From Event Management to Managing Events

A Process Perspective on Organized and Unexpected Field-Level Events
  • Gordon Müller-Seitz
  • Elke Schüßler
Part of the Managementforschung book series (MGTF, volume 23)


Ereignisse werden in den Sozialwissenschaften meist als ungeplante Phänomene und nicht als Ziel oder Ergebnis intentionalen Handelns verstanden. Auch wenn sich insbesondere die sozialwissenschaftlich orientierte Managementforschung für den Einfluss von Ereignissen wie Krisen, Naturkatastrophen oder auch Großveranstaltungen auf Organisationen und organisationale Felder interessiert, wird die Rolle des Managements solcher Ereignisse typischerweise auf bestimmte Projektmanagementaufgaben reduziert und unter dem Begriff Event Management in Praxisratgebern oder spezifischen Fachzeitschriften behandelt.In diesem Beitrag stellen wir eine strategische Sichtweise auf das Management von Ereignissen vor. Dabei verbinden wir die umfassende Literatur zum Umgang mit unerwarteten Ereignissen in organisationalen Feldern mit der wachsenden Literatur zu organisierten Ereignissen, also Veranstaltungen wie Messen oder Kongresse. Wir arbeiten Parallelen und Differenzen dieser beiden Literaturstränge heraus, indem wir Ereignisse nicht nur als temporär und mithin kaum beeinflussbar auffassen, sondern als Abfolge einander überlappender Aktivitäten und Prozesse, die auf Organisationen und Felder einwirken, aber gleichzeitig von diesen (re-)produziert werden. Es zeigt sich, dass die beiden Literaturstränge die bewusste Einflussnahme auf die Ereignisentwicklung unterschiedlich konzeptionalisieren und dabei voneinander lernen können. Studien zu organisierten Ereignissen würden von einer stärkeren Berücksichtigung von Maßnahmen im Vorfeld und Lernprozessen im Nachgang profitieren, wohingegen Forschungsbemühungen zu unerwarteten Ereignissen gegenüber mikropolitischen Prozessen aufgeschlossener sein sollten.

Crisis Management Event Management Field-Configuring Events Project Management Rare Events Risk Management 


In social sciences, events are researched typically as unplanned occurrences rather than as the outcome or target of deliberate management activities. Even though a number of streams of management research have examined how events influence organizations and organizational fields, the notion of event management is often equated with project management and mainly debated in professional publications. In the present paper, we propose a strategic perspective of managing events by connecting the vast body of research on unexpected environmental events such as crises or risks with emerging research on organized, sometimes field-configuring events such as trade fairs and conferences. By understanding events as sequences of overlapping activities and processes that affect organizations and fields as much as being (re)produced by them, we compare and contrast these two strands of literature in order to evaluate the role of management in different phases of an event’s course. We find that both strands discuss similar dimensions of event enactment and consequences, but that each strand neglects certain aspects of how events can be managed because of its specific theoretical foundations. We argue that the literature on organized events should cover the possibilities for participating organizations to prepare for and learn from these venues, whereas research on unexpected events should become more sensitive to the micro-political dimension of event enactment.


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management-DepartmentFreie Universität BerlinBerlinDeutschland

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