As the event management industry grows and consolidates worldwide, associations play an increasingly significant role in professional support to the industry by ensuring the continued growth and success of event management professionals. Although there are many events, which are successfully crewed by volunteers, the increasing competition to secure major events is giving some impetus to the trend to create fully professionalised events (Getz, 1997). Volunteers continue to play a significant role in the management and organization of events, nevertheless, the industry is increasingly relying on well educated, experienced and professional event managers. This paper reviews the literature on professional associations and specifically explores the goals and objectives of event management associations.
The literature on professional associations is scant, scattered among a variety of disciplines and consequently has little breadth (Rodenhauser, 1999).As yet, there is limited academic research, which focuses on event management associations in general (Arcodia & Reid, 2002) and none which investigate their goals and objectives. Ayal (1986) suggests that there is a lack of formal strategic planning with professional associations and this is due to a wide number of factors such as the mission of nonprofit organizations being diffuse, having numerous goals and objectives that are difficult to define, as well as having many constituencies with conflicting objectives. In addition, he proposes that resolution and decision making within associations is often political in nature, leadership may be voluntary and subject to frequent changes resulting in the lack of time and resources that are available for strategic planning.
This study identified 147 professional associations worldwide involved with event management. While this list is not exhaustive, it provides a very strong sample of event management associations. They were located using a variety of sources such as the internet, industry and personal contacts. Rather than use or adapt an existing framework for analysis, this study applies a grounded approach to the analysis of the content of the goals and objectives. That is, the categories of meaning were developed from an analysis of the data provided rather than imposed by an existing typology from the literature. These associations were categorized by location, including international, regional and special interest associations with numerous sub- categories. Regional associations were divided into continents so that there were six sub- categories, the North American, European, Asian/Pacific, United Kingdom, South American and South African. The special interest associations were included as there were a number in the sample that did not fit within the first two categories, yet they were deemed significant to the study because they dealt with event management issues within the context of a specific industry.
The study concludes that event management associations have a strong record in developing goals and objectives as part of their operational framework. The key variables that emerged are: information exchange, education and training, identity and recognition, ethics and standards, networks and collegiality, business management, membership, premier representative association, product development and being a change agent.
Keywords: Event Management, Professional Associations, Goals and Objectives.