Title page for ETD etd-08162009-173021

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Blosser, Phillip E.
URN etd-08162009-173021
Title Changes in Resident Perceptions Over Time: A Theoretical Examination of a Mega-Event
Degree PhD
Department Hospitality and Tourism Management
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mihalik, Brian J. Committee Chair
Karen P. DePauw Committee Member
Muzaffer S. Uysal Committee Member
Nancy G. McGehee Committee Member
  • Mega-event
  • Social Exchange Theory
  • Longitudinal
  • Resident Perceptions
  • Olympic Games
Date of Defense 2009-08-05
Availability unrestricted
Cities and countries increasingly seek mega-events to boost tourism, update local infrastructure, and improve the international standing of the host community. Benefits are actively promoted by the organizing committees, but these large-scale events also create significant economic, environmental and social costs for the host community. Measuring resident support is necessary because their support is required to secure the rights to the event, and to provide the necessary economic and human resources needed for hosting the event.

This study utilized existing data on the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games to investigate the impact of a mega-event on the host community, and to measure resident support for the event. Social exchange theory provided the theoretical background for this dissertation. The theory states that the costs and benefits of an exchange are continually re-evaluated by the actors in the exchange relationship. The primary contribution of this study is support for the notion that social exchanges are temporal in nature; residents continually monitored the positive and negative impacts of the event on themselves and on their community. To reach this conclusion, this study utilized four data points in the year leading up to the Olympics to assess the changes in residents’ perceptions of the impacts of the event over time. These changes were evaluated in light of residents’ support for the event. A factor analysis reduced the fifteen impact statements into three factors: Benefits, Local Problems, and External Problems. Residents were segmented according to their assessment of the event impacts, resulting in three clusters: Supporters, Cynics, and Realists. Proximity to the main event location also was evaluated since this variable has had mixed results in previous resident studies.

Results showed that resident perceptions varied over time, thus providing support for monitoring residents over multiple time periods. In addition, residents’ support and residents’ plans to attend the event were contributing factors in the assessment of the Benefits and Local Problems. Supporters, Cynics, and Realists demonstrated significant differences over time in their assessment of External Problems, and proximity to the event was found to be a significant factor in residents’ assessment of Local Problems.

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