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Examining partnerships in amateur sport : the case of a Canadian national sport centre

This study explored the dynamics, challenges, and complexities encountered in forming, managing,
and evaluating the interorganizational relationships of a nonprofit organization and its partners in the
public, nonprofit, and commercial sectors. Using a partnership process model developed from various
theoretical frameworks (Kouwenhoven, 1993; Oliver, 1990; Provan & Milward, 2001; Wood & Gray,
1991), this study examined three phases of partnership relationships (i.e., formation, management, and
evaluation) to gain a better understanding of the interactions among partnering organizations in
Canadian sport.
Qualitative research methods were employed to investigate partnerships of one National Sport
Centre (NSC). Data were collected from three sources: 28 interviews, 110 organizational documents, and
attendance at three organizational meetings. Interviews, relevant document passages, and field notes
were transcribed and analyzed using Atlas.ti, a qualitative analysis software program.
Results indicated that environmental and organizational conditions facilitated the formation of
partnerships. Interdependence among organizations, presence of a broker, presence of a network, and
convergence of objectives were evident. Specific reasons for partnership formation included efficiency,
stability, necessity, legitimacy, reciprocity, and asymmetry.
Partnership management structures and processes were central to interactions between
organizations. Partners struggled to find a balance between pressures to compete and pressures to
collaborate. Power imbalances, political dynamics, and control issues primarily related to resource
concerns existed, and in some cases weakened the bonds among partners. Some partnerships were
formalized, while others were loosely structured and primarily based on mutual trust, previous history,
and personal interest. Ambiguities regarding roles and responsibilities, and 'representativeness' influenced
how partners interacted and contributed to challenges in managing partnerships. Allocating resources
was a prime concern for the organizations.
Several levels of analysis for outcome evaluation existed. At the community level, the
performance of NSC athletes at international competitions' was a key measure of success. At the network
level, effective coordination of programs and services contributing to improved performances of athletes
was perceived as an important measure of effectiveness. Finally at the organizational level, factors
including ability to attract and retain partners, ability to remain economically viable through resource
acquisition, and achieving legitimacy were all viewed as criteria to evaluate partnership effectiveness.
Date11 1900
CreatorsBabiak, Katherine M
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
RelationUBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project []

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