Collaboration is now an important part of public sector management. The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that have helped shape the relationships between public agencies involved in sports tourism. Design/methodology/approach - Using critical case sampling 54 in-depth interviews were conducted with public officials in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Findings - The authors have produced the "Theory of collaborative advantage in relation to sports tourism". This model captures the dynamics of collaboration in the sports tourism policy arena. A total of 12 practitioner themes and four cross-cutting themes were identified and although each theme and the issues and tensions identified within it can affect inter-organizational relationships in a particular way, the model illustrates how each theme is interlinked and is part of a larger, more complex picture. Research limitations /implications - Like all empirical research, this paper has its limitations but if the issues that affect collaboration are not identified then they cannot be addressed. Although no two collaborative settings are the same, public sector managers need to be aware of the factors that affect, or may affect, inter-organizational relationships so that they can pre-empt problems and maximise the use of resources. Practical implications - Hopefully this paper will, in some way, lead to better planning and management of sports tourism and encourage those involved in sports tourism policy to adapt a collaborative, rather than an isolated, approach. Originality/value - This study has contributed to knowledge by providing a better understanding of the inter-relationships in the sports tourism policy arena
Bibliographical noteReference text: Augustyn, M. and Knowles, T. (2000), “Performance of tourism partnerships: a focus on York”,
Tourism Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 341-51.
Boniface, B. and Cooper, C. (2001), Worldwide Destinations: The Geography of Travel and
Tourism, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.
Bramwell, B. and Sharman, A. (1999), “Collaboration in local tourism policy-making”, Annals of
Tourism Research, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 392-415.
Bucklin, L. and Sengupta, S. (1993), “Organising successful co-marketing alliances”, Journal of
Marketing, Vol. 57 No. 2, pp. 32-46.
Callanan, M. (2004), “Regional authorities and regional assemblies”, in Callanan, M. and Keogan, J.
(Eds), Local Government in Ireland inside out, Future Print, Dublin, pp. 45-63.
Child, J. and Faulkner, D. (1998), Strategies of Cooperation: Managing Alliances, Networks and
Joint Ventures, University Press, Oxford.
Compact Oxford English Dictionary (2005), OUP, Oxford.
Connelly, D.R. (2007), “Leadership in the collaborative interorganizational domain”, International
Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 30 No. 11, pp. 1231-62.
Crottts, J., Buhalis, D. and March, R. (2000), Global Alliances in Tourism and Hospitality
Management, Haworth Press, New York, NY.
Dredge, D. and Jenkins, J. (2007), Tourism Planning and Policy, Wiley, Singapore.
Emerson, R. (1962), “Power dependence relations”, American Sociological Review, Vol. 27 No. 1,
Failte Ireland (2007), Tourism Facts, Failte Ireland, Dublin.
Foley, M. and Reid, G. (1997), “Activities, holidays and activity holidays in Scotland”,
in Ravenscroft, D., Phillips, D. and Bennett, M. (Eds), Tourism and Visitor Attractions:
Leisure, Culture and Commerce, LSA, Eastbourne, pp. 23-46.
Frisby, W., Thibault, L. and Kikulis, L. (2004), “The organisational dynamics of under-managed
partnerships in leisure service departments”, Leisure Studies, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 109-26.
Fyall, A. (2003), “Marketing visitor attractions: a collaborative approach”, in Fyall, A., Garrod, B.
and Leask, A. (Eds), Managing Visitor Attractions: New Directions, Butterworth-Heinemann,
Oxford, pp. 134-56.
Fyall, A. and Garrod, B. (2005), Tourism Marketing – A Collaborative Approach, Channel View,
Getz, D. (2003), “Sport event tourism: planning, development, and marketing”, in Hudson, S.
(Ed.), Sport and Adventure Tourism, Haworth, New York, NY, pp. 52-75.
Gibson, H. (1998), “Sport tourism: a critical analysis of research”, Sport Management Review,
Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 45-76.
Gibson, H. (2002), “Sport tourism at a crossroads? Considerations for the future”, in Gammon, S.
and Kurtzman, J. (Eds), Sport Tourism: Principles and Practice, LSA, Eastbourne, pp. 122-44.
