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Interorganizational partnerships have been used by nonprofits in a variety of industries to build organizational capacity, yet they are currently underutilized by many youth sport nonprofit organizations. While previous research has highlighted key features of dyadic relationships that inhibit the development and maintenance of partnerships, there has been less attention to the influence of broader or complete networks. This study examined key structural properties of a youth sport nonprofit network in one municipality to determine how interorganizational partnerships were used to build organizational capacity. Whole network analysis was used to study partnerships between youth sport nonprofits and analyze the configuration and structural features of the network. Results indicated a fragmented network of youth sport nonprofit organizations, with the majority of organizations operating independently of one another, and the network itself characterized by unbalanced ties. The discussion highlights how this network structure influences organizational action and contributes to relational issues often observed at the dyadic level. The introduction of a third-party brokerage organization is discussed as a potentially useful strategy for improving this network structure.
Gareth J. Jones is with the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Mike Edwards, Jason N. Bocarro and Kyle S. Bunds are with the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Jordan W. Smith is with the Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University, Logan, UT.