Determinants of inter-partner learning in an alliance between a national sporting organisation and a professional sport franchise

Cleary, Paul
Dickson, Geoff
Phelps, Sean
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

This research explores the determinants of inter-partner learning in alliances. The potential for organisations to learn from their alliance partner is well recognised in the literature. The Knowledge Based View of the Firm (KBV) posits that an organisation’s knowledge base, especially its tacit knowledge base, is a source of sustainable competitive advantage. Three key determinants of inter-partner learning are: intent to learn, transparency (i.e. willingness to share knowledge) and receptivity (i.e. capacity to learn). These three concepts are used to guide a single case study of an alliance between a National Sport Organisation (NSO) and a Professional Sport Franchise (PSF). Data was obtained through semi-structured interviews with key informants at both organisations. Each individual transcript was colour coded in relation to each of the four research questions. All relevant quotes were then copied into separate files for each organisation and categorised by research question. The results of the study suggest that 1) despite historical conflict, the relationship between alliance partners is becoming increasingly positive; 2) intent to learn was low in both organisations but higher in the NSO; 3) the NSO was more transparent than the PSF; and 4) receptivity was low for both organisations. Key conclusions of the research are that the NSO and PSF are failing to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by their relationship, but intent, transparency and receptivity remain useful concepts to explore inter-partner learning.

Sport management , Alliances , Learning , Knowledge , Case study
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