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Avery, Jennifer Laurel.
"Studying up" in Tampa Bay
h [electronic resource] :
globalization and business elites /
by Jennifer Laurel Avery.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2004.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
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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.
Adviser: Baer, Roberta D.
key informant interview.
x Applied Anthropology
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
"Studying Up" In Tampa Bay: Globalization And Business Elites by Jennifer Laurel Avery A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Roberta D. Baer, Ph.D. Trevor Purcell, Ph.D. Kevin Yelvington, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 1, 2004 Keywords: international business, econo mic development, marketing, applied anthropology, key informant interview Copyright 2004 Jennifer L. Avery
Acknowledgments I wish to thank my father, Rick Avery, who loves to be proud of me. I thank my mom and step dad, Cherie and Bob Lurvey, for their cons tant support. I thank my husband, Edgar Amador, for knowing what its like and how to help. I th ank Dr. Mark Amen, without whom I might never have decided on a thesis topic, and Dr. Robert a Baer, for her immense patience, constructive advice, and prompt readings of my drafts. Fina lly, I thank Dr. Kevin Yelvington and Dr. Trevor Purcell, who, despite ridiculously busy schedules and lives, managed to help make this thesis better.
i i TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Tables iii Abstract iv Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: Literature Review 9 What is Globalization? 9 Studying Globalization at the Local Level: The Applied Link 12 Studying Elites: The Case for Studying Up 16 Doing Elite Research 19 The Pitfalls of Elite Research 22 Elites in Tampa Bay, Economic Development, and the Link to Globalization 24 Chapter Three: Methods of Data Collection 27 Introduction 27 Archival Research 27 Participant Observation: Internship Responsibilities 29 More Participant Observation: TBEDO Meetings 31 Key Informant Interviewing 34 Chapter Four: Results 38 Introduction 38 Media Coverage about the Organization 38 Participant Organization within th e TBEDO 41 Organization Staff Meetings 41 The International Focus 44 Key Informant Interviews 52 International Business Activities and Relationships With the Organization 52 Tampa Bay in Comparison with Other In ternational Cities 56 Weve Got All the Elements 57 Perceived Changes to Tampa Bay Busine ss Over the Years 60 The Development of a Global City: Lo cal Theories 64 What is Globalization? 65 Agents of Change and Agency 66 How Does a City Get Global? 67 The Impact of International Development on Tampa Bay Residents 69
ii ii Discussion 72 Chapter Five: Conclusions and Recommendations 75 Summary of Results 75 Connections and Contributions to the Literature 81 Conclusions/Recommendations 83 References 87 Appendices 92 Appendix A: Interview Protocol 93
iii iii LIST OF TABLES Table 4.1 Summary of Key Informant Interview Responses 79
iv iv Studying Up in Tampa Bay: Globalization and Business Elites Jennifer L. Avery ABSTRACT This thesis presents results of rese arch I conducted during Spring 2003 through an internship with a private economic developm ent organization (calle d here the TBEDO) that markets the strategically branded, seven-county region know as Tampa Bay domestically and internationall y. This internship provided me with the means to conduct research about Tampa Bays international economy and explore the elusive topic of globalization. It provided me with networking opportunitie s 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 globa lization, 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 activ ities 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 incl uding 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 th is concept. I also
v v explore the difference between globalization as a perceived set of pressures determining how business must be done and globaliza tion as a marketing strategy employed by business elites. More important in terms of the applied imp lications 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 la st 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 TB EDO and my interview respondents do not concern themselves with the impacts that th eir activities could have on Bay area residents because their jobs are in the service of a specific population: Bay area business people.
1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Much has been written on the often ill -defined topic of gl obalization in recent years. It is a buzzword that has come to be used rather loosely by academics, journalists, and politicians alike in ways th at are frequently inconsistent Generally being regarded as having to do with a new age of global cap italism in which time and space are less restrictive than ever, globaliz ation is viewed as a process by some and either a cause or consequence by others. Anthropol ogists, like social scientists from many other disciplines such as geography, economics, and political science, have had much to say on the subject. Indeed, if globalization is a phenome non that is having the considerable effects on human cultures throughout the globe as it is reputed to have, it is no wonder that anthropologists, especially a pplied anthropologists, would have an interest in studying it. As it is yet to be fully understood just how the costs and benefits of globalization are being felt by different populations across the wo rld from transnational migrants to factory workers in offshore plants, it is imperative that anthropologists participate in the globalization debate given that our primar y research tool, in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, is so uniquely suited for analyzi ng the causes and impacts of globalization, if it actually exists, at local sites. It is further necessary that anthropol ogists maintain a wide scope in selecting thei r research populations. While the di scipline has paid considerable attention to the most marginalized populat ions experiencing the alleged effects of globalization (migrants, maquila laborers, service workers, etc.), it has neglected populations who may be at the reigns of the phenomenon and, at the very least, reap its
2 rewards. One of these populations, business el ites working in intern ational marketing and business development, is the subject of this thesis. This masters thesis presents the results of research I conducted during part of the Fall semester 2002 and all of the Spring semester 2003 as a graduate student at the Un iversity of South Floridas Department of Applied Anthropology. During this period, I bega n to do research through an internship with a private economic development orga nization whose mission is to market the strategically branded, seve n-county region know as Tampa Bay both domestically and internationally. This internship provided me with the mean s to conduct some independent research about Tampa Bays international economy and explore one of my areas of interest, the elusive topic of globalization. It provided me with critical networking opportunities in that my primary goal during th is studying up of business elites was to come to some kind of understanding of what their international development agendas are, how they operate and organize to accomplish these objectives, whether they subscribe to the belief that the world has undergone a sign ificant qualitative ch ange that affects, among other things, how international business is done and that is called globalization, and, most importantly, how these global age ndas are expected to impact Tampa Bay residents. The impetus for this research projec t came from Dr. Mark Amen of the Globalization Research Center at USF, who, at the time, wa s organizing and contributing with Dr. Martin Bosman and Dr. Kevin Ar cher from USFs Department of Geography, three chapters to a thematic volume to be published by Routledge Press in the ReThinking Globalization series. This ed ited volume was intended to examine globalization processes in pe ripheral cities in an atte mpt to broaden the study of
3 globalization that has been prim arily focused on cities at th e core of the global economy. The volume included a case study of the Ta mpa Bay Area that examined three local globalization strategies that have been identi fied by these researchersthe City of Tampa Technology Initiative, the Fl orida High-Tech Corridor, and the private economic development organization examined here that, for the sake of confidentiality, will be referred to in this thesis as the Ta mpa Bay Economic Development Organization (TBEDO) or, more simply, the Organization. As I was very interested in the subject of globalization and hoped to explore this topic from a more anthropological perspective (i.e., one that involves looking at the globalization issue at a lo cal site), Dr. Amen helped me to establish a relationship with the vice -president of marketing at the TBEDO, the organization that, because of its organizational structure, its regular meetings of various types, its extensive calendar of events, the proximity of its headquarters to USF, and its active mission to market the Tampa Bay Area internationally, afforded the greatest opportunities for participant observati on of local globalizing processes. During the two semesters of my ma sters thesis project, in addition to internship responsibilities to be further out lined in Chapter 3, I conducted many hours of participant observation at various meetings of the TBEDO. This entity is the regions self-described principal private, indepe ndent, not-for-profit economic development marketing organization. This region is comp rised of seven counties (Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota) and five cities (Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, and Pinellas Park), a nd this multi-county organizations mission is to work with its partners to market the re gion nationally and intern ationally, to conduct regional research, and to coordi nate efforts to influence business and government issues
4 that impact economic growth and development ( citation withheld to protect confidentiality). Its partners are vast and include the multitude of funders who enabled the Organization to operate in 2003 on an annual budget of $2, 640,496 and range from large public institutions and organizations (such as county level chambers to local universities) to companies large and small (such as Br andon Dogde and United Health Care). Given the Organizations stated goals to market the Tampa Bay region internationally, to attract busin ess, workforce, and investor s from around the world to the area, and to promote the infrastructural devel opments that will facilitate these objectives, the TBEDO is an organization comprised of individuals who may legitimately be identified as agents in the pr ocess of global city formation. My internship and masters research project therefore represents an exam ination of the TBEDO as such an entity and represents a case study of globalizati on processes at the local level. My internship obligations and my atte ndance at staff, marketing, and, most importantly, international task force meetings, in conjunction with ar chival research into the Organizations history, enabled me to ma ke contacts with ten individuals working with but outside of the Or ganization in, for the most part, international business development. My goal was to supplement my participatory research at the Organization with key informant interviews with people working in or with the TBEDO in an attempt to understand their perspectiv es on the Organizations agenda the community it serves, and its outlook on its place and the place of Ta mpa Bay in the globalizing world. I further hoped to examine general attitudes about the local, the regional and the global as well as the ideologies of these businesspersons and th eir priorities for Tampa Bay and to analyze whether they are consistent with arguments in the literature su rrounding the concept of
5 globalization. A key issue here is cultural ch ange. Are current changes in beliefs and behaviorsif these changes actually have occurred reflections of the impact of globalizing forces or ideas? Are these changes in keeping with the l iterature that suggests that something new is occurring in the wa y in which people view the world and the possibilities for engaging with it beyond their local communities? My research population, largely co mposed of economic developers and marketers, is a particularly fascinating group to examine in terms of the construction of image and meaning in a globalizing econom y. What the majority of my respondents actually do is city marketing, a unique brand of social marketing designed to raise a citys competitive image and attract inward inve stment (Holcomb 1993; Archer 1996). Marketing a city is not quite like marketi ng a specific product or service, and the ambiguity of the product is another i nduction toward a regional approach as the impacts of city marketing are likely to be felt beyond any one citys borders anyway (Paddison 1993). But what are th e effects of marketi ng a city or region in the way that my research subjects do? Further, do they lobby fo r infrastructural changes that simply make their product more marketable or do they actually improve the lives of Bay Area residents? This research is attempt to understand the goals, strategies, and business ideologies of a group of elite subjects who operate under the assumption that the strengthening of Tampa Bays international connections and image is the inevitable path toward economic growth in a globalizing world. More so than a thorough analysis of my subjects actual activities, this research focu ses primarily on their perspectives as to how they are responding to these global busine ss imperatives. The following is a brief summary of how this thesis will pr esent the results of my research.
6 The chapter to follow is a literature revi ew that will situate my research in the anthropological discussions of globalizati on. It will include some discussion of definitions of globalization and the contr oversy surrounding the legitimacy of the new phenomenon. It will discuss some of th e exiting research on globalization and how anthropology is an ideal di scipline for the study of the a lleged causes and effects of globalization on a local level. I will explore the issue of ag ency in bringing about the changes associated with globalization as well as the issue of equity in the distribution of the costs and benefits of globalization. I will discuss the role of elites as agents and beneficiaries of and believers in globalizati on. This will also involve some exploration of studying up in anthropology, why this kind of re search is so pertin ent to research on globalization, and what the impediments are to doing this kind of important research. Chapter three will discuss each of the me thodologies used during my internship and research. Archival research into the histor y of the TBEDO and th e various county level economic development agencies as well as th eir current activities in the international arena will be discussed as the basis for the other methodologies. This research, combined with the literature re view, provided the structure for my participant observation and key informant interviewing. These last two methodol ogies will also be discussed separately. I will provide details about my participant observation at various meetings of the TBEDOmarketing meetings, st aff meetings, and most impo rtantly, international task force meetings. I will discuss how this partic ipant observation, along with the work I did for the Organization updating th eir International Organizatio n Directory, helped me to identify candidates for my semi-structure d interviewing. Finally, I will discuss this interviewing, including my sampling methods, which provide d the largest portion of my
7 data. I will provide details about the kinds of subjects that I interviewed, where and how they work in the Tampa Bay region in general, and how they were identified as research subjects. I will explain how each methodology suited the research questions I asked throughout my internship, and I will provide detail as to how I analyzed the data produced by each of my methodologies. The fourth chapter of my thesis will pres ent the results of my internship research. The results will be broken down partly by methodology and by theme. I necessarily have to discuss the results of my participant obs ervation and my key informant interviewing separately because I have found opinions expr essed at group meetings to differ in some ways from opinions expressed at individual interviews. Topics will include my subjects definitions of globalization, their character izations of the Tampa Bay Area as an international city, their ideas about what changes have occu rred in interna tional arenas (social, political, and econo mic) and how those changes came about, their postulations and expectations for future changes in the Bay Area, and how Tampa Bay residents have been affected and will be affected by these changes in international activity. This chapter will include both the results and discussi on/interpretation of those results. The final chapter of my thesis will pres ent the conclusions of my internship research as well as my recommendations fo r future research and applied work. This section will summarize my research findings an d discuss how these findings relate to and expand on the existing body of anthropological and applied anthropolog ical literature. I will suggest avenues for future explorations for local-level globalization research in Tampa Bay specifically and in the world in general and will discuss the reasons why
8 applied research on elite subjec ts, although still seriously lacki ng in our discipline, is so necessary.
