Unravelling the complexities of interorganisational relationships within the sports tourism policy arena

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16 Citations (Scopus)


There has been a general consensus in the sports tourism literature that sport and tourism agencies do not collaborate. Despite being identified as a problem, it is really only Weed (2001, 2003) and Weed and Bull (1997) who have tried to explain why this is the case, and even they were forced to confine their study to the relationship between the regional bodies for sport and tourism in England. Thus, there is a gap in the literature which this study will address. This research examined the relationships that exist between the public agencies involved in sports tourism, using a comparative study of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. A qualitative approach was considered the most appropriate for this study, using the critical case‐sampling technique in which a total of 54 in‐depth interviews were conducted with public‐sector officials from both countries. To analyse their findings, the authors have tapped into the literature on inter‐organisational behaviour and adapted Huxham and Vangen’s (Huxham, C., & Vangen, S. (2005). Managing to collaborate: The theory and practice of collaborative advantage. London: Routledge) theory of ‘Collaborative Advantage’ to produce a model that captures the dynamics of collaboration in sports tourism. The model is made up of 12 practitioner themes (aims, commitment and resources, trust, culture, structure and restructuring, key individuals, power, leadership, identity, democracy and equality, communication and partnership overload) and four crosscutting themes (politics, economic policy, accountability and ideology). Each theme and the issues and tensions identified within it can affect inter‐organisational relationships in a particular way, but the model illustrates how each theme is interlinked and is part of a larger, more complex picture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-112
JournalJournal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2010


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