The role of interorganizational relationships on elite athlete development processes

Jessie Brouwers, Popi Sotiriadou, Veerle De Bosscher, Graham Cuskelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies acknowledge the importance of sporting organizations' developing partnerships with clubs for athlete development purposes. However, there are no studies that address the way partnerships influence athlete progression and pathways. This study explores interorganizational relationships (IORs) between a tennis federation and tennis clubs in their efforts to improve player development processes. Document analysis and semistructured interviews with representatives from clubs and the Flemish federation were used. The findings show that the federation and the clubs engaged in IORs to achieve reciprocity and efficiency. The federation anticipated gaining legitimacy and asymmetry, and clubs expected to develop stability. Formal and informal control mechanisms facilitated IOR management. The conceptual model discussed in this study shows the types of IOR motives, management, and control mechanisms that drive and influence the attraction, retention/ transition, and nurturing processes of athlete development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of sport management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Athlete development processes
  • Development of sport
  • Elite sport
  • Interorganizational relationships
  • Managing and evaluating elite athlete development
  • Sport clubs
  • Sport organizations


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