9 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW What is Globalization? Even a cursory review of the literatur e arising out of such disciplines as anthropology, political science, and geogra phy reveals the many inc onsistencies in the way globalization is defined. Much of this literature focuses on the more economic features of globalization, a nd definitions of the phenome non include discussion of the proliferation of neoliberal policies on internat ional trade and investme nt the latest phase of global capitalism. Often globalization is regarded as a justification of the inevitable victory of neoliberalism, an assertion that more critical analyses tend to contest (McBride and Wiseman 2000: 6). More compre hensive definitions incorporate some idea of the increasing flow of trade, finance, culture, ideas, and people that has resulted from the spread of neoliberal economic po licies and advancements in communication and transportation technologies (Lew ellen 2002: 7). Implicit in th is process is the marked interconnectivity of human populat ions in a world in which th e restrictions of time and space have shrunk. In Scholtes meta-terminology, globalization is the supraterritoriality of human so cial relations (2000: 48). It is the modern condition in which geography is assumed to be, more so th an during any other period of history, less of a defining principle for human political, economic, and social existence. Globalization, however, is very infreque ntly defined with such neat and tidy phrasing. While some authors offer definitions as succinct as Scholtes such as the transnationalism of human a ffairs (Ho 1993), technoeconomic
10 supranationalization(Nieto a nd Franz 1997), or the intensif ication of worldwide social relations (Pieterse 1995 ), it is more common to find gl obalization charac terized with a laundry list of components that ar e alternatively viewed as either causes or effects of the phenomenon. The most relevant among these in clude: the rapid expa nsion of trans or multinational organizations, accelerated flow s of migrants, increased capital flows through globally diffused markets and exchanges, the decreased power of the state in the wake of global governance and finance, and the accelerated commodification of cultural life (Kalb 2000). The rapidity and expanse of such proce sses that defy geogra phical boundaries is not necessarily held, however, to be en abling the unification or homogenization the citizens of the world. Indeed, the worlds fr equently cited cohesi ve, supraterritorial institutions, such as the General Agreem ent on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the World Trade Organization (WTO), or the North Am erican Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), are accompanied by the kind of fragmentation exem plified in the USSR and the Balkans as well as numerous recent ethnic separations and fundamentalist movements (Hackenberg 1999). In fact, such counterideologies of territorialism are conceived of by many authors as part of the narrative of globaliza tion in so far as such movements frequently call upon global networks or utilize advanced communications technologies, such as the internet, to resist the rule of a state more concerned with th e agendas of other territorial and cultural interests (Kalb 1999: 5). Less territorial, but still engendering heterogeneity, is the development of global communities forged on the basis of some aspect of identity such as class, gender, ra ce, religion, or sexual orientation. That is, globalization has encouraged the adoption of non-national forms of collective identity
11 such as global labor organi zations, internet-based feminist groups, and transworld homosexual organizations such as the Intern ational Lesbian and Ga y Association (ILGA) (Scholte 1999). Defying the traditional bounda ries of states as well and utilizing advancements in communication and transportation technologies also are the many transnational localities around th e globe in which migrants ma intain social and political contact with their communities of origin and come to define themselves as members of borderless communities as opposed to citizen s of any one nation (Smith 1998; Basch, Schillar, and Blanc 1994). Given the complex and often contradict ory outcomes that are attributed to globalization, it is not surprising to find that some theorists questi on the validity of the globalization concept outright. Severa l authors (e.g. Kearney 1995; Mintz 1998; Trouillot 2001; Friedman 2002) regard globa lization as the con tinuation on a grand scale of a process that has been going on at least since the si xteenth century. They frequently hesitate to accept globalization as a phenomenon th at exists outside the minds of academics and the worlds political and economic elite and often cite such seminal works as Eric Wolfs Europe and the People Without History that demonstrate the extensive influence of Western economies, pol itical systems, and culture on isolated societies in prior histori cal periods (Lewellen, 2002; Amselle, 2002). The current globalization debate may very well rest on a gross exaggeration of prior degrees of boundedness or isolation from Western capita list influences in non-Western societies (Trouillot 2001; Friedman 2002; Amselle 2002). For a novice, taking sides on the debate is complicated as scholars present entirely contradictory views of the state of the allegedly globalized (or globalizing) world. Pr ies (1999), for example, argues that more
12 migrants are present in the world now than in any other point in time in human history, an observation in keeping with current ideas about globalization, wh ile Friedman (2002) asserts that less than 2% of the world s population is on the move and that these movements do not compare with international m ovements at the turn of the last century. Friedman further asserts that similar disc ourses about the new world abounded at this time in the midst of new technologies su ch as the telephone, radio, automobile, and telegraph and later faded in a period of deglobalization from 1920 to 1950. Indeed, one of the most common assertions th roughout the multi-disciplinary literature on globalization is that the concep t has not been consistently fl eshed out nor has its novelty been demonstrated and that the empirica l evidence for its existence has not been satisfactorily presented or examined (Hack enberg 1999; Durrenberger 2001; Friedman 2002). Studying Globalization at the Local Level: The Applied Link Increasing attention is being paid to how globalization can be studied its causes identified, its outcomes analyzed, its future predicted at the local level. Globalization, whether one accepts its existence or not, is an issue that has received considerable academic and media attention in the last deca de. Further, it has infiltrated the discipline of anthropology in both its academic and appl ied discourses (Cleveland, 2000). In fact, as Kearney (1995) reports, the department chair predictions from the American Anthropological Associations 1994 Survey of Departments included the projection that, in the next 25 years, the processes of global change and globa l interdependence and internationalization would become some of the principal foci of the discipline. If it is the business of anthropologist to understand cu lture and if certain global processes are
13 impacting human beings, then it is must also be our business to understand these global processes (Durrenberger: 2001). Further, our primary anthropological tool, in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, may offer the most co mprehensive means by which we can gain insight into the lived experien ce of globalization (Burawoy 2000:4). One scholar, in a recent Advancing Applied Anthropology commentary in Human Organization even characterized globalization as the concept that could be the touchstone conceptual frame for revitalizing applied anthropology[s] contribution to the general discipline in terms of both theory development and policy formation (Hackenberg 1999: 212). The many social policy issues to ward which globalization studies can contribute are outlined in this piece. One of thes e is the threat of in creased marginality for populations of the world for whom the priority of information production, the new source of power and wealth, is irrelevant. Another is the restricted upward mobility between the two dominant labor groups to grow out of the global economy, i.e., information professionals and service workers. In broad term s, the globalization de bate is riddled with issues of equity or, as Scholte (1999) discusses it, justice. It is within the domain of anthropologists to determine if the costs and benefits of globalization are evenly distributed. It is especially within the domain of applie d anthropologists to influence policy decisions to ensure equity in globa l processes. Indeed, anthropologists are uniquely suited to conduct research on the interface between the global force field and selected points of impact, i.e., the point at which we could contri bute to intervention policies (Hackenberg 1999: 212). As researchers, however, anthropologists should be the most wary of generalizing about the causes and effects of globalization in the absence of empirical data. Friedman
14 (2002: 32) even suggests that the transnatio nal discourses of gl obalization reflect an ideological agenda rather than a scientific di scovery that has arisen out the experiences of the few elites who actively participate in global finance or, as Tomlinson (1999) describes, have had the opportuni ty to appreciate the brevity of a transatlantic flight and the similarity of airport terminals aro und the world. Globalization scholars are now calling for a grounded social sc ience perspective in which the focus of our research moves from the deterrito rialized flows of culture and capit al to the dynamic, territorial, human institutions and networks that produce them in the first place and re-territorialize, translate, and resolidify them into concrete forms of social and spatial change (Kalb 1999: 7). It is the more specific case studies of local social institutions and networks, as opposed to general theoretical frameworks, that will enable predictions about the outcomes of globalization processes. Anthropol ogist have the tools to accomplish this research and have begun to examine globalizat ions effects on tran snational migrants, refugee populations, factory workers in multinational enterprises, and tribal and peasant communities (Lewellen 2002). However, as this thesis will allow me to demonstrate, there are other kinds of soci al institutions and networks involved in the globalization debate that anthropologists should investigate. Given the TBEDOs stated goals to mark et the Tampa Bay region internationally, to attract business, workfor ce, and investors from around th e world to the area, and to promote the infrastructural developments that will facilitate these objectives, the TBEDO is an organization comprised of individuals who may be identifie d as agents in the process of global city formation. My internsh ip with this organiza tion and my research into the beliefs and behaviors of internationa l business professionals affiliated with it
15 represent a preliminary case study of globalizatio n processes at the loca l level. It is an example of the kind of institution and network of agents who take up (or perhaps create) a dialogue about the global economy and doing business in a world in which space and time are less of a hindrance than ever. My intern ship and this thesis provide just a cursory example of what this kind of research could be like and what it coul d contribute to the understanding of how globalization is impacting people at local sites. Further, this thesis will examine if and how the activities of my re search subjects reflect beliefs that business practices have been forever altered and that certain avenues of economic development are both inevitable and beneficial for those w ho wish to take full advantage of the opportunities that exist in the world today. This research population businesspersons investors, and marketers is not typical of the kinds of subjects that anthr opologists generally targ et in globalizationrelated research, such as transnational migrants or factory employees in multinational enterprises (Lewellen, 2002). Ra ther, my population appears to be more representative of the elites that Friedman (2002) describes as subscribing to a beneficent concept called globalization on the basis of limited persona l experience and welcoming the opportunities it affords. However, as Nader (1972: 284) discus ses, anthropologists have a great deal to contribute to our understanding of the processes whereby pow er and responsibility are exercised in the United States. The TBED O is a self-described, private economic development organization which activel y markets Tampa Bay nationally and internationally, takes an active role in attr acting business from within the United States and around the globe, and influences legislative decisions to achieve its own goals for the infrastructural development (education, transportation, wate r, etc.) of the Tampa Bay
16 region. It further claims a considerable degree of success it its nine years of existence. It is an organization committed to changing the Tampa Bay region, and it has the power and influence to see its agendas carried out. My research project is therefore an example of studying up an examination of how an economically and politically powerful organization like the TBEDO operates, what its agendas are, and who are people they intend to serve. Studying Elites: The Case for Studying Up Although several case studies of globaliz ation at the local level have been attempted, it has not become common fo r anthropologists to study up in their examinations of the causes and effects of the phenomenon. Despite Laura Naders (1972) call more than three decades ago for rese arch on those who wield power, the relative paucity of such work in rela tion to that more focused on marginal populations remains. An examination of the literature on elite res earch provides some explanation of why this shortcoming persists. Chris Shore situates an thropologys failure to st udy elites within the traditions of the discipline itself. He asserts that anthropologists have created their own disciplinary elitism with particular discourse s, rituals, and exclusionary practices and that anthropology has historically focused on exotic others and shown a comparative neglect of social in stitutions and political processes its own societies (2002: 1). Further, the historical links between anthr opology and European colonial rule helped create a disciplinary culture in which resear ch subjects are objectified and viewed as simple (Shore 2002; Grimshaw and Hart 1995). Such disciplinary traditions have long delayed an anthropological focus on elites.
17 But the insights that can be gained by doing elite research and the consequences of avoiding it receive considerable attenti on from authors throughout the social sciences providing impetus for more anthropologist s to attempt it despite the difficulties inherent in doing it. Hertz and Imber (1995) examine the political f actors that help to explain why elites are studied so infrequently, asserting that social scientists have long identified and sympathized with more di senfranchised subjects and have conducted research at this level of the class structure in order to publicize the inequities and propose solutions. There is obviously little incentiv e to empower elite s ubjects through studying them. However, elite studies can help to el ucidate the extent of their power over those who lack it as well as help to inform so cial policy for governmental and workplace activities. Moreover, as Ostrander argues, a failure to adequately obtain data about elites contributes to obscuring and therefore main taining their position in society (1993: 7); the failure to understand their operations adequately enables elites to carry on activities that may not be in the best interests of all. An even harsher critique to anthropologists is the assertion by Albert Hunter, among others, th at the focus of social scientists on the poor and disenfranchised actually contributes to inequality by furnishing elites with knowledge about the masses (1993: 56). Indeed it is not a coincidence that large-scale research programs often receive funding fr om elite organizations. The wealth of knowledge that has been gathered on the exploited enables elite groups, whose own operations are shrouded by mystery, to more effectively carry out their activities. In this sense, applied anthropologist s have a critical obligation to widen the scope of their research activities if long la sting social change is desired. If certain elite actors are
18 orchestrating and benefiting from globalization, for example, it is necessary to study them if anthropological theories pertaining to globalization are to develop a modicum of explanatory power and if policy that promotes equity and ju stice is to be developed. This obligation, however, intr oduces particular ethical c onsiderations. Hugh Gusterson (1993) discusses the dilemma that an elite re searcher faces when the people who have consented to be studied have viewpoints th at may differ radically from those of the researcher. His research on military elites working in nuclear arms development presents an extreme version of this situation. However, even when working with elites whose activities are considerably less egregious, the ethics of writing critically about consenting participants is something that deserves caref ul consideration by the researcher. Gusterson (1993) suggests that the anthr opological standard of cultural relativism could suffice to ease the dilemma, but he concedes that this ta sk is much easier when the people we study come from cultures far removed from our own. He also asserts that failing to adequately criticize elite subjects only reinforces their power and priorities. Doing Elite Research How does an anthropologist conduct elit e research? How does it differ from more traditional anthropological studies? What de fines an elite individual? These are all questions that must be explor ed if anthropologists wish to coherently flesh out this important but neglected area of study. There are some who argue th at anthropologists are no less suited for elite research than any other kind. As Geor ge Marcus (1983) points out, anthropologists doing ethnographi c research on elites have ra rely considered themselves to be part of the groups they studied, a s ituation that mirrors the more prototypical anthropological study of isolated cultures. Fu rther, the labeling of individuals or groups
19 as elites much as the labeling or categorizi ng of humans in any so cial situation is precarious. Smith argues that the terms is so p rotean and porous that is almost devoid of all meaning (2002: 4). Elite is rarely a self-refe rential concept but a label applied to those perceived as having power (Marcus 1983). For purposes of comparison across and within cultures it is best qualified with adjectives such as business, military, governing, religious, academic, or bur eaucratic (Watson 2002). In general, the term can be safely applied to those who occ upy influential positions in important social spheres. Elites make decisions and control or have access to the machinery that enforces them, and they possess the capital that places their decision-making capacities above that of the ordinary citizen (Shore 2002). In the ca se of this study, my research participants are individuals possessing considerable social ca pital in terms of thei r abilities to utilize elaborate social networks of powerful indi viduals in both the business and political communities to accomplish specific goals in the Bay Area. Studying elites requires a holistic and historical ou tlook as elites are most realistically understood in relation to the inst itutions in which and between which they operateas a plurality of or ganizations as opposed one uni fied class of individuals. These relationships are difficult to docume nt, and prior knowledge about the various systems in which elites can meaningfully be la beled as such is a necessary for this kind of study. Before taking on elite research, Marcus (1983) asserts that the ethnographer must determine how the boundaries of the elites should be circumscribed as well how to describe the structure of the social systems of which the elites ar e a part. This means elites ought to be described in relation to societal processes that can be best understood at other levels of conceptual abstraction (1983: 22). Therefore, the elite research
20 tradition can be seen as one important attemp t to provide holistic analyses of complex societies from a focus on small-group processe s (22). Hunter similarly warns that there is a positivistic analytic tendency within the study of local elit es and community power to wrench both the structures and the issues out of their community context (1993:53). He insists that because elites arise from within a local system and wield their power through a local system, they must be understood from within the context of this local system. Such a mandate makes doing elite research a rather daunting task. This research upon which this study is based centers ar ound a private, economic development organization that serves seve n counties and has strong ties with an overwhelming number of powerful institutions, organi zations, and individuals. Thes e include state legislators, local governments, public and private universit ies, corporations, ai rports, seaports, and over eighty regionally located organizations related to international marketing and business development. It is arguably one of the most difficult types of elite groups to tackle in that they represent diffuse ne tworks or associations of individuals not otherwise rooted in a basic or ganizational element of a social structure such as family based factions (Marcus 1983: 21) And how can I even be jus tified in labeling them as elites for the purposes of social research wh en the entire concept is so vague? Marcus distinguishes elites from classes in that the former refers to specific persons or groups as opposed to formal, impersonal entiti es and organizations. A key defining characteristic, which provides the validation fo r my categorization for this project is the idea that elites are generally regarded as the groups that are the major source of change within relevant levels of social organization--local, regional, societ al, and international (1983: 9). Although exclusivity is a key characteri stic of socially elit e groups, the ability
21 to make and enforce decisions that affect the lives of othe rs is the critical defining characteristic of socially and economically elite groups. But one should be cautious in attributing too much power (or blame) to such an ill-defined group. It is imperative that researchers remember the elite focus is onl y a partial theory, n ecessarily linked with broader issues and complementary concepts co ncerning institutions and classes (Marcus 1983: 18). That is, one should be careful not to extract elites from th e larger contexts in which they operate. Such an attitude going into the research can help the anthropologist avoid generalizing too much about elites or exaggerating the extent of their ability to bring about change. The Pitfalls of Elite Research There has been much written about the particular difficulties in doing research on elites, and a review of available case studies provides researchers with many useful tips for doing this kind of project. In a multidisci plinary publication on studying elites, Hertz and Imber (1995) note that it is the inaccessibi lity of elites that has discouraged social researchers from focusing on such groups. They note that elites estab lish barriers that set their members apart from the rest of so ciety, rendering participant observation and interview opportunities relatively uncomm on. (1995: viii). In fact, community and political elites have by far been the most fr equently studied by soci ological and political science researchersas opposed to professi onal or business elitesmost likely because they have the highest public visibility and have political interest in creating public constituencies, especially with academics. Pr ofessional elites, i.e. elites who work in prestigious fields such as law, medicine, a nd clergy, are more difficult to access but at the very least share with the acad emics who try to study them the experience of lengthy and
22 intensive study which can facilitate rapport and accessibility. Busi ness elites, however, have been traditionally the most difficult settings to gain access to by social scientists as their organizations are hierar chically designed to protect th ose at the highest levels and prevent outsiders from learning more about how they operate (Hertz and Imber 1995: x). Gaining access frequently involves the use of personal ties or even, in the most difficult circumstances, asking the researcher to submit to background checks. On the optimistic side, however, Hirsh (1995) argues that the new business elites may be more accessible for social-scientific study because the organization stru ctures are undergoing rapid transformation, blurring the boundari es in organizational hierarchies. Robert Thomas (1995) discusses some of the difficulties in accessing elite subjects for study, particularly top corporate elites, in his essay, Interviewing Important People in Big Companies and provides some useful hints for overcoming them. He notes how important it is for the rese archer to project common experi ences or interests with the individuals she plans to interv iew as his position as a facu lty member in a management school enabled him to do. Suggesting an intervie w date relatively far into the future, such as a month, is an effective way to compel executives to be far more accommodating to any research project. He also asserts the importance of s uggesting that the person with whom the researcher wishes to speak is unique ly qualified to tackle the kinds of questions she has developed. Thomas suggests persona lizing the questions in any interview protocol in order to communicat e that the researcher is part icularly interested in the insights of that individual as well as framing the questi ons in such a way that the interview subject feels that he or she is t eaching the researcher about the topic at hand. While such tactics are part of any basic interv iewing technique, Thomas asserts that it is
23 even more imperative that el ites perceive that they are being regarded as experts because it is a position to which they are quite a ccustomed and feel that they have earned. Scholarly opinions on do ing elite research are fa r from unanimous, however. Ostrander (1993) argues that the accounts of the inaccessibility of elites have been exaggerated and that discussions of such i ssues have loomed too large in publications about elite research. Luck and a willingness to take advantage of opportunities is more fundamental to gaining access to an elit e community. She provides more advice on grappling with elites duri ng interviews than on actually obtaining interviews, a feat that is relatively easily accomplished, in her experi ence, through direct a nd tactful means of developing rapport and trust. She warns that elites, more than other types of interviewees, tend to converse easily, freely, and at great length but not necessarily with the kind of substantive content the researcher requires as they have received training as to how to simultaneously put others at ease and convey confidence (1993:18). Ostrander notes that elites are generally used to being in charge and receiving deference from others. Their opinion matters in the eyes of others, and th ey are frequently asked for it. She cautions that it is an error for a researcher to be t oo deferential, to be overly preoccupied with establishing good rapport, or to overestimate th e expertise or importance of what elites have to say. Her advice mirrors that of Albert Hunter who asserts th at social researchers can draw upon the prestige of their academic status, their cultural capital, to create a greater symmetry in the power relationship be tween elites and themse lves (Hunter 1993: 56).
