Title: Managing inter-organisational relationships: the art of plate spinning

Authors: Kathy Babiak, Lucie Thibault

Addresses: Division of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, 401 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. ' Department of Sport Management, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, ON, L2S 3A1, Canada

Abstract: Partnership management remains an underexplored area in academic literature, and empirical studies on the nature of interaction between organisations involved in relationships are few. This study empirically examined how multiple organisations in a cross-sectoral partnership used both formal controls and informal (social) processes to manage their relationships. This research employed qualitative methods to explore the extent to which both formal and informal processes were relied upon by individuals responsible for managing partnerships. Partnership managers in this study felt that formal controls such as defined objectives and strategies, division of costs, risks, and returns, and support and control mechanisms such as contracts and reporting structures limited interaction between organisations, and thus were not extensively employed. Participants reported that to a great extent, informal processes such as trust were used to ensure the effective interaction between organisations to allow the objectives of the relationship to be met. Recommendations for practitioners and future research are provided.

Keywords: partnership management; inter-organisational relationships; formalisation; trust; Canada; amateur sports; sport management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2008.017193

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2008 Vol.3 No.3, pp.281 - 302

Published online: 18 Feb 2008 *

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