Previous studies acknowledge the importance of sporting organizations’ developing partnerships with clubs for athlete development purposes. However, there are no studies that address the way partnerships influence athlete progression and pathways. This study explores interorganizational relationships (IORs) between a tennis federation and tennis clubs in their efforts to improve player development processes. Document analysis and semistructured interviews with representatives from clubs and the Flemish federation were used. The findings show that the federation and the clubs engaged in IORs to achieve reciprocity and efficiency. The federation anticipated gaining legitimacy and asymmetry, and clubs expected to develop stability. Formal and informal control mechanisms facilitated IOR management. The conceptual model discussed in this study shows the types of IOR motives, management, and control mechanisms that drive and influence the attraction, retention/ transition, and nurturing processes of athlete development.
Popi Sotiriadou and Graham Cuskelly are with the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. Veerle De Bosscher is with the Department of Sport Policy and Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. Jessie Brouwers is with the Department of Club Development, Tennis Vlaanderen, Brussels, Belgium.