Strategic Alliance: Maximizing the Aximizing the Path to Effectiveness in Sport Organizations

By Clopton, Aaron W. | Journal of Contemporary Athletics, January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Strategic Alliance: Maximizing the Aximizing the Path to Effectiveness in Sport Organizations


Clopton, Aaron W., Journal of Contemporary Athletics


1. Introduction

Efficiency and effectiveness are separate but equal in the sense that both are normally critical to organizational success. Efficiency is, at its most fundamental level, how well an organization is able to maximize its resources to achieve effectiveness. Effectiveness on the other hand is how well an organization is able to accomplish the goals it has established (Hodge, 2003). Being efficient does not ensure effectiveness and vice versa. However, most successful organizations will have a component of both. Often, organizational effectiveness is determined like college football rankings, it depends on who you ask (Hodge, 2003, p. 68). Organizations have multiple goals, which subsequently lead to a multitude of ways to measure whether they are effective. That degree of subjectivity can be both good and bad. It is good in the sense that an organization can define its own success. The negative is that same liberty is extended to an organization's critics. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and for the traditionally-successful football program at the Louisiana State University (LSU), a recent (2010) ten and two record for the regular season with the two losses coming from two top ten BCS (Bowl Championship Series) teams would be defined as an effective year. However, many fans and critics would disagree based on the fact that LSU has finished the year third in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Western division yet ranked eighty-fourth in the nation in total offense (Elias Sports Bureau, 2010). Similarly, the LSU football team experienced success the following year in 2011, spending most of the season ranked #1 in the country, compiling a 13-1 win/loss record and ending with a #2 ranking in the country. However, the sole blemish on the record occurred at the hands of an SEC division rival in the national championship game, and in game in which the offense failed to score a point. Despite the vast amount of success from the season, the ending loss left some stakeholders - both internal and external - upset and nearly labeling the season an ineffective one (Rabalais, 2012). This example shows the need for a sport organization to be able to satisfy the greatest amount of goals possible. One potential tool for accomplishing that task could is pursuing, creating, and properly managing strategic alliances to optimize organizational capacity.

A Strategic alliance is a mutually beneficial long-term formal relationship formed between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon goals or to meet a critical business need while allowing these parties to remain independent organizations (Mc Sweeny-Feld, 2010, 13). At their most fundamental existence, strategic alliances shift the business model from competitive to cooperative (Williamson, 1985). Gulati (1995) goes further to describe this shifting of the business model, suggesting an exchange, sharing, or codevelopment of resources or capabilities to achieve mutually relevant benefits. From there, individual alliances can be viewed as "any interfirm cooperation that falls between the extremes of discrete, short-term contracts and the compete merger of two or more organisations" (Contractor & Lorange, 2002, p. 4). This is a perspective that has long been discovered, though, and one of the more salient theoretical basis for this perspective with the overlap of sport and strategic alliances is the resource-based theory (RBT) of achieving sustainable competitive advantages (Barney, 1991). The resource-based view of strategic alliance formation states that strategic alliances are a cooperative method of pairing the specific resources and skills of each partner in the alliance to achieve a greater goal (Gulati, 1995). This cooperation could be one that delivers a competitive advantage should it be proven to provide value, have some extent of rarity, and is difficult to imitate (Barney, 1991). While much of past research on organizations' resources typically tested the effects of organizational resources on firm performance, RBT suggests that competitive advantage can also be created through alliance partners (Park, Mezias, & Song, 2004). …

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