Authentic Leaders and Business Tourism: An Exploration of Authentic Relationships

Authentic Leaders and Business Tourism: An Exploration of Authentic Relationships

Matthew Wayne Knox (University of Tasmania, Australia) and Joseph Crawford (University of Tasmania, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3142-6.ch004

Abstract

With increasing global accessibility, business travel has become a key mechanism to share knowledge across modernist nation borders. Such business travel typically includes conferences, training events, meetings, pitches, and working retreats. Yet, at the end of each of these activities, the rate of continued knowledge sharing, and network establishment likely diminishes. This chapter explores the role of authentic leaders and authentic relationships as a catalyst to create meaningful exchanges of knowledge and a genuine desire to maintain relationships after the business tourism activity ends. The implications, if founded, include a need to train and develop authentic leader behaviors for employees who are likely to engage in business tourism activities. The effect? Higher creativity and innovation, more knowledge sharing, and better cross-cultural connectivity.
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Introduction

The world is changing, globalization has created the conditions of rapid evolution in traditional brick-and-mortar business operations. The digital era is characterized by higher accountability and more innovation, and each of these has challenged the contemporary business. Knowledge workers, or creative class members as Florida (2006) highlights, are not restricted like their ancestors. Instead, the localized geographic boundaries offer only a restriction when Wi-Fi, cellular service, and forms of transport are not available. For first world countries, among many others, access to reliable internet and international plane flights have created a global equalizer for business networking.

Tourism itself is one of the world's largest economic industries. Boasting a growth rate faster than the entire global economy (approx. 1.7 trillion USD), the sector is a catalyst for jobs, innovation and prosperity (UNWTO, 2019). Australia’s domestic market alone accounts for a significant portion of their GDP, with overnight spending reaching $44.3 billion during 2018 (Tourism Research Australia, 2019a). Business travel continues to be a main proponent of the industry, with business tourists making up a significant proportion of the market (UNWTO, 2019). International travel has experienced the most significant and consistent growth the last 7 years, with the Pacific, especially Australia boasting the highest rate (UNWTO, 2019). This is reflected in both Australia’s domestic and international visitors, with business tourists making up more than 20 percent, and their individual average spend rivaling the highest spenders in the market (Tourism Research Australia, 2019a; 2019b). Likewise, business travel showed the largest rate of growth when considering tourists reasons for travelling in 2018 (Tourism Research Australia, 2019b).

Business tourism offers a unique proposition to enable boundary spanning behavior from those tourists engaging collectively in knowledge sharing activities. The value proposition of such knowledge sharing stems from an ability to create solutions to problems by applying a creative lens. Underpinning the knowledge exchange are authentic relationships, yet we know little of how such relationships enable the transfer of knowledge during business tourism. The key to knowledge sharing is meaningful connections that transcend the short tourism period. As such, we focus on the authentic relationship establishment, development, and sustainability in the business tourism context. Ongoing maintenance of relationships is possible, we posit, through effectively networked communication. This chapter proposes that, to ensure the shortcomings of networked communications do not impact the relationships developed in the business tourism context, authentic leadership behaviors may be applied.

To undertake this, we discuss the context of business tourism. We continue with a critical review on some literature to inform the reader of some antecedent knowledge this Chapter draws upon. First, is a presentation of how business tourism is defined and some of the limitations of current conceptualizations, before articulating a working definition. Next, we explore how communications in the ‘digital era’ is divergence from the way in which modernist business has operated. Following, is an explication of knowledge sharing behaviors and how the business tourist is affected by current communication technology and theory. Innovation and creativity are defined within the current organizational scholarship literature, and subsequently interpreted through the lens of the business tourist.

In the remainder of the literature, authentic leaders and authentic relations are defined and explored. The authentic leader (Crawford et al., 2019), like many styles of leader behaviors, has not been applied to the tourism setting; but it should be. The synergies between the five behaviors of the authentic leader and other components of the literature (such as knowledge sharing behaviors) are considered. The literature concludes by seeking to understand a contemporary understanding of how authentic relations are intertwined with effective business tourist activities. The discussion section goes on to propose a series of hypotheses surrounding our broader question of inquiry: how can authentic leader behaviors and authentic relations accelerate knowledge sharing, innovation, and creativity in business tourism? The Chapter concludes with exploring the practical implications of our theoretical work and provides opportunities for future research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Creativity: The process managing ideas and resources to promote creative products, services, ideas, procedures, or processes.

Knowledge Sharing: The exchange of information through willing participants involving specific attention to the actors involved.

Authentic Relationships: The intersection of the interpretation of another’s sincerity between individuals seeking to be authentic in their actions and their words.

Change Success: The degree to which a change initiative is perceived to be effective.

Authentic Leader: An individual who “influences and motivates followers to achieve goals through their sincerity and positive moral perspective, enabled through heightened awareness and balanced processing” ( Crawford et al., 2019 AU63: The citation "Crawford et al., 2019" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Authentic Follower: An authentic follower is an individual who, through their capacity for authenticity and positive organizational engagement, are self-managing and follow leaders with whom they share values (Crawford et al., 2018, p. 274 AU62: The in-text citation "Crawford et al., 2018, p. 274" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Positive Organizational Behavior: A field that emerged as a result of organizational behavior and positive psychology to focus on strength-based approaches to human behavior at work.

Business Tourism: The utilization of travel with the intent to achieve business objectives, form connections, and share knowledge.

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