24 Elites in Tampa Bay, Economic Develo pment, and the link to Globalization What is the relationship between elit e businesspersons in Tampa Bay, economic city development and marketing, and globalization? Economic development professionals working in cities throughout the United States (ind eed around the globe) increasingly accept the idea that in the face of global change in the ways in which business is being done the disappearance of borders on economic exchanges, the mobility of capital and workers, etc citi es must increasingly compete within the international marketplace in order to prospe r and maintain or improve the standard of living of their residents. In creasingly, cities are respondi ng to these pressures not as municipalities but as metropolitan regions re sulting in new forms of collaboration between public authorities a nd businesses (Morin and Hanley 2004: 369). These urban agglomerations seek to attr act investments, skilled work ers, corporate headquarters, international figures, professionals, and high pr ofile events to become full-fledged global cities or, at the very least, sub-global or region al cities (Molotch 1988; Sassen 1991). The necessity to compete at this level has resulted in new collaborations between the public and private sectors and the local growth elit e as Molotch calls themthe kind of actors studied for this thesis. Such adherents to the regionalism strategy vi ew the formation of an integrated region as the only productive solution to the social and economic changes resulting from globalization processes, and, as a result, ideas that such elites have about regionalism and globalization tend to be intertwined (Hodos 2002). The desired end result of such collab orations, despite whatever disagreements may arise over various specific issues, is gr owth productive growth of the city or regions economy in the form of development and expansion of desi rable industries such
25 as tourism, technology, and finance (Ward 2000). Such elites actively work to change the cities in which they live and view the strategi es they adopt as the most viable options for growth in this age of globalization. Critical issues regarding agency and structure come into play in analyzing the activities of such individuals. That is, a debate exists between those who emphasize individual consciousne ss and will and those who emphasize institutional structures as the determinants of social outcomes. Indeed, as Logan and Molotch argue (1987:12-13), atte ntion must be paid to the strategies, schemes, and needs of human agents and their institutions at the local level although the focus on parochial actors is not meant to slight the obviously crucial linkages between local urban phenomena on the one hand, and cosmopolitan, political and economic forces, on the other. Theories about such elite activities must consider the likely possibility that individual actions and strategies matter without concludi ng that such individuals are not themselves subject to the constraints of their environments. As MacLeod and Goodwin argue (1999:503), theories explai ning the operation of business el ites need to be flexible enough to recognize that urban acto rs and institutions are not p assive recipients of some logic or national interpretati on of that logic but are, through the actions of their constituent properties active agents in the structuration of globalizations. Indeed, the members of th e TBEDO are in Molotch and Logans typology the most assertive type of entrep reneur in that they put them selves in the path of the development process and activel y participate in both policy development and political decision-making. Such elites are obvious although neglected, subjects for the anthropological study of globali zation at the local level. They are engineering cultural realities for themselves, city residents, and fo reign prospectors, and they produce a script
26 about particular places which introduces a nd reifies a common language and conceptual vocabulary shared and adhered to by act ors involved in all aspects of urban regeneration: a script which crosses institu tional and political lines (Quilley 1999:187).
27 CHAPTER 3: METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION Introduction Given the complexity of the issues surrounding this re search project (globalization, local economic development, i magineered place identi ties, etc.), it is a daunting task to develop a means to study such topics for within the guidelines of a masters thesis (Holcomb 1995: 37). Like mo st forms of anthropological research, this study employed several methodologies, each enabli ng the collection of distinct kinds of data that contribute to a more holistic picture of the cultural phenomenon in question. This chapter will describe my three complim entary methodologies and the reasons they were chosen. It will further explicate the re search questions addre ssed during my project and the methods of analysis used to interpret the qualitative data. Archival Research The first step in my research process was to familiarize myself to the greatest extent possible with information about the TBEDO through archival research. As this organization had not yet been the subject of any published, scholarly work, I began with the source in which information about this organization is most concentrated: its own website. This extensive site which serves larg ely as a promotional tool and is alluded to in all radio spots and print ads produced by th e TBEDO is useful in that it provided me with a description of what the Organization views itself to be, what its mission is, and what its most current activities are. More importantly, the Orga nization makes public on this site much of its promotional and research material such as its monthly newsletters,
28 annual reports, marketing surveys and other re search. It provides information about its investors, board members, marketing campa igns as well as contact information for interested parties and much useful informati on (often through links to other websites) for businesspersons looking to relocate to Florida such as tax information and labor market data. The website was also crucial for my in terest in the international aspects of the Organizations activities as one link from the site labeled International led me to the very few internationally or iented projects in which the TBEDO is involved and/or promotes. The most prominent of these is the online version of its International Organization Directory to be di scussed below. Unfortunately, the majority of my archival research data was not pertinent to my rese arch questions concer ning globalization in Tampa Bay and, as a result, will not be presente d in this thesis. Howe ver, the exercise of becoming familiar with the Organization and its history, current activities, and selfpromotional strategy better prepared me to follow along during the briskly paced staff meetings that I attended later. Although the Organizations website provi des much useful information for a researcher wishing to familiarize herself w ith its general activities and overall mission, my archival research into the Organization had to go beyond this resource in order to obtain data about the TBEDO that was not se lf-generated. The most productive archival source turned out to be the Lexus Nexus sear ch engine of non-schol arly periodicals. A keyword search of articles back to 2000 using the Organizations full name produced over 20 articles in which the TBEDO was men tioned. Disappointingly, over 50% of those articles were press releases generated by the Organization itself and made available over PR Newswire. However, that left a nu mber of articles written in both the St. Petersburg
29 Times and the Tampa Tribune mentioning the TBEDO which ranged from brief mentions such as in the case of its sponsoring of newsworthy resear ch about the Bay Area with marketing potential or as in full editoria l articles about the Organizations mission and accomplishments. A fuller description and analysis of the content of these articles will be presented in Chapter 4. Participant Observation: In ternship Responsibilities As discussed in Chapter 1, the actual re search upon which this thesis is based began with my internship at the TBEDO, the initial focus of my research on globalization processes in Tampa Bay. Given that the Organization, through its various activ ities in the Bay Area, connects with professionals worki ng in international business arenas from private entrepreneurs to local governmental re presentatives -this in ternship provided me with the most efficient way to get my foot in the door and become acquainted with many of the people with whom I was to later conduc t interviews and, in the process, obtain the bulk of my data. My internship at the Organization co nsisted of the time consuming job of updating their International Or ganization Directory, a pocket guide to business resources to assist global commerce in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota Counties. This directory, cont aining 86 entries, was first compiled in 1998 and had not been updated since its original publ ication. The directory is divided into eight categories of organizations: bi -national business (groups that forge connections between the Bay Area and one specific foreign c ountry), economic development, government, independent focus (mostly private organi zations falling into no other category), professional (business associa tions), schools and universitie s, foreign consulates, and
30 transportation. Each entry in the directory can contain, if appli cable, up to nine subcategories of data including basic contact information, ema il, website, mission statement, a brief description of projects and/or services provided by th e organization, a list of target countries for their international efforts, na mes and titles of repr esentatives, contact information for membership, and a list of current marketing and promotional materials produced by the organization. My preferred method for obtaining the updated information for each entry in the directory was direct telephone calls to th e previously listed contact person for the organization. As I was considering these indi viduals, already identified to me by the Organization as persons working in international areas, as potential interview candidates, I thought it best to contact them in person as opposed to email so that I would make a more memorable impression as an official Organization employee in the hopes that this rapport would facilitate their understanding of and consenting to participation in my research project some time later. This strategy was very effective. Although often requiring several callbacks, frequent referrals to other persons who had taken over the positions of my original contacts, and much patient pe rsistence in ultimately obtaini ng the information I needed, most the people with whom I spoke were cooperative and friendly. Many of the people with whom I talked were not in frequent contact themselves with the TBEDO and asked me to relay messages or make inquiries about various activities for which they hoped to obtain the Organizations sponsorship. I have since received severa l calls and emails requesting copies of the old directory and inquiring about th e publication of the new one. Several of the people with whom I spoke refe rred me to organizations that were not
31 included in the original direct ory but that would most likely have an interest in being included. I collected several such new entrie s and delivered them to the Organization, thus helping to improve the directorys overall comprehensiveness. And, finally, the majority of the people I interviewed later ca n, in fact, be linked to the Organizations directory. This internship task not only enable d me to familiarize myself with the various internationally oriented organizations in th e Bay Area (at least according to the TBEDO), but it provided a stepping stone for my future research endeavors. More Participant Observation: TBEDO Meetings My efforts updating the directory were i ndeed the most participatory components of my work at the Organizati on. I supplemented this work by attending various meetings at the TBEDO at which I was more or le ss a participatory obs erver, although my participation was frequently quite minimal. Be ginning at the end of the Fall semester of 2002 and throughout the Spring semester of 2003, I attended weekly Organization staff meetings a total of 15 meetings, each about an hour long. At these meetings, I would provide updates of my work on the director y and troubleshoot any problems I may have had (locating contacts, for example). More importantly, I would familiarize myself with the general operations of the Organization, identi fy their current activit ies, and isolate the items pertinent to my focus on their plans for the development of Tampa Bay international business. I was most interest ed in identifying agendas toward augmenting Tampa Bays international bus iness sector and establis hing foreign contacts (through travel and hosting foreign visitors, for exam ple) and analyzing if and how globalization and related issues (world orga nizations, free trade zones, gl obal networking, the internet, etc.) are discussed during Organization meetings.
