From Event Management to Managing Events: A Process Perspective on Organized and Unexpected Field-Level Events

Managementforschung, 23 (2013)

34 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013 Last revised: 24 Aug 2016

See all articles by Gordon Müller-Seitz

Gordon Müller-Seitz

Free University of Berlin

Elke Schüßler

Johannes Kepler University Linz

Date Written: August 26, 2013


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.

Keywords: Crisis Management, Event Management, Field-Configuring Events, Project Management, Rare Events, Risk Management

JEL Classification: M00

Suggested Citation

Müller-Seitz, Gordon and Schüßler, Elke, From Event Management to Managing Events: A Process Perspective on Organized and Unexpected Field-Level Events (August 26, 2013). Managementforschung, 23 (2013), Available at SSRN:

Gordon Müller-Seitz (Contact Author)

Free University of Berlin ( email )

School of Business Econimics
Boltzmannstrasse 20
D-14195 Berlin
49-30-83853783 (Phone)
49-30-83856808 (Fax)


Elke Schüßler

Johannes Kepler University Linz ( email )

Altenberger Straße 69
Linz, 4040

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