Gibson, H. (2007), Sport Tourism – Concepts and Theories, Routledge, New York, NY.
Glyptis, S.A. (1989), “Leisure and patterns of time use”, Leisure Studies Association Annual
Conference, Bournemouth, England, 24-26 April 1987, LSA, Eastbourne.
Glyptis, S.A. (1991), “Sport and tourism”, in Cooper, C. (Ed.), Progress in Tourism, Recreation and
Hospitality Management, Longman, Harlow, pp. 25-46.
Go, F. and Appelman, J. (2001), “Achieving global competitiveness in SMEs by building trust in
interfirm alliances”, in Wahab, S. and Cooper, C. (Eds), Tourism in the Age of Globalisation,
Routledge, London, pp. 183-97.
Gray, B. (1989), Collaborating: Finding Common Ground for Multi-party Problems, Jossey-Bass,
San Francisco, CA.
Greer, J. (2002), Partnership Governance in Northern Ireland – Improving Performance, Ashgate
Hall, M. (1994), Tourism and Politics – Policy, Power and Place, Wiley, Chichester.
Higham, J. (2005), Sport Tourism Destinations – Issues, Opportunities and Analysis,
Higham, J. and Hall, M. (2003), “Sport tourism in Australia and New Zealand: responding to a
dynamic interface”, Journal of Sport Tourism, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 131-43.
Hinch, T. and Higham, J. (2004), Sport Tourism Development, Channel View, Sydney.
Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. (1996), “Working together: key themes in the management of
relationships between public and non profit organisations”, International Journal of Public
Sector Management, Vol. 9 No. 7, pp. 5-17.
Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. (2005), Managing to Collaborate – The Theory and Practice of
Collaborative Advantage, Routledge, London.
Jamal, T. and Getz, D. (1995), “Collaboration theory and tourism planning”, Annals of Tourism
Research, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 186-204.
Kanter, R. (1994), “Collaborative advantage: the art of alliances”, Harvard Business Review,
July-August, pp. 96-108.
Kerr,W. (2003), TourismPublic Policy and the Strategic Management of Failure, Pergamon, Oxford.
Knox, C. and Carmichael, P. (2006), “Bureau shuffling? The review of public administration in
Northern Ireland”, Public Administration, Vol. 84 No. 4, pp. 941-65.
Lank, E. (2004), Collaborative Advantage – How Organisations Win by Working Together,
Palgrave Macmillian, Basingstoke.
Mattessich, P. and Monsey, B. (1992), Collaboration: What Makes it Work, Amherst H. Wilder
Foundation, St Paul, MN.
Mohr, J. and Spekman, R. (1994), “Characteristics of partnership success: partnership attributes,
communication behaviour and conflict resolution techniques”, Strategic Management
Journal, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 135-50.
Mullins, L. (1999), Management and Organisational Behaviour, 5th ed., Pitman, London.
Murphy, P. and Murphy, E. (2004), Strategic Management for Tourism Communities – Bridging
the Gap, Channel View, Toronto.
Novelli, M. (2005), Niche Tourism – Contemporary Issues, Trends and Cases, Elsevier, London.
Oliver, C. (1990), “Determinants of interorganisational relationships: integration and future
directions”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 241-65.
Palmer, A. (1998), “Evaluating the governance style of marketing groups”, Annals of Tourism
Research, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 185-201.
Ritchie, B. and Adair, D. (2004), Sport Tourism – Interrelationships, Impacts and Issues, Channel
Selin, L. and Chavez, D. (1995), “Developing an evolutionary tourism partnership model”, Annals
of Tourism Research, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 844-56.
Spyriadis, A. (2002), “Collaborative partnerships as strategic marketing tools of international
hotel chains in pursuit of business development and competitive advantage in the global
marketplace”, unpublished Master’s thesis, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth.
Standeven, J. and De Knop, P. (1999), Sport Tourism, Human Kinetics, London.
Swart, K. (1998), “Visions for South African sport tourism”, Visions in Leisure and Business,
Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 4-12.
Telfer, D. (2000), “Tastes of Niagara: building strategic alliances between tourism and
agriculture”, in Crotts, J., Buhalis, D. and March, R. (Eds), Global Alliances in Tourism and
Hospitality Management, Haworth Press, New York, NY.
