INTERNATIONAL HOTEL GROUPS AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Piotr Niewiadomski

Abstract

While it cannot be questioned that we live in an era of unprecedented, often conflicting and turbulent changes, which, alongside their outcomes, are commonly referred to as "globalisation", some processes of economic globalisation still remain largely under-researched both in sectoral and geographical terms. Conducted from the perspective of economic geography, this thesis addresses two significant research lacunae in economic geography - one sectoral (the hotel industry) and one geographical (Central and Eastern Europe). The paucity of research on services in general and tourism and the hotel sector in particular (the sectoral gap) is especially pronounced with regard to the CEE region (the geographical gap). Meanwhile, the globalisation of the service sector which, further to the collapse of the communist system in 1989, has also embraced CEE is seen to have a growing impact on the (re)integration of the CEE countries into the global economy. Concurrently, the importance of the CEE market in the globalisation of services is also constantly increasing. Thus, as the first systematic study of the international hotel sector in the CEE region, the thesis makes an important contribution to the understanding of the globalisation of the hotel industry (and the globalisation of the service sector) both in theoretical and empirical terms.The thesis focuses on the spatial expansion of international hotel groups into Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) after 1989 and its main objective is to describe and explain the interactions between different forms of corporate development of international hotel groups and the processes of regional growth in different institutional contexts in CEE. The thesis is mainly qualitative. It is based on two intersecting comparative case studies - one organisational (all hotel groups from the world's Top 50 that are present in CEE, i.e. 23 groups) and one territorial (three CEE countries - Poland, Estonia and Bulgaria). Grounded in the global production networks (GPN) perspective (Henderson et al 2002), the thesis investigates what can be called two "dimensions" of globalisation of the hotel industry (Coe and Ward 2007). Thus, apart from exploring the geographical expansion of international hotel groups into CEE (the horizontal dimension) the thesis also focuses upon the embeddedness of hotel groups in the variety of socio-political and institutional contexts currently emerging in CEE in place of state socialism (the vertical dimension). With regard to the horizontal dimension, the thesis argues that the spatial distribution of international hotels in CEE is shaped by two sets of factors - hotel groups' strategies of expansion and the varying opportunities for the hotel sector development that different markets in CEE can offer. With regard to the vertical dimension, in turn, it is contended that the degree to which each economic, political or social characteristic of a given post-communist context influences the expansion of hotel groups hinges upon the business model preferred by the hotel group. By the same token, the degree to which the group can foster regional growth in a given territory hinges upon the level of embeddedness of the group in that territory which, in turn, is reflective of the business model employed by the hotel group with regard to a given hotel.- Coe, N., Ward, K. (2007) The Globalization of the Temporary Staffing Industry, ESRC End of Award Report Form, ESRC Ref. No. RES-000-23-616- Henderson, J., Dicken, P., Hess, M., Coe, N., Yeung, H. (2002) Global production networks and the analysis of economic development, Review of International Political Economy, 9, pp. 436-464

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Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date1 Aug 2012