32 My goal was to examine, to the greates t extent possible at such meetings, the behaviors of various actors within the TBEDO. I wanted to determine if their activities reflected efforts to create a regional economy integrated w ith the global economy and to promote a global outlook in the Tampa Ba y Region. Further, I wanted to use my opportunities for observation to ga in perspective on the various kinds of interactions that exist at the Organizatio n among the office staff, among investors, partners, and political contacts, and between the TBEDO and the Ta mpa Bay community. My observations at Organization staff meetings were conducted in the hopes that they would enable me to determine who initiates discussion of intern ational issues, what portion of Organization activities is dedicated to them, what plans are being made to promote this agenda, and how the Tampa Bay community is expected to be impacted. It became immediately appa rent that the most useful events to attend, aside from the weekly staff meetings, would be the meeti ngs of the Internationa l Task Force, a group composed of the Organization employees in charge of marketing as well as other individuals interested in form ulating the TBEDOs plan to in vest the dollars allotted to international development. The majority of these individuals were representatives of economic development organizations from Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Polk counties although other interests, such as the Port Au thority and the Tampa International Airport, were also represented. My attendance at these meetings was ex tremely important in terms of both my identification of the Organiza tions plans for international development in Tampa Bay as well as for my familiarization with individuals whom I would later interview. I was able to witness the committees in ception at an Organization ma rketing meetingone of two
33 of such two-hour long meetings I attended, and I was present when this task force outlined its own mission statement and determ ined the best course of action for the dollars allotted to it for inte rnational development. The Inte rnational Task force meetings, two of which were conducted during the Spring of 2003 each for approximately two hours, brought together major players in the Bay Areas internationa l arena in one room to discuss the very topics in which I was most interested. The issues discussed at these meetings provided me with an array of t opics to be further explored during my interviews. In terms of data collection procedures, I was not allowed to tape record any of the meetings I attended, as the V.P. of Marketi ng, the Organization officer with whom I had the most frequent contact, understandably felt that it would be too intrusive and interfere with meeting proceedings (as well as make non-Organization attendees uncomfortable at marketing and task force meetings). This wa s disappointing to me in that I had hoped to do more detailed discourse analyses partic ularly when international issues were discussed. But not wanting to stunt meeting procedures any more than necessary by my presence, I fully supported this decision. I was allowed, however, to take hand-written notes and was often able to organize my not e taking with the assistance of pre-made agendas produced for virtually all meetings. Quite a bit of supplementary paperwork was produced at meetings from memos to full repor ts to pieces of ne w marketing material, and the TBEDO was kind enough to let me have c opies of virtually all documents used at the meetings. After every meeting I attended, I would transcribe my own meeting notes more fully on a word processor and organize the documents obtained as soon as possible in
34 order to facilitate future qualitative analys is. Although I collected a great deal of data through my meeting attendance, a considerable majority of it, as will be discussed in the chapter to follow, was not pertinent to my particular research interests. Again, it was never the goal of this research to provide a full analysis of all Organization activities. Rather, I attempted to isolate the select portions of these mee tings that involved international issues for my analysis, taking into account the percen tage of issues not related to international largely to assess the degree to which the Organization is dedicated to such endeavors. Key Informant Interviewing The participant observation I carried out within the TBEDO set the stage for my own collection of data through the use of a se mi-structured interview instrument that I designed and based on my original research in terests informed by my experiences within the Organization. My interview protocol, a copy of which is located in the appendix, was designed to take about an hour to conduct. In actuality, it ended up taking anywhere form forty five minutes to and hour and fifteen minutes to complete depending upon the subject. I designed the protocol to be relatively brief given that I knew my subjects, the majority of whom were full-time business pr ofessionals, would most likely be pressed for time and unwilling to participate if my ques tions demanded too much of their day. Given the exploratory nature of my res earch and the complex organization of my research population, my sampling was conse quently confined to a kind of selective snowball sampling. Beginning with my key info rmants who consistently attended the International Task Force meetings and w ho were recommended to me by TBEDO staff whom I spoke to about my interview themes I was directed towa rd other pertinent
35 interview candidates. I also selected key informants who represented groups from the International Organization Dir ectory who were referenced by my other interview subjects and proceeded to snowball sample from there. Although admittedly not ideal for representa tive social science research, snowball sampling is acknowledged as suitable for a relatively small population of people who are likely to be in contact w ith one another as well as st udies of social networks and elite groups and may even be utilized to build an exhaustive sampling frame (Bernard 1995:97). This short-term proj ect, with an accomplished goal of 10 to 12 interviews, was not based on th e intention to exhaust any sample. Be that as it may, I found that even among my small sample of key informants, whether they worked frequently with the TBEDO or not, my interv iew subjects made consis tent references to each other. My protocol was designed to allow examin ation of the local, the regional, and the global in internationally oriented busine ss in Tampa Bay. My goal was to try to understand the philosophies of such businessp ersons and their priorities for Tampa Bay and analyze whether their priorities reflect a belief in a new phenomenon called globalization I wanted my pr otocol to elicit discussi on about economic, social, and cultural changes that have o ccurred in the Bay Area and about whether or not these changes are in keeping with th e literature suggesting that so mething new is occurring in the way in which people view the world and access the possibilities for engaging with it beyond their local communities. A key purpose of my protocol was to e licit how my respondents characterize their international business agendas, the opportuni ties that exist for e ngaging with the global
36 economy, the foreseeable impacts of these globally-oriented agendas for themselves, the world, and the Tampa Bay region, and, if they were able to comment, the changes that they perceive to have taken place in the last decade or two in the way that international business agendas are conceived of and approached. Further, my protocol was designed to illicit discussion not only about perceived ch anges in the past but about desired changes for the future as well as about who whet her it be individuals or organizations wields the power to effect those changes. Although my research interests pertain to the concept of globalization, no question in my protocol cont ained this term. My questions were developed with the intention to illicit discussion about globalization-related issues in the hopes that the term would, as it frequently did, surface on its own, allowing me to probe about this phenomenon in greater depth when and if my subjects mentioned it. The point of these acrobatics was to avoid irrefutably validati ng the existence of an arguable subject by assuming for my subjects that globalization even exists. Part of my design was to understand if and how subjects would util ize this term of their own accord. All of my key informants consented to having their interviews tape-recorded with an unobtrusive audio recorder. Although I took some organizati onal notes during the interview, I refrained from extensive note taki ng in order to maintain a more comfortable interaction with my key informant and to pay attention to opportunitie s to probe into the issues that I wanted him or her to address. I transcribed these interviews verbatim, although not with enough detail for microanalysi s. I began my qualitative analysis simply by organizing all the portions of all the interviews under the th emes that became apparent to me as I read over the interviews agai n and again. Given that my sample of ten
37 interviews was small, I was able to do my an alysis without an elaborate coding system as I became very familiar with each and every interview. I used, however, key word searches to insure that I was not neglecting in terview passages relevant to all the themes I examined. My data, because of both my small sample and the nature of the data, do not lend themselves to quantitative analysis. Th e results of my qualitative analysis are presented in the next chapter.
38 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS Introduction As outlined in Chapter 3, my masters thes is project utilized a number of different methodologies at different stages of the rese arch and for different purposes. Not every methodology contributed equally to the acq uisition of information concerning the internationalization of the Tampa Bay Area a nd my respondents att itudes about it. This chapter will, for the most part, present and an alyze the results relevant to the research questions laid out in the pr evious chapter. For greatest coherence, the results are presented by methodology and then organized by theme. Media Coverage about the Organization A Lexus-nexus search of all media articl es and press releases related to the TBEDO since the year 2000 revealed a striking lack of internationally related activity, or, at the very least, a lack of discussion a nd promotion of it. The Organizations own press releases pertain largely to the development and successe s of Tampa Bays high tech economy. They quite frequently contain synopses of research, conducted both with and without Organization participa tion ranging from internally ge nerated surveys to national studies conducted by the U.S. De partment of Labor, that place the Bay Area as one of the strongest or fastest growing high tech regions in the nati on. Many of the press releases are recaps of articles printed in speci alized business publications, such as Southern Business and Development magazine, most of which are or iented toward Florida business in general or the American South. Conseque ntly, the rapid growth of Tampa Bays high tech industry is lauded in comparison not with other nationally known regions, such as
39 Silicone Valley, for example, much less regions outside the United States, but with local competitors. Comparisons of the Bay Area to any other re gion, local, national, or international, however, are relatively infrequent in relation to the more ge neral discussion of the Bay Areas high tech status within the nation. The Organizations press releases most often contain information about the activities of sp ecific high-tech oriented companies or other entities in the region. They report about University of South Florida (USF)-technology related development such as the opening of the MEMs (mircore lectromechanical systems) Technology Center or the USF Cent er for Biological Defense. They provide updates of the development, relocation, or e xpansion of technology-re lated business such as Enporion, a global supply chain for th e energy industry, and Comcept Solutions, a software tools developer for automotive paint distributors. Non-technology related press releases by the Organization are less common, but also include reports of specifi c high-profile busin ess developments in the Bay Area such as the relocation of Boars Head Provisi ons Co. Inc. headquarters (the deli food company) from Brooklyn, New York to Sarasota in July 2001, and the completion of the upscale shopping center International Plaza. Anot her significant trend is the reporting of positive image-related items, i.e., news about how Tampa ranks or is perceived by locals and outsiders through various kinds survey s, most of which are not conducted in cooperation with the Organization. News articles generated by the outside pr ess related to the Organization address quite similar themes and demonstrate the same lack of international focus. Technology, again, is the hot topic as evidenced by arti cles covering the Organi zations participation
40 in technology-related funding projects. Recaps of what the Organization is all about are common when articles report on events such as annual conferences or changes in officers. The various image surveys, i.e. the image of Tampa Bay as a positive business climate, a good location for families, a source of inexpens ive labor, etc., that the Organization helps develop, conduct, or contract have also r eceived media attention, such as the 2002 Image Study cosponsored by the Organization and the Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Local news articles also provide editorial gr ound for the critical examination of the Organizations marketing stra tegy or, more commonly, the ma rketing of the region in general as a business strategy. These articl es are much more likely to focus on the shortcomings of the Tampa Bay region in rega rd to attracting nationa l attention such as its weak education systems, heavy traffi c congestion, and the low number of Ph.D. scientists and engineers in the local wo rk force. Likewise, articles by Bay Area columnists such as Robert Trigaux and Dave Simanoff are more critical than Organization generated items in terms of the reasons why businesses might choose to locate in the Bay Area that are not advantage ous to Bay Area residents, such as a cheap workforce. Indeed, Trigaux (2002) has descri bed the findings of such surveys as having a rah-rah spin or being at times euphoric. De spite the fact that journalists tend to be much more measured in their enthusiasm a bout the Bay Areas business climate, they do share the Organizations view that the area is increasingly gaining national attention for its quality work force, low cost of living, a nd growing clusters of companies in industries such as medical technologies. Further, they acknowledge the Organization for its effective marketing strategies, as evidenced by the fact that image survey respondents in
41 areas of the nation in which the Organization concentrates it efforts assess the area more favorably. Participant Organizat ion Within the TBEDO Organization Staff Meetings My semesters worth of participant observation within the organization was structured under two central goa ls: the first being my actual internship obligations to the Organization in the updating of its International Organiza tion Directory and the second being my general desire to understand how the Organization approaches international business activities and how its representa tives connect with professionals doing international business in the Bay Area. The fi rst goal enabled me to attend the weekly staff meetings at Organization headquarte rs, held for about an hour every Monday morning and attended by all Organization staff from its president to the administrative assistant. The staff meetings proved useful to me in that they allowed me to better understand the daily operations of Organiza tion staff members as each person took turns updating the others on their ac tivities as the meeting progr essed usually through eight topics: administration, marketing and busin ess development, public policy, research, regional leadership, investor re lations, fundraising, and other bus iness. It is not the goal of this thesis to describe a nd analyze in detail the various activities that the Organization participates in or spearheads. Rather, my objective was to find out how many of their activities were related to in ternational marketing and business development. It became very clear at the first meetings I attended in September that such activities were virtually nonexistent. This was not a surprise as, duri ng our first interview when we discussed my
42 research goals relating to gl obalization, the vice-president of marketing for the TBEDO had already indicated to me that the intern ational objectives of the Organization were only recently being addressed formally through th e creation of an intern ational task force. He characterized the international business ac tivities in the Bay Area in general as being rather loosely organized and asserted that the international marketplace was not the principal target of Organization promotions of the Bay Area. Nevertheless, it is important to discuss, if only very briefly, th e kinds of activities the Organization was involved in at the time of my observati ons at the end of the year 2002 and the beginning of 2003 in order to und erstand how the promotion of the Bay Area as an international regi on fits in to their objectives The TBEDO was finalizing at this time its phase three plan for the next five years of operations and planning the fundraising activities for the year 2003 that would enable it to function. Economic development marketing is the acknowledged primary goal of the TBEDO, and I witnessed staff discussions about various marketing endeavors in 2002 and 2003 that included the placement of Organi zation generated promotional materials in various business publications a nd the development of radio ads to be aired on National Public Radio. I was present when new promoti onal materials were presented to the entire staff by the V.P. of marketing, consisting mos tly of glossy one-page or half-page ads and web banners that juxtaposed factoids about the strength of the Bay Area business climate with appeals to its comfortable meteorologi cal climate through slogans such as Tampa Bay Shines and Its The Way This Place Make s You Feel printed in brilliant, sunshine yellow. It should be noted that none of these promotional materials were produced specifically for international markets.
