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Knowledge management in tourism development companies : a project ecology approach.

Liu, Chao (2018) Knowledge management in tourism development companies : a project ecology approach. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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This research seeks to advance the understanding of the role of knowledge management in the contribution of tourism development companies (TDCs) to the process of producing tourism development projects (TDPs). The starting point of this research is the recognition of a major research gap relating to tourism product development. Within this field, the role of TDCs is rarely researched or even mentioned in the research literature. Additionally, despite the knowledge-intensive nature of the tourism product development process and TDCs, limited attention has been given to the perspective of knowledge management (KM) in tourism development. KM in this research is viewed as a continuous process which involves three interrelated dimensions, i.e. knowledge creation (KC), knowledge transfer (KT), and knowledge retention (KR). Understanding TDCs as typical project-based organizations, the research adopts a project ecology approach to provide an insightful understanding of knowledge management in tourism development companies in China. From this perspective, the research involves examination of secondary data (e.g. TDCs` websites) and initial semi-structured interviews with professional participants in the tourism development industry in order to map the framework of TDC project ecologies in China. However, the core of the methodology is multiple case studies conducted in three contrasting TDCs over a period of 10 months. Data were collected through participant observation and informal interview during the case study process, focusing on how knowledge is managed within the project ecologies. This research provides a relatively detailed description about the entities, and their interrelationships, involved in the project ecology of TDP. Building on the multilevel nature of project ecology, this research discusses the effects of various factors on KM at four different contextual levels (i.e. the individual level, the team level, the organizational level, and the external environment level). Four key findings serve to synthesize the roles of the factors in the four levels respectively: (1) the diverse and intrinsic effects of individual level factors on the individuals` performance in KM-related activities; (2) the aligning functions of the team level factors in configuring individuals` project work and their corresponding KM-related activities; (3) the organizational level factors which exert relatively more ongoing and sustained influences on KM activities despite the varied features of the various projects;(4)the characteristics of the external environment which can also exert latently ongoing, and sometimes notable influences on the interactions and dynamics of these relevant entities in terms of their performance in project and KM-related issues. As well as bringing a new theoretical perspective to knowledge management in tourism, this research exhibits the ways in which the project ecology of TDPs in China are different from previous models of project ecologies developed in the literature. It does represent a substantial analysis of this topic within the field of tourism. Furthermore, it is intended that the research will also contribute to enhancing the performance of the case study firms, as well as the TDC sector generally.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Liu, Chao
Date : June 2018
Funders : Self-funded
Contributors :
Depositing User : Chao Liu
Date Deposited : 05 Jul 2018 07:28
Last Modified : 22 Aug 2018 14:32

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