Approaches and organisational forms adopted by local tourism development partnerships in England
A number of partnership arrangements involving public and private sector and community representation have been created in many countries in recent years with local and regional economic development, place marketing and regeneration remits. This research examines partnerships that are concerned specifically with the development of tourism in England. Various forms of partnership for tourism development in England and elsewhere continue to emerge and evolve in the early years of the 21 st century. This study investigates the pre-conditions, processes and outcomes of such partnership arrangements. The study also examines the political, environmental and socio-economic influences that may affect local tourism development partnerships in England. It does so through an integrated conceptual framework that combines theoretical perspectives on resource, and political and institutional considerations in an evaluation of such partnerships. The roles of individual partnership members are also evaluated. This study suggests that the conceptual framework developed for this research may be adopted for the analysis of tourism development partnerships elsewhere. This research involves the critical study of partnerships through the integration of both policy studies, and organisation studies perspectives. Theories developed to account for inter-organisational collaboration are given particular prominence in this research. Additionally, theories are also incorporated from political geography, and from institutional theory. It is shown that all of these approaches are relevant and applicable to the study of tourism development partnerships. Theories developed to account for organisational partnerships have been applied to empirical studies in a number of policy, locational and business contexts in recent years. However, there has been comparatively little work that has developed an inter-organisational collaboration theoretical framework in the study of tourism development partnerships. Therefore, this research contributes to knowledge in relation to an emerging and important subject in the field of tourism studies. The methodology in this study is qualitative, centring upon an intensive analysis of three local tourism development partnerships, including a pilot study, and involves the use of interviews with key actors and documentary analysis. Theories of interorganisational collaboration inform the research design and analytical framework and contribute towards the development of an integrated theory of partnerships in the context of tourism development. The approach adopted here is transferable to the examination of inter-organisational collaboration and partnerships both within and beyond the field of tourism. Therefore, the methodology developed for this research has considerable potential for substantive application elsewhere. The study concludes with a comparative analysis and evaluation of the findings from the three case studies in this research. The implications of these findings for future research on partnerships are highlighted. The implications of this study for the development of theory and methods for researching tourism development partnerships are also suggested.