Leeds Beckett University
TheImplementationOfInnovationInEventsInChina-LI_Redacted.pdf (4.79 MB)

The implementation of innovation in events in China: a relational perspective

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posted on 2023-01-09, 12:09 authored by Yanning Li

Many commentators consider innovation to be a vital source of competitive advantage and critical to explanation of why some organisations flourish and others flounder. Although various aspects of innovation have been examined in detail, the implementation of innovation is, as yet, the least understood aspect of the innovation process. This research takes a relational perspective to understand the implementation of innovation within the burgeoning Chinese music festivals sector. Social exchange theory is used as a framework to explain the development of relationships within this research context. 

Adopting a qualitative research strategy, six detailed case studies were conducted. These involved undertaking one hundred and thirty five in-depth semi-structured interviews with senior staff, junior staff, volunteers, partners and suppliers at six modern music festivals in China. In addition, direct observation, participant observation, and observation of online group discussion and Weibo micro blogs (a Chinese type of Twitter) were also employed. 

This research enriches the body of knowledge in innovation, social exchange, and event studies by providing a conceptual framework of the role and influence of relationships on the implementation of innovation within the context of Chinese events. Exchange rules and norms, and exchange resources, were found to influence the development of relationships that affected the implementation of innovation in Chinese events. Five sub-factors, namely, identity, equality, social capital (guanxi), event contexts, and the Chinese socio-cultural context, were found to affect people’s choice of exchange rules and norms, and exchange resources. A combination of these factors influenced the development of relationships, resulting in four types of relationships. A combination of these relationships had impacts on the implementation of innovation by influencing the acquisition and use of knowledge and resources that were essential in this process. Four categories of implementation outcomes were identified and incorporated into the conceptual framework. Such combined effects of different relationships were complex, because the impact between harmonious relationships and conflicting relationships was not equal. Although harmonious relationships exerted certain positive influences on the implementation of innovation, conflicting or malfunctional relationships were more dominant. Such influences were also found being mediated by certain event contexts, including the temporary time and organisational structure, and the employment of unpaid staff.


Qualification name

  • PhD


Thomas, Rhodri ; Wood, Emma

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

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