43 As previously discussed, generation and de livery of relevant news stories to the PR Newswire was another major priority. Als o, the TBEDO participates in and promotes regional cooperation and the organization of unified regional business agendas and objectives for infrastructural issues such as water and transportation. One of its major annual events is its Regional Leadership C onference, a two-day event of programs and speakers from all seven counties (as well as from outside the Ba y Area) to discuss various facets of the regional approach to economic development and carve out a vision for the future. At the 2002 conference, a transportation task force was formed and has been organizing regional goals for developm ent in all seven counties for stronger and more unified lobbying efforts fo r state and federal funding. Further, the TBEDO contracts research ag encies to produce reports about the area that can later be used to promote Tampa Ba y. During the period of my observations, an Economic Market Report analyzing workfor ce growth, in-migration, and wage increase since1998, a Medical Technologi es Clusters study examin ing the kinds of products produced in the area as well as Tampa Bay s national reputation for medical technology development, a Labor Market Survey comp iling regional workforce data and education and recruitment resources in the area, and a sourcebook profiling key leaders of Bay Area economic development were ongoing. Also in development were an annual corporate guide filled with various promotional materials developed by the TBEDO and by individual county-level economic development organizations, articles about the various strengths of the Bay Area (its technology industry, its higher education centers, etc), and a directory of various office and business space in the area to encourage relocation. Finally, the planning of busine ss and social events was anot her key activity, including a
44 large hosting of consultants at the St. Pete rsburg Grand Prix in 2003, as well as trade shows and consultant missions in New Yor k, Chicago, Washington D.C, and Atlanta. The International Focus Despite the considerable accomplishments of the TBEDO in its near decade of existence in terms of its realized impact s on the Tampa Bay economy and its promotion and solidification of the regional economic development strategy, its very staff members are the first to say that an international age nda is only beginning to be formulated. Indeed, in the most recent annual report published by the TBEDO, the Organization claims that Tampa Bay began its globa l efforts through th e publication of an information booklet called Descubre [ Discover] Tampa Bay for Governor Bushs mission to the Dominican Republic in 2003. Duri ng the most recent regional leadership conference, international economic developmen t was the topic of interest of only one session of the three-day even ta keynote talk given by auth or Amy Chua. This is a particularly interesting choice on the part of the conference or ganizers as her most recent book is titled World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. The executive summary of the conference describes her talk as potentially controvers ial food for thought that will hopefully, foster an open dialogue about world issues and how they re late to our region. I did not observe any discussions about this seemi ngly controversial speaker at Organization meetings either before or after the conference, which I di d not attend, or witne ss any expression of concern over how any Organization-affiliated inte rnational activities could have social or political consequences overseas. Rather the inclusion of Amy Chua among the conference presenters appeared to be mostly a politically-correct, publ ic relations tactic
45 a gesture of good will successfully promoted afterwards on the TBEDO website and in materials produced about the conference. By far, the most formally organized attempt to solidify regional international strategy that I encountered through my research involve d the development of an International Task Force comprised of TBE DO-affiliated individuals. I was fortunate in that I was able to witness both the formati on of this task force at an Organization marketing meeting and to attend the first two meetings of the task force over a fourmonth period. These meetings provided me w ith the opportunity to witness Organization -affiliated professionals working in international business development devise their regional mission for the future of su ch development in the Bay Area. The first meeting of the International Task Force was convened specifically to address the teams mission and to decide the best way to spend the $200,000 in Organization funds devoted to this purpose, a sum representing approximately 7% of the Organizations total annual budget. The meeti ng was first notable in terms of the small number of participants. The chairman of the meeting, an economic developer working on international business development for Polk County, noted how difficult it had been to get certain expected members to attend. Ind eed, Sarasota and Manatee counties were not represented at the meeting despite the chai rmans professed attempts to encourage representatives to participate. The chai rman also noted that his fellow economic developers working on internati onal in these counties did not at the very least, respond to his inquiries about the three principal areas and products (such as phosphorus or medical gadgets) these two counties were most interested in marketing. The chairman and other meeting participants agreed, howev er, that representati ves from the counties
46 that are really involved in international business development and marketing were in attendance anyway. These includ ed representatives from H illsborough, Pinellas, and Polk counties along with a represen tative from Tampa Internati onal Airport and Enterprise Florida, a well-funded, public-private part nership that has le d statewide economic development efforts since 1996. These participants then brainstormed how to effectively utilize the task force budget to accomplish their collective goals. The formation of the International Task force occurred at an Organization marketing mee ting that I had attended the previous month, and it was understood by all that the task force was actually a subcommittee of the marketing committee. Consequently, the budget was to be utilized for marketing as opposed to other internationallyoriented activities, such as organizing trade missions or flying-in foreign visitors. This effectively circumscribed the mission of the International Task Force, and the first meeting was largel y about defining the most desirable markets for all parties concerned. This goal is not a simple one, how ever. Given that so many different organizations from all over the Bay Area ar e being represented at the meeting, it was clear that designing collective st rategies that would be equall y beneficial to all would be difficult if not impossible. A considerable amount of time of the first meeting was spent (and perhaps wasted) considering whether or not the group would like to participate in an advertisement/brochure developed by Enterpri se Florida to be published in a business publication widely circulated in Canada and representing Fl orida counties that wish to provide some funding. However, because the de adline for submission of materials for the advertorial was the following day, it became apparent that all of the complications
47 involved in the development of such a piece could not be resolved immediately. These complications included some hesitancy on the part of the Hillsborough County and Airport representatives to accep t a general Tampa logo as op posed to the inclusion of separate logos for each participating county or organization; they indicated that their supervisors would not approve. Further complications arose as the ta sk force moved on from this issue and attempted to get to the central mission of de veloping a strategy to be delivered to the Organization marketing committee. The chairman expressed the need for the task force to develop its goals to fit the Organizations gene ral mission as well as to focus its goals in terms of what countries would be targeted and if trade promo tion or reverse investment is the principal concern. This last issue proved quite complicated as both the representatives from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties expr essed an opposition to a strategy looking toward Europe for foreign investment as the majority of their face time, as one respondent put it, is devoted to promoting local trade with Mexico a nd Central America. I began to see how these business professionals view the European markets differently from the Latin American markets. Several pe ople remarked how foreign investment from Latin America tends to come from individuals or families who want to move out of their countries as opposed to companies looking to expand. It was noted quite matter-of-factly that Europe is a more sophisticated market with which they can better relate, although the chairman also conceded that the bias toward seeking investment from Europe and Canada stems largely from the likelihood of being able to do business in English. In order to keep the task force mission in line with that of the Organization, the chairman suggested that they keep their st rategy directed at investment as opposed to
48 trade and it was generally conceded that pr omoting the Tampa Bay brand internationally may indirectly lead to trade. There was so me objection to this, particularly from the Hillsborough and Pinellas county representatives, who indicated that they deal only in trade specifically selling the idea to Europe that Tampa is the gateway to Mexico for trade. This issue was the critical source of tension during the meeting as all present generally agreed that promo ting the Tampa Bay brand as opposed to individual county brands was the best way to go, especially in international mark ets where potential business interests are not likel y to recognize or remember, for example, Hillsborough or Polk county alone. This meeting, which ran long, ended rather abruptly with all recommending to the Organization marketing committee the development of a marketing tool kit that could help prom ote both trade and investment in a variety of international markets and a commitment to come to the next task for meetings with ideas for materials for such a toolkit. At this next meeting, the trade vs. reve rse investment issue again arose. This meeting was chaired by the Organization s vice president of marketing, who had reviewed the recommendations submitted by th e task force after its previous meeting. Although I had not seen the recommendations o fficially, the chairman began this second meeting with the assertion that its objective would be to create a plan for marketing overseas that would specifically build a case for foreign direct investment. The Polk county representative agreed with an anecdot e about how he recently convinced a British high tech company to relocate in Tampa using su ch selling points as its strong air and sea ports and how nice a place it is to live. He asserted that this is exactly what the task force needs to doattract good business that creates high-paying jobs.
49 Again, the Hillsborough county representati ve expressed the importance of trade, forcing the chairman to ask a direct question about whether it is inve stment or trade that this task force wanted to promote. In attendance for the first time at this meeting was a representative form the Port of Tampa who ag reed that trade especially with Mexico could most definitely benefit from marketi ng. It became clear to me that the outcome of these meetings would depend quite strongly on whom was present. The Organizations V.P. of marketing had been sick on the day of the last meeting, and now he seemed rather hesitant about focusing the task forces energy and budget on Mexico. He even asked skeptically if there was any money in Me xicoi.e., money for re verse investmentto which both the Port and Hillsborough count y people responded vehemently in the affirmative. These two, as well as the Pinellas county economic development representative, indicated that the counties that do international busin ess development lack the dollars they need to do marketing. Furt her, they argued, more has to be done to promote the idea that Tampa Bay has key conne ctions with Mexico, South America, and perhaps the Caribbean that di stinguish it from Miami. It was apparent that the lack of a clea r-cut goal across these various counties and organizations was a source of irritation to the Organization V.P., who wanted a more specific strategy to be developed out of thes e meetings. The very basics of a collective international agenda were not at all obvious even to a group of business professionals who had worked with each other on many occasions They set out to define just what the markets were and what was to be marketed to them. Again, their indi vidual interests in terms of the organizations they represented did not necessarily coincide. For example, the Port Authority person argued that what he want ed to market was a servicethe ability to
50 export almost any kind of item to Mexico. The TIA representative, on the other hand noted that the airport does not see a lot of tra ffic to Mexico just ye t; direct flights to Europe and Canada are seen as a priority. The Hillsborough county person noted that this lack of direct flights has complicated some of her dealings with business people traveling out of Mexico. The complications brought a critical issu e to the forefront in terms of deciding just what the international task force want ed to market. How can they market the Bay Area as a gateway to Mexico and South Americ a, for example, when the area lacks the flights to adequately sustai n business travel? The Port representative and the airport representative both asserted th at they could increase traffic to Mexico if the need was demonstrated. The Organization chair, how ever, expressed doubts that a marketing strategy that sells Bay Area connections to Mexi co would be an effective technique. This has not been the Organizations general marketing strategy in the past, i.e., this strategy is not in keeping with overall attempts to market Tampa Bay itself as a great place to do business in order to attract co mpanies to the area. The Polk county representative agreed that the people with whom he has worked in Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands have expressed a great deal of interest in Tampa Bays quality workforce, low cost of living, and high tech industry, but they have not expr essed a desire to do business with Mexico. Interestingly, the Hillsborough representa tive responded by saying that 95% of the international inquiries that th e county receives are from Joe Blow in Britain who wants to know how to set up a cappuccino kiosk in Tamp a. All present were in agreement that most potential business people around the wo rld do not even know where Tampa is and
51 that it will be necessary to introduce the city as distinct from Miami and Orlando before even attempting to sell the more complicated message about trade relations with Mexico. Attempting to bring the meeting to so me kind of conclusion, the chairman suggested blitzing the international markets with some ads. He jotted down on a dryerase board an outline of the st ate of Florida with the caption No Ears, No Fears . Just Tampa Bay. This spontaneous burst of ma rketing acumen that capitalizes on Miamis internationally notorious crime rates and Or landos overly-touristy atmosphere was wellreceived although it did not seem to be so spontaneous to me and did not take into account any of the specificities discussed duri ng the meeting. The meeting ended with the chairman suggesting that he would draw up so me similar ads to be evaluated at a later date. Quite clearly, the international task for ce meetings that I attended demonstrated just how incipient is the formation of a collective strategy for marketing the Bay Area internationally. The interested parties are few and their collaborative potential is hampered by obligations to local superior s who are less enthusiastic about regional branding. Further, interests ar e divided between attracting re verse investment and making use of Tampas proximity to Latin America to increase trade thr ough the port. It would not be an overstatement to describe the inte rnational business activities of the Bay Area as quite loosely organized at this point, and it is not clear whethe r the strategies being promoted by this task force reflect the interests of the majority of people doing international business development in the area or the desires of the select few who attend the meetings. Finally, the pe rceived differences between Europe/Canada and Latin American countries as potential business partners with Tampa are striking. The
52 perception that Latin American markets ar e somehow unsophisticated and that doing marketing there would not result in productive reverse investment is well-entrenched. Rather, Bay Area connections to Latin America are viewed as selling points for European companies whose resources and employment oppor tunities we would li ke to recruit to Tampa, perpetuating a core-periphery dic hotomy in which profits accrue to the established and wealthy. Key Informant Interviews: International Business Activities and Relationships with the Organization The persons whom I interviewed regardi ng their views about the development of the international economy of Tampa Bay (five white males, four white females, and one Hispanic female) ranged in age from the ear ly 30s to mid-60s and represented varying degrees of participation with the TBEDO. The most intimately involved were those persons who participated with the Organizati on in the development of its international strategy at the International Task Force mee tings. This includes representatives working on international affairs from the principal ec onomic organizations of Polk, Pinellas, and Hillsborough Counties as well representatives from Tampa International Airport and the Port of Tampa. Also providing me with interviews were representatives from other private organizations more loosely connected to the TBEDO but still working on some facet of international development. One of th ese interviewees represented an organization that focuses its efforts on cultural rather than economicdevelopment, but four others were top members of bi-national organizations working in the Tampa Bay Area with foci on specific areas of the world: the U.K ., Canada, Scandinavia, and Germany.
53 Although my respondents represented a numbe r of different organizations and job descriptions, one of the central professional objectives of all bu t one of them (the cultural organization previously menti oned) was simply to help businesses in the Tampa area grow and develop, often both domestically a nd internationally. O bviously, the business audiences that each respondent targeted va ried depending upon the organization with which he or she was affiliated; such ta rgets ranged from Bay Area-wide business development in the case of the TIA official to specific counties in the case of the economic development representatives to a ta rgeted foreign-affiliated audience in the case of the bi-nati onal organizations. My three respondents working with county level economic development organizations understandably described very similar operations when asked about the local, national, and international activities of their respective organizations. These organizations provide various fo rms of assistance from grants to legal aid to help local businesses grow internationall y. My respondents most often se rve to assist local business by connecting them with interested custom ers, suppliers, or distributors around the country and around the world, utilizing both th eir long-established professional networks and the plethora of new business contacts that seek out the services of these public officials. A major goal is promoting exports out of their counties ranging from chemicals to high-tech medical equipment. Another cent ral mission is to make Tampa a great place for national and internationa l business, and my respondents strive to increase the likelihood that any inquiry made from an in terested party outside the area will find the people and resources it needs to do busi ness in Tampa Bay. My respondents doing economic development assist foreigners esta blish and expand their businesses in the Bay
54 Area in an attempt to increase their bottom line: jobs for Tampa Bay residents. Also, they spend a good deal of time recruiting foreign di rect investment for Bay Area businesses. Leads are generated through a variety of sour ces including Enterprise Florida and the Organization. My four respondents working for bi-nati onal business organizations operate in much the same way, i.e. in a business assist ance capacity but with a specific country focus and usually at a much smaller scale. All of my respondents worked for these binational organizations on a volunt eer basis in addition having other jobs that may or may not be related to international business de velopment. One respondent, for example, in addition to his role with a Canadian bi-national organiza tion, worked with the World Trade Center. Another, in addition to his with work with the British Chamber of Commerce, ran his own web-de sign company. In general, ho wever, these organizations operate primarily as networking vehicles, li nking up potential partne rs in business, as well as promoting a collective business iden tity among professionals with ties to a specific foreign country through both formal busin ess activities, such as trade shows, and informal social activities. My final three respondents who cannot be grouped toge ther in terms of specific international activities, each worked for orga nizations with international interests but not for bi-national organizations or economic deve lopment enterprises. They include a person in flight development at Tampa International Airport, a marketing representative for the Port of Tampa, and a volunteer with Sarasota Sister Cities, a local arm of a national organization that promotes cultural exchange s between U.S. cities and specific cities outside the U.S.
55 Finally, part of the interview protocol involved identifying how, if at all, the TBEDO collaborates with professionals work ing in international development in the Tampa Bay region. Although there was a mixed level of involvement ranging from persons who might attend Organi zation-related events or meetings at least once a week to persons who had never worked with them in a direct fashion, the majority of respondents regarded the TBEDO as a reputable generator of publicity materials to be used on trade missions and trade shows both domestically a nd internationally. One of the principal occupations of these professionals is to sell the Tampa Bay Area to foreigners as a fruitful place with which and in which to do business. To this end, the TBEDO puts together presentation material s highlighting the selling points of Tampa Bays economy as they see it: skilled workforce, low cost of living, low taxes, etc. My contact at Tampa International Airports Flight Development Department informed me that the Organization put together all the economically-oriented research for its recent presentation for Delta Airlines concerning w hy the airline should increase its flights in and out of Tampa. TIA Flight Development simply does not do its own research regarding the business climate of Tampa Bay because the materials that the TBEDO provides fulfill this need. My key informant for Polk County Economic Development, in describing how he prepares for presentations of Tampa Bay overseas noted, I do presentations overseas, the [Org anization] works the presentation up for me, and I take the disk and th ere I go. My key informant representing the bi-national organization fostering business relations hips between Tampa Bay and Canada demonstrated his opinion of Organization ma terials by noting how colorful, professional,
56 and glossy they tend to be; he also noted th at they were provided free of charge to his organization for trade missions. The effect of this reliance on Organiza tion materials to promote the Tampa Bay regions business climate is an amazingly unifi ed message presented to potential trading partners and investors overseas. Having obtai ned numerous samples of such promotional materials though my participant observation, I became familiar with the various selling points and tag lines used to promote Tampa as a good place to do business. In response to many of my interview questi ons, as will be discussed below, respondents frequently provided me with answers laced with prepared statements, quick facts, and statistics that appear on Organization materials. Tampa Bay in Comparison with other International Cities The interview protocol, intentionally a nd successfully, generated the most lengthy responses revealing respondent s perceptions of Tampa Bays international economy, particularly as it can be compar ed with other U.S. cities and international cities such as New York, Tokyo, or London that are wellkno wn for their global connections. Again, responses were varied, ranging from one key informants assertion that Tampa can hold its own against anybody to a less optimistic weve got a long way to go. In general, however, respondents consistently depicted Tampa as a kind of second-tier international city with a strong foothold in the glob al economy. Supporting evidence for this claim frequently included discussion of Tampa Bays in ternational airport as well as the Port of Tampa, our production of goods for export, particularly agricultural, medical, and technological ones, and the relative diversity of the Bay Area population.
