Carolyn Deuchar (picture left) is a PhD candidate and Senior Research Officer at NZTRI. She joined the Institute in 2005 after several years of working with NZTRI on a variety of publications and projects. In her role as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Information Systems and Computing at Unitec Institute of Technology, Carolyn tapped in to the valuable links and expertise offered to NZTRI’s broader membership. She attributes the support of the Institute as a critical element in her achievement of an A grade thesis and Honours in her Masters studies (Master of Computing). NZTRI offered Carolyn a ‘safe haven’ for her cross discipline interest in both tourism and technology – one she has now advanced to PhD level. Carolyn’s Masters Thesis investigated ICT adoption issues amongst tourism small and medium-sized enterprises in Waitakere and Rodney District, Auckland.
PhD (working) title:
Tourism, Community and SME network formation in New Zealand
- The role of ICT
Small tourism enterprises (STE) lie at the heart of the New Zealand tourism industry and play a pivotal role in the economic development of many regions. There is increasing evidence that STE business performance can be significantly enhanced by the formation of networks, partnerships, alliances and clusters. Tourism policy is focusing increasingly on the development of ‘dense’ networks of STE as a tool to increase the performance of the tourism industry worldwide. Information and communication technologies (ICT) offer considerable potential to facilitate networking among smal tourism firms.
This PhD research will examine STE network formation in New Zealand, the processes that underlie it and how ICT facilitate and strengthen those processes. The thesis adopts regulation theory and the concept of flexible specialisation as tools to understand STE networks and the ways in which they facilitate regional economic growth. A mixed methods approach is proposed where data collected through a series of informal, semi-structured interviews; a national web-based survey; a review of secondary data; and a case study in Western Southland (picture: McCracken's Rest in Western Southland) are used to evaluate STE network formation and the subsequent role of ICT.
I have found NZTRI / AUT to be a wonderful place to undertake PhD research. My criteria for choosing a place to study PhD was simple:
1) relevance of my research - did the University engage in programmes of research that would be complementary to my own?
2) credibility - this was the 'who's who' factor. My area of interest is in ICT, tourism and community development. This is a very strong theme of research here at NZTRI and one where Simon and other NZTRI members are internationally acknowledged researchers.
3) gatekeepers - somewhere along this journey I need to collect data. Who could help open the doors in order to engage research participants?
4) resources - as Tourism has a strong teaching programme here, the library facilities are very good for tourism research
5) community - the ability to 'chew things over' with like-minded souls who can offer support, guide you to relevant literature, etc.
NZTRI gets the big tick for each one of these!