The purpose of this paper is to examine the information flows, in terms of content and process, underpinning the sharing of knowledge by managers and owners. Such an examination reveals similarities and differences that will influence the generation and dissemination of knowledge used in tourism business operations and contribute to innovation.
This paper examines information flows within the theoretical and methodological framework of social network analysis. The findings were derived from a quantitative study of tourism managers and owners of a tourism hub in South-West England.
The main finding was that network structure characteristics determine the flow of information within owners’ and managers’ social networks. The owners of smaller businesses received information from several sources and, therefore, had fewer structural constraints and reported larger structural holes. In comparison, the managers had more brokerage opportunities to disseminate the information within their social networks.
This paper highlights knowledge sharing between tourism business managers and owners in an open network structure. First, an open network structure builds innovation through the provision of nonredundant information. This is determined through the effective size of structural holes and the dissemination of information through brokerage roles. Second, the knowledge capability of a destination is built up through the social networking of managers and owners. The generation and dissemination of knowledge in a tourism destination are facilitated by the social networking activities of managers and owners.
Managers and owners of tourism businesses require knowledge through information to assist with innovative business practices. The practical implication of this is that the social networks of managers and owners have different network characteristics, and that these differences result in consequences for the innovation of business practices. Another practical implication relates to the importance of managers in knowledge dissemination based on having several brokerage roles in the tourism destination.
These findings are important because an understanding of social networks and the flow of information is one of the keys to determining the influences on knowledge sharing within tourism destination knowledge networks of owners or managers and their potential contributions to innovation.
The data for this paper was derived from a PhD research study that was fully funded by Bournemouth University in the UK. Based on the PhD research study, two previous papers have highlighted the application of social network analysis. The authors express thanks to the reviewers and editors of this paper.
McLeod, M., Vaughan, D.R., Edwards, J. and Moital, M. (2022), "Knowledge sharing and innovation in open networks of tourism businesses", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-03-2022-0326
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