57 Weve Got All the Elements Because it is the job of the vast majority of my interviewees to sell the image of Tampa Bay as a great place to do business to both national and intern ational audiences, it is understandable that their responses to my question asking them to characterize Tampa Bays international economy frequently began with rather positive assessments of the areas international status and potential. Respondents would often begin their answers with an enthusiastic laundr y list of the components they believe to characterize wellknown international cities and the Tampa Bay re gion alike. An example of this type of response is provided by one of the country economic development professionals: I think we have all the elements, we certainly have the airports, we have the seaports, all within the region. We have, I think, a nice and growing diversity of culture, population thats important to foster international. . We have some international flavor in our community. Be it Ybor city and the Cuban connection, the overall Spanish connection. Again, a lot of Brits in the area. So, you have to have those things as part of the infrastructure in my opinion to have a truly international community that then can solicit international business. This appeal to the diversity of Tamp as population was by far and away the most frequently utilized when presenting Tampas internationalism in a positive light. Quite clearly, one of the criteria for a city to be known as an intern ational city in terms of its business climate, according to my respondents, is the presence of a diverse population in general. It is something that they took for granted, as if a city with a rather uniform population could not forge strong internationa l economic ties. During my interviews, I would often have to probe for more specifi c answers regarding the strength of Tampas ties to the internati onal economy. These probes would most frequently be answered with nods to the international airpor t, the seaport, and the growi ng number of internationally affiliated organizations such as the foreign chambers.
58 At this point in my interviews, it wa s not uncommon for my respondents to buffer their assessment of the Tampa Ba ys potential to be an intern ationally recognized city for doing business with appeals to ma ny of the same characteristic s so avidly marketed about the area by the Organization, particularly the easy-going (but lucrative) business climate and the spectacular weather. One bi-national organization representative, speaking as a foreign-born citizen characteri zed the Bay Area as follows: Crime-wise its good for families. Its a rela xed atmosphere for doing business and its a good entre into North America. And from Tampa, you can look north or south or east or west. And if you are looking to South America, its a good base. Or if youre looking at just generally coming to America, the chances of survival are better here than in large communities...because its actually easier to establish and understand America here. From Florida comes the good weather. You tend to get hot, but coming from a cold climate, its very attractive. As enthusiastic as my respondents were about Tampa Bays current good footing and, more importantly, its potential to become a ma jor player in international business, the analysis of the interview data revealed a much more detailed discussion about what holds back Tampa from realizing this potential One consistently mentioned deficiency was the lack of la rge corporations with headquart ers in the Bay Area that tend to draw more international at tention in more prominent globa l cities even if those large companies use our ports to export their products abroad: And I think the biggest reason were not known as an international city is our lack of actual headquarters. We have a lot of city -area operations. The Committee of 100 and the [Organization]we both recognize that as a kind of infrastructural short-falling that we have. We dont have a lot of headquarters in ternational is generally the more visible playersthe big guysand we dont have those big headquarters here. Even though weve got international activity, its ki nd of below the radar screen. (Economic development representative) Tampa Bay has more small companies, more en trepreneurial companies that dont have a big name. And even when you see one that does start to get medium sizedthat does start making a name for themselves, a lot of the time they get bought out. But that is what
59 happens a lot everywhere in the country, but because we are such an entrepreneurial area here you see that happening. Were not made up of one or two or ten major corporationsFortune 500 companies. Its made up of thousands of smaller operations. Theres no one name, or half a dozen nam es that shine. (Bi-national organization president) More important than actual deficiencies in our international business potential for my respondents, however, was the lack of cred it the Bay Area receives from international audiences for the assets it already possess. In other words, marketing our current strengths is the most certain route to gaining international status. You got to get them to take a look at you first, so I think we are doing a better job of being, of branding ourselves to the rest of th e world that this is a place where people from other countries can come. I dont think we are there yet, but when you think of international cities for uswere probably gonna say Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, whatever if were gonna name names like that. The people outside of our countries would name those names. I dont think were on that list yet. But on some secondary list, we certainly are. (Economic development representative) Tampa Bay is kind of a sleeping giant. I dont think people realize how many connections Tampa has internationally. And how many Ta mpa could have if they were developed properly. (Economic development representative) Interestingly, respondents tended to ma ke unsolicited comparisons of Tampa not with the worlds most well known globalized cities but with Miami and Orlando, the two cities that compete with Tampa Bay for not oriety within Florida, the former because of its strong economic and cultura l ties to Latin America and th e latter because of pull as an international tourist destination. Freque ntly, respondents would express a competitive attitude toward Orlando and Miami, displayi ng a simultaneous desire to take advantage of their attractiveness to tourists and resentme nt of the perpetuated image of Florida as a tourist and not a business destination. A Polk county economic developer noted, We have to do a continuous jobs of marketing Florida as a business state because the first thing that comes to mind is vacation, Disney the beaches, the nice weather, and thats fine. If thats the draw, thats just fine. An area like Orlando gets international attention
60 because of Disney things like, Where is Disney located? Oh yeah, Orlando. Its like riding the coattail of Disney, but so what? If that brings them then, you sell them when they get here. We have to do things a b it different. Good place to live, great place to do business. A similar tone of resentment came across in an interview with the representative from TIAs flight development departme nt when she commented on the lack of international flights to Tampa in comparison with more prominent Florida cities: And I think another part of it that is hurting us is that we have Orlando so nearby which attracts all the tourists. I mean, everybody knows about Disney World. Nobody markets like Disney World. You know, that rat He does a great job, every little kid has to go there. Its just their dream. So we have to realize our limitations. And then, of course, Miami. Everybody knows Miami. So I wish we had more but I think it will come. In spite of this perceived competition with Miami and Orlando, the majority of respondents simultaneously emphasized the impo rtance of a Florida-wide effort in promoting international business. Such an outlook was reflect ed in the general approval of Miami as the location site chosen for s ecretary for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) as well as a cooperative orientation toward developing productive relationships with statewide economic devel opment organizations, such as Enterprise Florida. My respondents were in general ag reement that Tampa Bay, as a second-order international city, must utilize all of the res ources at its disposal to bolster its reputation as a recognized center for global business. Perceived Changes to Tampa Bay Business Over the Years In characterizing Tampa Bays international economy, I also wanted my respondents to reflect on changes that have taken place over the past few decades and paths for future developments for the purpose of exploring whether or not they believe that any of the qualitative changes that are associated with the gl obalization concept have
61 occurred and to assess the degree to which th ey employ the concept, if at all. Again, the term globalization was purposefully not includ ed in the interview protocol in order to see if respondents would empl oy it on their own. About half of them did utilize the term to describe the set of pressures that make an international busi ness strategy mandatory today as opposed to previous decades. However, when asked to describe and pinpoint significant changes in the wa y international business is done in Tampa Bay, respondents varied widely in their assessment of when the most significant changes in the general mentality toward international business in Tampa Bay have taken place from two to twenty years ago, largely depending on how long they had worked in the area. However, one very consistent trend in these discussions dated a profound change around seven to ten years ago, coinciding (somet imes explicitly, sometimes not) with the beginning of the TBEDO. This change consists of the multi-county cooperative international strategy that is the basic mission of the Organi zation. This strategy involves a collaborative effort among the seven counties in their relations outsi de the United States which attempts to create a more recognizable Tampa Bay brand as opposed to trying to sell foreigners a specific me ssage about the Polk or Pinellas business climate, for example. All respondents working closely w ith the Organization characterized this message as the strongest one for interna tional business development and a rather successful one. However, respondents with th e longest working hist ories in the Tampa Bay Area (over seven years) traced back the de velopment of this collaborative effort to other such efforts preceding the Organizati on such as the Florida Department of Commerce and Enterprise Florida. Respondents fr equently described th is most significant perceived change as a general focusing or concentration of previously haphazard
62 international business dealings. One ke y informant, an economic development professional from Polk County, sums up this opinion: Its kind of brought the whole thing together and its positive. Now I think were much more focused. I used to do my thing in Polk Countymy trade missions and all that. And a lot of years included Tampa when the Chamber didnt have a strong international presence. But I made sure that I included them and companies from Tampa, but I did my thing. Pinellas did their thing, Tampa did their thing. Some of us did work together. Enterprise Florida tried to pull that all to gether. Said, Hey, lets do more. It concentrated on the state level and then, You guys do it as a region. Because if my interest is Mexico, and I take a group to Mexico and Im running around saying Im from Polk county, and then a month later Tampa takes a group and their running around saying their from Tampa, and then Pinellas takes a groupWere from Pinellas. Theyre [the Mexicans] sitting there with their heads spinning: Well, you guys are all from Florida. Why dont you come together? But weve come a long way in doing that. I think we all support each others efforts. We have a mu ch much better message, a concentrated message. Although all of my respondents who served on the Organizations international task force uniformly expressed such opinions a clear distinction between the responses of seasoned Tampanians and relative newcom ers to the area was apparent: newcomers perceived the changes to be much more recent and perceive d that they had had brought with them a more internationally-orien ted business strategy to their respective organizations. My most recently arrived respondent, working on economic development in Pinellas County, which had significant inte raction with the Orga nization prior to her arrival, provides a clear example of such a perspective: Well, Ive only been here two years, but there was someone before me. And Id say its changed two fold since Ive started because I ha ve a different strategy. No one else really in this office is devoted to the internatio nal strategy. We have a business development team manager. He oversees everything, but I am the only one who is writing the strategic plans for international. So I kind of took it and created my own little baby out of it because the person before me, he looked at th ings a little differently. He didnt really have a plan. Thats what I see changing. Its ki nd of like I got to do what I wanted to do with it, and in the pastthe person before me didnt devote 100% of their time to trade. They were doing local incentive packages to help companies expand or relocate here. I actually dont have to do local anymore. I am just devoted to international endeavors, so I can actually focus on more countries.
63 Respondents who did not work as clos ely with the Organization tended to emphasize other changes, most notably in the absolute growth of all kinds of internationally affiliated organizations. Fre quently cited were the Brazilian, German, French, Canadian, and British Chambers of commerce. Respondents commenting on these chambers but not actually representi ng them frequently em ployed conflicting lines of argument to explain the relatively recent ex plosion of such organizations in the last fifteen years. Some attributed it simply to the collective organizat ion of foreigners from various countries who have come to make thei r homes in the Bay Area for quality of life reasons (fine weather, low cost of living, et c.). Others asserted that business-minded foreigners are drawn to the Bay Area because of the local expertise in areas such as law, health care, and engineering that is displayed as Tampa business professionals travel abroad. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, two re spondents officially representing some of these foreign chambers attributed a general change in attitude to the efforts not of established Tampa actors but newcomers like them selves who have stim ulated interest in doing international business development amon g locals through their own activities. As one representative from the British Chamber of Commerce explained: Theres been a change of attitude towards Eur ope, and I think that has a lot to do with our organization and the German American and French American chambers of Tampa. We are quite active and have consistently lobbied the community leaders for those countries. Now we have infiltrated the Tampa Chamber through ( name withheld ) and vice versa. The Tampa Chamber has targeted the U.K. and Europe as a growth market for Tampa Bay and as such has put resources into it. It used to be where I would be politely recognized by Mayor Greco at the time at pa rties. Now, under Mayor Iorio, weve had several very successful meetings that have opened up opportunities for the opening of the British consulate here in Tampa. Whereas the business community leaders five or ten years ago gave us lip service, now they ar e very seriously putting resources behind that development. Theres been a change of a ttitude. I think the leadership in Tampa is
64 coming around to understanding that theres money in them thar hills Money in investments in both directions. Investment and trade. In a similar manner, a representative fr om the German chamber explained the impetus behind the change in attitude of Ta mpa Bay businesspeople about internationally oriented business: I believe by the continual sort of drip, drip, drip effect of our existence here in Tampa Bay. Both the German American Chamber, the British American Chamber, the French American tend to be the three organizations most active of the international organization. And the Canadian Americans. But were all th e same group in that were all members of each others organizations, and we do a number of events in the community together as well. In general, my respondents all expresse d the opinion that the Tampa Bay Area had indeed undergone serious changes in th e way international business is prioritized, conceptualized, and accomplished over the last two decades. Responses tended to emphasize either the growth and diversification of various internationally-affiliated organizations if the respondent did not wo rk closely with the Organization or the concentration of internationa l business efforts among the coun ties if the respondent had a more direct working relationship with the Organization. Without exception, each respondent tended to espouse a relatively e gocentric explanation for such changes, emphasizing the influx of new ideas if they we re new, foreign influence if they were foreign, and long developing collaborativ e efforts if they were old-guard. The Development of a Global City: Local Theories A critical objective of this research was to understand, at least among this small sample of subjects, how Tampa Bay play ers in international business view the development of the areas international economic ties and understand the processes through which a city might define itself as an active participant in a globalized economy.
