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The politics of destination marketing: assessing stakeholder interaction choice orientations toward a DMO formation, using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument.

Atorough, Peter; Martin, Andrew


Peter Atorough

Andrew Martin


Purpose: Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) are very much a part of the Scottish tourism landscape in 2011. Some regional tourism stakeholders have created DMOs to manage their respective regional attractions, but until now, this has not been the case with north-east Scotland. As a prelude to the potential creation of a regional DMO, the purpose of this paper is to empirically evaluate tourism business leaders' attitudes and likely acceptance of the DMO's structure and functions. Design/methodology/approach: The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode (TKCM) was utilised to provide an evaluative framework, with discussion of the assertiveness versus cooperativeness needs of tourism business stakeholders in the region. The TKCM's measurement instrument was utilised along with a purpose-built questionnaire to gather information about tourism leaders' interaction orientations and their level of support for the formation of a DMO, its structure and functions. Findings: Tourism leaders in north-east Scotland are collaboration-oriented. Initial findings indicate that on balance, tourism businesses (as expressed by their managers/owners) are persuaded by the attractiveness of collaboration at an integrated regional level, but would nevertheless prefer a certain degree of competition. In addition, organisational size and membership of existing destination management networks appear to moderate the interaction choice preference. Research limitations/implications: First, the scale and questionnaire instrument developed to test attitudes toward a DMO formation have not been exhaustively evaluated, nor have the potential moderating factors been comprehensively assessed. A more robust and validated scale should be developed and moderators clearly modelled. Second, current sample size is limited and may not provide an adequate basis for generalisation. In future, a larger sample should be employed. Finally, this research is exploratory in scope, and future research, designed along an evaluative and analytical basis, is encouraged. Practical implications: Collaboration within a new DMO in marketing to new markets and the support for this is not challenged, but some competition among tourism providers will continue. It is likely that the disparity between tourism performance in the city and rural areas will continue in the near future. The role of the DMO will therefore involve enlarging the customer base and raising the tourism profiles of both city and rural locations, in order to create a level playing field. Originality/value: This research is the first to utilise the TKCM and Instrument to assess tourism business leaders' assertiveness versus cooperativeness orientations, prior to the initiation of an alliance in a region. The paper shows that this approach holds viability for future research in this direction, especially the potential of TKCM as a predictive framework for interorganisational interaction and collaboration.


ATOROUGH, P. and MARTIN, A. 2012. The politics of destination marketing: assessing stakeholder interaction choice orientations toward a DMO formation, using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Journal of place management and development [online], 5(1), pages 35-55. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 9, 2012
Online Publication Date Mar 9, 2012
Publication Date Apr 30, 2012
Deposit Date May 31, 2012
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2012
Journal Journal of place management and development
Electronic ISSN 1753-8335
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 35-55
Keywords Collaboration; Conflict; Destination management organisations; Destination marketing; Place branding; Scotland; Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument; Tourism development; Tourism management' DMO
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