Great Expectations: A Critical Review of Interorganizational Relationships in Amateur Sport

in Journal of Sport Management

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Katie E. MisenerDepartment of Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

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Kathy BabiakUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Gareth JonesTemple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Iain LindseyDurham University, Durham, United Kingdom

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The study of interorganizational relationships in amateur sport has developed significantly over the past 30 years alongside rising expectations for multisector integration between sport organizations and other partners. This stems from sport organizations seeking innovative ways to achieve their mission and neoliberal government policies adding institutional pressure for interorganizational cooperation. This review paper discusses the wider cultural and political forces that shape the drive for legitimacy through partnerships across sector boundaries and outlines the theoretical influences on interorganizational relationship research in amateur sport between economic and behavioral paradigms. In addition to considering how prevailing frameworks and findings inform the current body of knowledge in sport management, we critically reflect on implicit assumptions underpinning this work given that partnerships now saturate the discourse of sport management policy and practice. Our review questions whether reality lines up with our “great expectations,” and explores what limitations and opportunities remain for future interorganizational relationships research in amateur sport.

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