Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Baer, Roberta D.

Keywords

international business, economic development, marketing, applied anthropology, key informant interview

Abstract

This thesis presents results of research I conducted during Spring 2003 through an internship with a private economic development organization (called here the TBEDO) that markets the strategically branded, seven-county region know as Tampa Bay domestically and internationally. This internship provided me with the means to conduct research about Tampa Bay's international economy and explore the elusive topic of globalization. It provided me with networking opportunities needed to "study up" on business elites and to understand what their international development agendas are, how they accomplish these objectives, whether they subscribe to the belief that the world has undergone a qualitative change called globalization, and how their global agendas are expected to impact Tampa Bay residents.

My work at the TBEDO revealed that this high-profile organization has only recently begun to formulate a strategy for marketing the Bay Area internationally. Its internationally oriented activities are few in number and reflect no long-term goals, and its connections with internationally affiliated organizations are uneven. My key informant interviews with professionals working in international development and marketing allowed the exploration of issues including the consistency of my respondents' international agendas with those of the TBEDO, the relevancy of the globalization concept to the Bay Area, and my respondents' understanding of this concept. I also explore the difference between globalization as a perceived set of pressures determining how business must be done and globalization as a marketing strategy employed by business elites.

More important in terms of the applied implications of this research is the impact that the international business agendas of the TBEDO and my key informants have had on the lives of Tampa Bay residents. This last component of my research provides the most important contribution to policy and the debate concerning the costs and benefits of globalization. Both the officers at the TBEDO and my interview respondents do not concern themselves with the impacts that their activities could have on Bay area residents because their jobs are in the service of a specific population: Bay area business people.

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