. This is to the extent that the text could very easily be mistaken for a “conference proceeding” rather than an academic text owing to weaknesses attributable to its pedagogy. Although it has some interesting pedagogical features – learning objectives and review questions etc., it lacks illustrative case studies and vignettes to test the learning in the different chapters. The only time these appear is in the unnumbered pages following chapter 6 – which could prove to be an “unplanned event.” Indeed critics will waste no time pointing out the irony enshrined in the text – a poorly marketed event – owing largely to the scant use of readily available real‐life, real‐time case studies, amongst other pedagogical weaknesses.

Nonetheless, Donald Getz provides a well‐balanced chronological account of the field of event studies as a budding academic discipline (i.e. an agglomeration of disciplines striving to be a discipline in its own right). The text would make interesting background reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in learning more about events and how they should be designed, managed and perhaps even marketed, in order to ensure maximise impact.

Related articles