Waddock, S. and Bannister, B. (1991), “Correlates of effectiveness and partner satisfaction in
social partnerships”, Journal of Organisational Change Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 64-7.
Weed, M. (2005), “Tourism and sports development: providing the foundation for healthy
lifestyles”, paper presented at the First International Congress, Sport and Quality of Life,
Villa Real, Portugal, December.
Weed, M. (2007), “A grounded theory of the policy process for sport and tourism”, in Gibson, H.
(Ed.), Sport Tourism – Concepts and Theories, Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 258-79.
Weed, M. and Bull, C. (1997), “Integrating sport and tourism: a review of regional policies in
England”, Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 129-48.
Wilson, L. and Boyle, E. (2006), “Interorganisational collaboration at UK world heritage sites”,
Leadership & Organization Development, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 501-23.
Wood, D. and Gray, B. (1991), “Towards a comprehensive theory of collaboration”, Journal of
Applied Behavioural Science, Vol. 37 No. 92, pp. 139-62.
Bailey, N. (1995), Partnership Agencies in British Urban Policy, University College London Press,
Barringer, B. and Harrison, S. (2000), “Walking a tightrope: creating value through
interorganisational relationships”, Journal of Management, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 367-403.
Baum, T. and Ireland, –. (1995), “the peace dividend”, Insights, July, pp. 9-14.
Bramwell, B. and Lane, B. (2000), “Collaboration and partnerships in tourism planning”,
in Bramwell, B. and Lane, B. (Eds), Tourism Collaboration and Partnerships – Politics,
Practice and Sustainability, Channel View, Toronto, pp. 1-19.
Camagni, R. (1993), “Inter-firm industrial networks: the costs and benefits of cooperative
behaviour”, Journal of Industry Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 1-15.
Dean, J. and Callanan, M. (2004), “Sport tourism in the UK: policy and practice”, in Ritchie, B. and
Adair, D. (Eds), Sport Tourism – Interrelationships, Impacts and Issues, Channel View,
Bristol, pp. 147-53.
Deery, M. and Jago, L. (2007), “The management of sport tourism”, in Gibson, H. (Ed.), Sport
Tourism – Concepts and Theories, Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 246-63.
Doz, Y. and Hamel, G. (1998), Alliance Advantage, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
Glyptis, S.A. (1982), Sport and Tourism in Western Europe, British Travel Education Trust,
Hall, M. (2005), “Sport tourism planning”, in Higham, J. (Ed.), Sport Tourism Destinations –
Issues, Opportunities and Analysis, Butterworth Heinemann, London, pp. 135-52.
Himmelman, A. (1996), “On the theory and practice of transformational collaboration: from social
service to social justice”, in Huxham, C. (Ed.), Creating Collaborative Advantage, Sage,
London, pp. 19-43.
Hutt, M., Stafford, E., Walker, B. and Reningen, P. (2000), “Case study: defining the social
network of a strategic alliance”, Sloan Management Review, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 51-62.
Jago, L. (2003), “Sport tourism in Australia”, Journal of Sport Tourism, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 7-8.
Long, P. (1997), “Researching tourism partnership organisations: from practise to theory to
methodology”, in Murphy, P. (Ed.), Quality Management in Urban Tourism, Channel View,
Clevedon, pp. 235-52.
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (1997), Review of Rural Policy:
Partnerships in the United States, OECD, Paris.
Parker, S. (2000), “Collaboration on tourism policy making: environmental and commercial
sustainability”, in Bonaire, N.A., Bramwell, B. and Lane, B. (Eds), Tourism Collaboration
and Partnerships – Politics, Practice and Sustainability, Channel View, Toronto, pp. 78-97.
Provan, K. (1984), “Interorganisational cooperation and decision making autonomy in a
consortium multihospital system”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 9 No. 2,
Selin, S. (1993), “Collaborative alliances: new interorganisational forms in tourism”, Journal of
Travel and Tourism Marketing, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 217-27.
Weed, M. and Bull, C. (2004), Sports Tourism: Participants, Policy and Providers,