65 Several questions and probes in the protocol attempted to get at what (or who) is responsible for the changes that have stre ngthened Tampas business connections around the world, what it means to be in economic development in this ag e of globalization, and what steps need to be taken to increas e Tampas foothold in the global economy. What is globalization? The general topic of change in international business was intended to extract my respondents opinions about the disputed topi c of globalization. While only five out of ten of my respondents utilized th e term of their own accord, a ll of my interview subjects expressed a belief that recent, unpreceden ted changes have taken place in the way international business is conducted. A common way of characterizi ng these changes was to emphasize the lack of di stinction between domestic and international business practices today: There are a number of companies in the Tamp a area that do international but they dont really look at it differently from their domestic business. Its just another market. In other words, if Im a construction company, and I build big huge buildings like stadiums and airports and high rises, whats the difference if Im building one in Florida or in California or in Mexico? I mean, there are some differences, but in terms of the internal processings of the company, theres not that mu ch difference. So, they dont tend to . they dont segregate that activ ity all that much. . the international marketplace is more seamless. No question about it. Its a different world. (Economic Development representative) In general, however, respondents te nded to emphasize improvements in transportation and communications technologies as the general markers of the new global economy, supporting a definition of globalization in which modern life has undergone changes only in scale or degree. Only one in formant expressed a view of the globalized world in which qualitative changes (regarding identity formation, in this case) have taken place:
66 I have a hard time pledging allegiance to th e American flag because I am a global citizen. And thats the way I am. Ive been that way because Ive been raised all over. Thats my vantage point. Agents of Change and Agency When respondents were asked to identify th e causes of the changes that they have perceived to have taken place in the way that international business is carried out in the Bay Area, two distinct lines of explanation em erged: one placing the responsibility in the hands of powerfully influential individual agen ts and the other attributing causality to general changes affecting th e global economy the world over. While two out of ten respondents supported exclusively one or the other of these explanations, the rest supported a theory of change based on the in teraction of the two. Both respondents who supported a single-cause theory of cha nge worked for county-level economic development organizations. One clearly suppor ted the idea that certain agents are necessary to jump start a local economy into making inroads into the global marketplace and that what is often requir ed is a change of the guard: Its almost like a new generation of people coming to work. A lot of the older people who are now retiring, they used to say, Hey, were doing great, why bother? You know, now youre getting a lot of the younger people out on the work force, and they are saying, We need to go all over the world. This same respondent captures the frustration that all of the economic development people expressed when she describe s herself as one of the few attempting to promote a global outlook in her county: Its tough because I cant educate everyone. I f eel like there needs to be more funding on the international side where I could do more of a promotional, more of an educational thing. Teach people theres 18 million jobs that depend on trade in the U.S. Teach people these things of why we have to compete. I feel like Im a broken record sometimes, and its not making as much of an impact as it needs to be.
67 Contrasting with this view, another re spondent sees the changes that have occurred in the Bay Area as representing the inevitable changes that have taken place in this age of globalization: I think these changes are just due to chang es in the global marketplace. And the biggest change is globalization and communication. Computers, cell phones, everything. Someone can now do their international ope rations basically from anywhere and access their customers so much more easily. So it all becomes that much more invisible, sort of. That much more diffused. In general, however, respondents suppor ted both views to some extent, arguing that changes in the way business is done globally have naturally impacted Tampa Bay business as it keeps up with the rest of the world. This does not mean, however, that influential persons are not needed to dire ct those changes and compel some of the unwilling to accept them as inevitable. A criti cal finding should be emphasized here: nine out of ten of my respondents agreed to some extent that the changes that have taken place in the global economy over the past decades and that will continue to take place are simply inevitable, and any successful busine ss venture or economic development scheme must operate with this new world in mi nd. Also, the majority of my respondents, supporting the idea that certain human agents co mpel others to adopt these necessary new world views and practices, believed themselves to be one of many such agents currently operating in the Bay Area. How Does a City Get Global? As discussed, all of my respondents charac terized the Tampa Bay Area as, at the very least, a kind of second-tier city on its way to acquiring gr eater international status as place to do business and characterized themselv es as the people who are helping Tampa to acquire that status. I discussed with th em the changes that have been necessary to
68 further this objective. These changes, as it turns out, are regarded by my respondents as being quite inevitable in the globalizing worl d. I also asked my respondents to discuss how they expect and desire the Bay Area to develop in the coming decades and what needs to occur to accomplish their goals. The protocol questions and probes designe d to elicit discussion of this topic generated more lengthy descri ptions of the Tampa Bays deficiencies in terms of international business than previous questi ons asking respondents to characterize the areas international economi c connections. Although res pondents ranged in their enthusiasm regarding Tampas progress in acquiring greater intern ational status, all respondents agreed the current business practices that have helped the city secure any present status must be continued and expande d. Critical to this e xpansion was convincing other actors with powerful influence to adopt a more international outlook when it comes to business. One economic devel opment professional commented: There should be more people doing [interna tional] because its more important. For example, I am the only one in this whole county that even thinks about international trade. So I am always trying to get the Chamber to do things with me, always trying to explain the significance, and Im constantly having to partner with Tampa Bay. Theres a few strong people in this countyme being one of themthat you could count on one hand like five that are really gung-go, and they just push and push and push. But its not enough. This remark demonstrates not just the need to mobilize agents and promote a global outlook, but the simultaneous support and frustration of the re gional partnering agenda. While all of the economic developm ent professionals acknowledge the benefits working at the regional level to make a bolder impression about the Bay Area when working internationally, each also expressed fr ustration with their county level superiors who are only concerned about local economic de velopment. Each of them agreed that
69 although the concentrated regional marketing efforts must be continued and expanded, the more immediate priorities of county-l evel economic development may conflict with their loftier international objectives. Again, a perceived solution to this problem would involve high-profile, internat ionally-oriented activities of some powerful agents. I think it really boils down to that headqu arters issues. I think thats the bottom line because it takes someone like a Ted Turner or a Donald Trump. I dont knowa really strong leader whos got a lot of bucks whose passion is Tampa. In order to attract such high profile players and encourage the location of internationally and domestically based h eadquarters in the Bay Area, however, my respondents maintained their fa ith in the regional approach: I think we are going in that direction. Its just marketing all over the world and letting people know we are Tampa. (Port Authority representative) The Impact of International Development on Tampa Bay Residents By far, the most sensitive issue bro ught up during my interviews involved the impacts, positive or negative, that internat ional business development has had and will continue to have on Tampa Bay resident s. As discussed, all respondents were overwhelmingly supportive of international business develo pment, seeing only positive outcomes from such efforts even when probed for downsides. Respondents were, however, familiar with many of the arguments against specific courses of international business, such as local job loss when co mpanies move parts of their manufacturing operations overseas or loss of domestic profits when companies buy component parts outside the U.S. As two economic development professionals explained: A lot of people say were losing jobs overseas. But I know that for instance weve had several companies that would have closed down if they could not have reduced their costsif they couldnt be competitive for co st reasons. And they moved parts of their
70 operations overseas whether its Mexico or wherever. But it kept the company in business. It kept the headquarters there. So one company comes to mind. . well, theres like three hundred and fifty jobs. We lost 150 of those jobs, but we kept 150. We would have lost all of those jobs if they had closed down. You hear a lot of negativityin the political climate you hear a lot of negative things. For example, it takes jobs away. They dont rea lize that 18 million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade. They dont realize that for that one company that may have closed down, its unfortunate, but if another company expands or is exporting, its creating more jobs here. So a lot of people dont realize the strengths. Unflinchingly, respondents employed a cost-benefit argument to support international business development, claimi ng that the advantages far outweighed the disadvantages. Such arguments tended to la ck specific statistical/research support but were more often substantiated with common sense, hypothetical, or anonymous anecdotal examples. All respondents were uniformly supportive of free trade agreements and welcomed foreign direct investment. In gene ral, respondents, especially those who work most closely with the TBEDO, consistently argued that an international business strategy, i.e. one that involves selling pr oducts overseas and u tilizes resources outside the U.S. for product/service production, is necessary to prot ect oneself from the ri sks of a fluctuating domestic economy. Again, supporting evidence, if at all provided, tended to be anecdotal and vague, despite the consistency of this opinion. I thinkwell, I hear all these numbers that come from the federal government. I dont know how you prove any of this, but they have them on their web sites that companies that do international business on average pa y more. Ive heard numbers like seventeen percent. That those companies are more pr ofitable, and that those companies are less susceptible to change in the economies, wh ether its recession, because you spread your base. (Bi-national group representative) Many respondents hedged the issue by contending that their jobs involved assisting businesses in taki ng advantage of resources overseas, i.e., they did not necessarily concern themselves with the li ves of residents in general. However,
71 respondents uniformly subscribed to the beli ef that intern ational business development provides nothing but positive effects for Tampa Bay residents, the most frequent being employment benefits. Although specific ex amples were lacking, it was frequently asserted that internationally affiliated jobs paid more, thereby contributing to a higher standard of living. In genera l, respondents supported a more or less trickle-down theory of benefits to Tampa Bay residents on the economic end. However, respondents tended to suppleme nt discussion of economic benefits by describing the cultural benefits that a grow ing international economy provides. It was frequently noted that Tampas cultural diversit y, particularly in regard to its Hispanic population, provides a rich, cultural environment that is a direct result, at least partially, of the pull of its business climate. One repres entative of a bi-nationa l group characterized the effects of increased international business on the lives of residents as follows: It benefits the community. As you get more international trade going on, it opens up more awareness internationally of whats going on outside the community as well as whats going on in the community. It brings interna tional people here. Fam ilies and kids whove grown up in other countries. It introduces new lifestyle things to this community. Another such professional described th e effects for everyone of a successful international business agenda in a more idyllic fashion: I dont see any downsides. Its all positive. Its all part of the world globalization. And I think most people benefit probably even beyond the economy because people get to know each other better, you have less likelihood of war because when people get to know each other better, they generally get to like each other. It doesnt always work that way. But, you know, people are people. You hear so many times people travel and say, The people there were so friendly. They love Am ericans. Or vice versa even. So, generally speaking, its very, very positive Punctuating these discussions, however, wa s a mixed assessment of how receptive Tampa Bay is to such diversity. More recently arrived respondents were more likely to characterize Tampa residents as parochial or set in their ways bot h in terms of their
72 interest and support of intern ational business development and in their welcoming of the cultural diversity that may come along with it. All respondents were consistent in their views, however, that an increasingly receptiv e attitude is on the rise. As one native Floridian said, I think we accept people pretty well in our region without a whole lot of resentment. Weve still got a few backwoods rednecks, but I think we are getting past that. Discussion Overall, my respondents discussions on the impacts that th eir activities and agendas are having on the average Bay Area resi dent were some of the most stilted and vague portions of my interviews, despite my considerable attempts to probe for more specific information. This was disappointing in that my principal applied objective for this research was to understand how peopl e in Tampa Bay will be affected by the activities of these professional business elites. However, the hesitancy on the part of my respondents to accept responsibility for those people who they do not directly serve but may indeed be impacted by their efforts is a crit ical, if disturbing, trend among my research population that merits future study. As an applied researcher, I was partic ularly struck by such patterns among my interviewees and among TBEDO staff and mee ting attendees. That is, what was most remarkable about the issues confronted by my research subjects were the areas that were left unsaid. Although a strong workforce, for exampl e, is one of the critical selling points that my key informants use to promote the Ta mpa Bay region, I witnes sed a critical lack of concern over how the agendas of the Orga nization and my intervie wees could actually impact the working people of Tampa Bay. Indeed, there were a number of occasions when the marketing potential, positive or ne gative, of certain surveys illustrating the
73 quality of the Bay Area working population (i n terms of skills, edu cation, etc.) or the disappointingly low salaries that are common in some industries was discussed. However, these issues were addressed onl y in so far as to how they related to marketing efforts. Albeit, it is the principal mission of the Organization to market the Bay Area, but it is also its self-described missi on to coordinate efforts to influence business and government issues that impact economic growth and development of the region. Further, the majority of my key informant interviewees are responsible for marketing only second to helping businesses establish themselves in the Bay Area and prosper. Although the bottom line is, as th ey routinely asserted, jobs for Bay Area residents, my respondents were curiously retic ent when it came to discussi ng the creation of jobs in more detail. In fact, the avoidance of the sensitive issues su rrounding employment was an intriguing issue derived from my data. Ther e was no discussion, for example, of gender disparities in terms of kinds of employment or remuneration in all of my observations at the Organization or in my interviews. On only one occasion did the issue surface, through a discussion about the results of a survey about Bay Area salaries and job satisfaction, that minorities were least happy with job oppor tunities in Tampa. When this issue did arise, again, it was quickly glossed over as not having good marketing potential. Not once did I hear discussion, even in this age of globalization, of the thousands of Mexican and other foreign workers who keep some of the lowest paid sectors of the Bay Area economy going. In fact, Hispanics in genera l were only discussed in terms of the marketing potential of historic Ybor City.
74 In general, what were to me some of the most critical applied issues surrounding the employment-creating activities of these pr ofessionals whose bottom line is jobs were not the foci for my key informants as far I observed. Just as their usage of globalization rhetoric tended to be quite shallow, so wa s their consideration of Bay Area populations living outside the circle of elite entrepreneurs. The potential consequences of these attitudes will be discussed in the next chapter.
75 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Summary of Results The internship portion of this projec t, i.e., the updati ng of the TBEDOs International Organization Di rectory, served largely as a jumping off point for my interest in understand ing the thoughts and actions of bus inesspersons doing international in Tampa Bay and as a way to reciprocat e the Organizations cooperation with my research interests and willingne ss to allow my presence at many of their meetings. This internship provided me with critical networking opportunitie s in that my primary goal during this studying up of business elites was to come to some kind of understanding of what their international development agenda s are, how they operate and organize to accomplish these objectives, whether they subs cribe to the belief that the world has undergone a significant qualitati ve change that effects, among other things, how international business is done and that is ca lled globalization, and, most importantly, how these global agendas are expected to impact Tampa Bay residents. This work, although far from providing conclusive answers to thes e questions due to the small scale of my research, represents only the beginning of the kind of more pr oductive research that applied anthropologists can do in the area s of local and inte rnational economic development, how we can contribute to th e understanding of globali zation at a local level, and how we can expand our research populations to include the powerful elites whom anthropologists have long neglected.
76 Methodologically, this research is divi ded into two components. The first was participant observation at various kinds of meetings of the TBEDO with the goal of understanding the activities and agendas of one organization with an acknowledged interest in the development of Tampa Bay s international business potential. The second was semi-structured interviewing with individu als with various degrees of connection to the TBEDO who actively work in the internat ional arena to understand in more detail what such professionals do to develop Bay Area businesses, how they believe Tampa Bay residents are being impacted, and what are th eir plans for the future of the seven county area. As discussed in chapter 4, my work at th e TBEDO revealed that this high-profile organization has only recently begun to form ulate a strategy for marketing the Bay Area internationally. Its internati onally oriented activities are few in number and reflect no long-term goals, and its connections with in ternationally affiliat ed organizations are uneven at best. The TBEDO has begun to form alize its activities, however, through the creation of its international task force. Having witnessed not only the formation of the task force and its first two meetings duri ng which long term mission objectives were decided, I began to understand some of the key issues and critical impediments to coordinating an international marketing strategy that would be able to serve the interests of all participating organizations. The first of these issues is: who is repr esented by a task force that will have the power to decide how Organization marketing funds will be used to promote the Bay Area overseas? As discussed, the par ticipation of all seven counties was not achieved much to the disappointment of the meeting chairman who had attempted many times to secure full
77 attendance or, at the very leas t, to solicit the i nput of the counties who did not attend on the major issues of the meetings such as the key areas to be marketing to and which products or services to market to them. A lthough, the meeting attendees seemed to be in agreement that the major international players di d show up, it is not at all certain that this task force can and will implement a strategy th at will serve the interests of the numerous international organizations in the Bay Area. The simple fact is, however, that the Organization task force cannot achieve this goal as intern ational business in Tampa Bay is so loosely organized, nor would it if it c ould; the Organization is responsible to its board, its investors, and its mission which is strictly to market the seven county Bay Area. But what is to be marketed? Even the few meeting attendees had trouble agreeing upon the important goals of any marketi ng plan. Hillsborough and Pinellas county supported a strategy that woul d capitalize on Tampa Bays connections to Latin America (a strategy that the airport representative doub ted that the airlines could support) while the Polk county representative and the Organi zation V.P. felt that a plan that focused on securing inward investment would be more in keeping with the Organization mission and more in keeping with the kinds of messages that would appeal to international business parties interested in the Bay Area. At the e nd of the day, the marketing plan agreed upon at the task force meetings was basically the same strategy that the Organization has employed in its nationally oriented campaigns, i.e., one that distinguishes the Bay Area from the more well know cities of Miami and Orlando as a good place to do business (and therefore a call for inward investment) as opposed to one selling Tampas connections to Mexico and othe r parts of Latin America.
