Knowledge Sharing in Pulsating Organisations: The Experiences of Music Festival Volunteers
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This research aimed to investigate how and why festival volunteers share knowledge in pulsating UK music festival organisations, through an interpretation of volunteers’ lived experiences of knowledge sharing during the event lifecycle. Within the UK music festival sector, competition for leisure spend is high, and successful management of knowledge activities has the ability to improve business, innovation, and competitive advantage. Research across Knowledge Management Studies, Festival Studies, and People and Organisation Studies is dominated by positivist, quantitative research; whereas, this research investigated a fuzzy concept (knowledge) in a socially-constructed world (music festival) and interpreted multiple realities of social actors (volunteers). To do this, a qualitative, phenomenological study was suitable to explore in-depth experiences and unveil meanings attached to them. Purposive sampling using social media resulted in a sample of adult festival volunteers (n=28) being recruited. The methods selected enabled the ability to privilege the participants’ voice and their lived experience; these were diaries (n=11) and in-depth interviews (n=9), or both (n=8). The empirical data generated was interpreted using thematic analysis, using Atlas.ti. The findings of this research illustrate how and why volunteers share knowledge that is attributed to a successful process of volunteering, which enables effective knowledge management and reproduction. Where volunteers’ motivations are satisfied, this leads to bounce-back, episodic volunteering. Knowledge enablers and the removal of barriers create conditions that are conducive for knowledge sharing, which have similar characteristics to conditions for volunteering continuance commitment. Where volunteers do not return, the organisation leaks knowledge. The original contribution of this research is through its use of qualitative phenomenological methods to explore how and why UK music festival volunteers share knowledge.
Economic and Social Research Council
South West Doctoral Training Centre
PhD in Management Studies