Developing Business-to-Business Network Collaboration in a Rural Tourism Destination

Barbara Heade-Brown

    Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis


    One dominant theme that continuously emerges in national and international reports is that, in order for rural tourism firms to surmount the detrimental effects of lost competitiveness, tourism enterprises must be encouraged to adopt a network perspective (European Commission, 2006; CAP Rural Development Plan, 2007-2013). There is broad consensus in the tourism and rural development literature that the establishment of linkages with other actors will enable small firms to create value by leveraging combined resources, shared knowledge, reduced risk and, in general, create a competitive advantage that is likely to be sustainable (Lynch, 2000; Murdoch, 2000; Van der Ploeg et al., 2000; Tinsley and Lynch, 2001; Morrisson et al., 2004; Saxena, 2005; Sundbo et al., 2007). Accordingly, the Irish government has adopted a strategy intended to improve the competitive capacity of the Irish rural tourism sector through the creation of cooperative collaborative local networks (National Development Plan 2007-2013; Tourism Renewal Group, 2009; Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, 2010). Although both academic and government circles recognise collaborative networks as a key driver of competitiveness for rural tourism enterprises, very limited empirical research has been conducted on how rural tourism networks should be developed and managed (Tinsley and Lynch, 2001; Jamal and Stronza, 2009). This research focuses on the relational factors that influence the development and maintenance of a collaborative rural tourism network. The level and depth of researcher involvement in the process, combined with the dual aims of enhancing both academic and practitioner understanding, led to the adoption of an exploratory, interpretive and qualitative action research methodology. The findings highlight the criticality of interpersonal relationships to the formation and maintenance of a rural tourism network. Communication, a common vision, trust and functional conflict are key factors that promote network development. Maintenance of a collaborative network is facilitated greatly by the presence of individuals that act as network champions. The research has resulted in the development of a pragmatic managerial model for involving rural tourism stakeholders in a collaborative rural tourism network.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Lynch, Patrick, Supervisor
    • Holden, Mary T., Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


    • Rural tourism


    Dive into the research topics of 'Developing Business-to-Business Network Collaboration in a Rural Tourism Destination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this