78 Despite the seemingly important points of disagreement among the attendees at this meeting in terms of the best marketi ng strategy to employ, the issue was resolved rather abruptly with a slogan only vaguely re lated to the issues at hand. This seemingly odd acceptance most likely goes to the fact that each individual participating on the task force works primarily for another orga nization be it Pinell as County Economic Development or Tampa International Airport. The international marketing efforts being formulated by the TBEDO are collaborative in format, and even if all attendees were solidly behind such a collective front, their primary responsi bilities are to more specific organizations and superiors who do not necessa rily support regional marketing strategies. The lack of a developed international st rategy at the level of the TBEDO further necessitated my key informant interviewing w ith Tampa Bay professionals who are fully entrenched in the development of Tampa Bay s international business capacities. Because my interview subjects each were actively pursuing their own inte rnational agendas and because the in-depth interviewing method enable d a more direct elicitation of ideas about international business in Tampa Bay from my subjects, this portion of my study more fully tackled the research questions with which I set out. Again, my internship obligations and my attendance at staff, mark eting, and international task force meetings, in conjunction with archival research into th e Organizations history, enabled me to make contacts with ten individuals working with but outside of the Organization in, for the most part, international busi ness development. I developed an interview instrument design to elicit information regarding each par ticipants line of work, connection with the TBEDO, opinion of Tampa Bays place in th e global economy, perception of changes in the Bay Area over various time spans, ideas concerning the origins of those changes,
79 assessment of the impact those changes ha ve had on Bay Area residents, and desired outcomes for Tampa Bay business in the future. Table 4.1 Summary of Key Informant Interview Responses ____________________________________________________________________ Tampa Bay in Comparison with Other International Cities (1) Tampa is a second-tier international city (2) Tampa has the right elements: airpor ts, seaport, internati onal chambers (3) Tampa has an respectably diverse population (4) Tampa lacks large cor porations with headquarters (5) Miami and Orlando are Tamp as main competitors for recognition Perceived Changes to Tampa Bay Business Over the Years (1) Respondents employ egocentric explanations for change (2) All respondents date a profound change to origin of the TBEDO (3) Regional branding is the most important innovation (4) Recent, unprecedented cha nges (globalization) have impa cted the way in which modern business is done Local Theories of Global City Development (1) The influence of powerful individuals and the pressures of a global economy interact to bring about change (2) Some provincial persons hold back Tamp as growth with failure to accept new ideas (3) County-level priorities often conflict with regi onal strategies Impact of International Devel opment on Tampa Bay Residents (1) Only positive outcomes result from international marketing and business development (2) Creation of new jobs alwa ys outweighs jobs lost overseas (3) Utilizing resources outside th e U.S. for product/service production is necessary to counteract th e risks of a fluctuating domestic economy (4) Effects of inte rnational economic develop trickle down to all (5) Tampa Bay residents benefit from a rich, cultural environment ________________________________________________________________________ As expected, the information elicit ed during my interviews allowed for an analysis of a number of issues not direc tly addressed by my protocol (See Table 4.1). These included the consistency of my responde nts international ag endas with those of the TBEDO, the relevancy of the globalizati on concept to the Bay Area, and my
80 respondents understanding of th is concept. I was also able to explore the difference between globalization as a pe rceived set of pressures determining how business must be done and globalization as a marketing strate gy employed by business elites. Finally, my interview data led me to examine the pol arization between the Tampa Bay region and Miami/Orlando as my respondents see it and the obstacles that impede the collaborative efforts that most of thes e businesspersons extol. More important in terms of the applied imp lications of this research is the impact that the international business agendas of the TBEDO and its associated professionals have had on the lives of Tampa Bay resident s. This last component of my research provides the most obvious appli cation to policy and its most important contri bution to the debate concerning the human costs and benefits of econo mic globalization. What was very striking to me was the general lack of consideration about Ba y residents exhibited both by TBEDO officers and my key informants. This is not to say that I observed any overtly malicious intentions toward the aver age citizen or even a callous disregard of their interests on the part of my research respondents. Rather, bot h the officers at the TBEDO and my interview respondents simply did not concern themselves with the impacts that their activities could have on Bay Area residents because th eir jobs really are in the service of a specific population: Bay Area business people. As discussed in the previous chapter, my respondents expected so me of degree of residual advantage to be conferred on the average job as a result of their work, i.e. higher paying jobs and greater exposure to cultural diversity, and communicated this belief through rather vague, idyllic responses to my questions. Ag ain, these responses tended to be short and frequently defensive, and this portion of the interview tended to be the most uncomfortable and
81 awkward. I believe this to be quite an alarmi ng issue, however, in th at powerful elites who lobby on a daily basis for certain lines of infrastructural change in the Bay Area so effectively work for such a small pe rcentage of the Bay Area population. Connections and Contributions to the Literature One rather disappointing outcome of both my participant observation at the TBEDO and my key informant interviewing with Bay Area professionals working on international marketing and business devel opment was the general lack of discussion among my research subjects that bore th e marks of that something new called globalization. While the TBEDO is launchi ng a new strategy towards bolstering Tampa Bays international economy and even though many of my respondents vehemently asserted that changes in technologies have eased international busin ess transactions, is there really something categorically new going in Tampa Bay? Is Bay Area business being altered by the pressures of globalization, or is it just business as usual? As Scholte (1999) asserts, globalization as a concept is not a substitute for internationalization, a term that describes the expa nsion of cross-border rela tions between countries. If globalization is to be a viable concept for understanding the wo rld as it exists today, it must be distinguished from long establishe d trends of internat ionalization, economic liberalization, modernization, or cultural universalization (Sc holte 1999). There is little evidence among my research population to str ongly support the cont ention that current changes in Tampa Bay international business refl ect a change in quality of beliefs rather than merely changes in rate or degree. The relative lack of discu ssion among my research subj ects about globalization or its impacts on Tampa Bay is itself, however, important data. Perhaps it is evidence that
82 globalization is a nebulous and not entirely useful concept if it is not being manifested at local sites such as mine. I cannot pretend to know if the data from my smallscale research project reflects the superficiality of the globalization concept altogether or the fact that Tampa Bay is in some kind of preliminary stages of becoming a global city. Clearly, more thorough and larger scaled research is needed. I argue that such research would be fruitful and have considerable applied applications primarily because I observed some alarming attitudinal patterns among my informants, whether they reflect the impact of globalization or not. One of these is their attitude toward internationa l business operations in this age of globalization (as many of them called it). Although there was a strong tendency among my respondents to express the opinion that they assume a leadersh ip role in bringing new ways of thinking about international to thei r respective organizations, they also asserted that the pressures to think about business in such an innovative fashion was imperative and inevitable given the current state of globa l business. That is, the majority of my respondents believe that they ar e the architects of change he re in the Bay Area (especially when they compare themselves with more p arochial residents). Simultaneously, they acknowledge that they are subj ect to outside pressures when it comes to determining what needs to be done in order for Bay Area businesses to remain competitive and productive. Stated another way, they view th emselves as being at the mercy of global pressures that force them to implement specif ic avenues of change here in the Bay Area. This attitude combined with th e belief that their jobs hold them responsible only to Bay Area professionals whose businesses they assist in establishing or expanding (and not the Bay Area residents employed by these busines ses) could have potentially hazardous
83 consequences. They are in control, yet they are not, and their obligations are conveniently limited to an elite audience even though their actions affect many far beyond that circle. The surprising homogeneousness of my respondents attitudes toward globalization and their roles in and obligations to the Bay Area is a finding that merits some additional consideration. Do my inform ants really have such similar goals and attitudes about the most effective strategies toward international economic development and marketing? As was demonstrated in chap ter four, there is some disagreement among my respondents as to whether increasing trad e or securing reverse investment should the first priority. By in large, however, their ou tlooks are strikingly similar in terms of the past and future progress of the Bay Area and the impacts of international development on Bay Area residents. Perhaps these overt simila rities mask more hidden disagreements that could be uncovered with more thorough ethnogra phic research and multiple interviews. It is quite possible that the unite d front presented by these el ites could be dismantled by a thicker description resulting from more long-term ethnography. Conclusions/Recommendations This discrepancy between the potential consequences that the actions of my elite subjects are having on Bay Area residents and th eir disavowal of responsibility to them is an issue that deserves further explorati on. For example, both my key informants and TBEDO officers were very keen on the importa nce of inward investment from foreign sources. While my respondents were well awar e of local downsides to outsourcing and movement of parts or wholes of corporat ions overseas, on no occasion did I detect any opinion that inward investment poses specific consequences for Bay Area residents as
84 well. Relatively little research has addre ssed the question of how the ever increasing importance of foreign direct investment (FDI) has impacted the U.S. worker, particularly workers not directly employed by firms with fo reign affiliations. Indeed, it is widely argued by economists and public policy make rs that American workers employed by foreign affiliated firms enjoy higher wages, increased benefit packages, greater job security, and better training opportunities th an similar workers employed by domestic firms (Graham 1996; Krugman 1996; McCulloch 1993) It is scholarly work of this type that has encouraged state and local g overnments to pursue economic development strategies that include the attrac tion of foreign direct investment, and it is this attitude that clearly predominates among my research subjects. Scholars who are more pessimistic about the impact of FDI on workers argue, however, that foreign affiliated firms tend to impose exploitative and anti-union labor environment and rely on contingent labor pool s and outsourcing such as in the case of Japanese owned automobile manufacturing plants (Drache 1996; Perrucci 1994). Some researchers suggest that fore ign affiliated firms tend to locate in regions where union organization is uncommon. Labor dissent is discouraged at FDI affiliated firms as workers are made aware that relocation of their facilities or redirection of their investment is easily accomplished. In general, foreign direct investment is part of a general pattern of what some scholars call th e spatialization of bus iness resources that is characteristic of globaliza tion. Spatially dispersed but gl obally integrated economic organization disrupts worker so lidarity along class lines and concentrates power in the hands of a few who take advantage of flexib le accumulation and labor processes. Some evidence even suggests that thes e ill effects of foreign direct investment are not confined
85 to only those working directly for foreign a ffiliated firms but that they spill over to generally affect employer strategies in all sectors (Brady and Wallace 2000). Even more unresolved than the issue of these microlevel outcomes on U.S. laborers is the question of how foreign direct investment impacts all workers at the regional, state, and national levels. Much of the literature focuses on Japanese-affiliated firms despite the fact that two thirds of FD I originates in Europe and Japanese business practices are likely quite distin ct from those of other countr ies (Sassen 1991). As a result, the possible consequences of European FDI ar e not being sufficiently explored. Further, studies on the impact of FDI tend to focus on the manufacturi ng sector only even though non-manufacturing FDI in the U.S. surpasse s it (Brady and Wallace 2000). The point of this example is simply that there may be serious effects on the occupational and economic well being of Tampa residents as a result of the push for inward investment despite the fact that its suppor ters among my research populati on, at the very least, show no sign of concern about it. I do not pretend to know just if and how the current activitie s of the TBEDO or my key informant interviewees are actually impacting Tampa Bay at large, nor can I responsibly begin to recomm end avenues of change for these business elites for the benefit of all. However, I can recommend that anthropologists begin to take some of this issues raised by research such as the kind upon which this thesis is based into consideration. Applied anthropol ogists in particular task themselves with understanding and informing real world problems and help ing to develop, guide, and correct policies that impact contemporary populations. As I discovered when conducting background research for this project, there is an appall ing lack of anthropologica l contributions to the
86 study of local economic development organizatio ns as well as to globalization processes at the local level in non-marginalized populatio ns. The continued paucity of elite research conducted by applied anthropologists will have political ramifications in a world where power and money are concentrated in the hand s of a few who subscrib e to ideologies and pursue strategies that may only be nefit elites of their kind. What is needed from the discipline of anthropology are more comprehensive case studies of allegedly globalizi ng processes at the level of lo cal institutions, particularly ones that incorporate a least some element of studying up. If certain elite actors are orchestrating and benefiting from globalizati on as reality or propaganda we need to study them to bolster the explanatory power of our research. Moreove r, if globalization processes are having effects on numerous other human populat ions, it is our responsibility as applied an thropologists to study this phenomenon comprehensively as our aim is to develop and modify policy. This research project has only been a preliminary step in the examination of gl obalization in the Tampa Bay region from an anthropological orientation, i.e. one that s eeks to understand both the emics and the etics of local globalizing proce sses, but will, hopefully, be a starting ground for further analyses of the behaviors of potentially power ful agents in those processes and of how the Tampa Bay Area may ultimately be impacted by their actions.
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93 APPENDIX A: INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Name of Interviewee: Date of Interview: Contact Information: ______________________________ 1. What is your occupation? 2. How is/are you/the organization you work for affiliated with the [TBEDO]? 2(a) How long have you been affiliated with the [TBEDO]? How did this relationship develop? 2(c) Please describe how and how often you/ your orga nization works with the [TBEDO]. 3. What is the central mission of your work/your organization? (a) How does your organization operate on a local/regional level? (Probe for definitions of what is the local or regional area) (b) How does your organization ope rate on a national level? (Probe for specific locat ions of national operations) (c) How does your organization opera te on an international level? (Probe for specific locations of international operations) 4. How have the operations of your organiza tion changed over the last (one/two/three) decades? Why? 5. How would you characterize Tampa Bay s international economy? Tampa Bays international connections (ec onomic, cultural, political)? (Probe for definitions of internation al or any other ambiguously defined terms or concepts that may ar ise, i.e., globalization) 6. How does the Bay area compare to other cities known for their international connections? Probe for specific defining char acteristics of global cities)
94 APPENDIX A (CONTINUED) 7. How would you characterize the changes in Tampa Bay in terms of its (economic, cultural, political) re lations around the globe over the la st (one/two/three) decades? 8. How have these changes come about? Are ce rtain decision makers propelling specific directions of change? 9. How have these changes affected the lives of Tampa residents? 10. How would you like to see the Bay area de velop over the next few decades? What changes have to occur to br ing about these developments? Who can make these changes? 11. How would Bay area residents be impacted by these developments?