استراتژی های نفوذ ذینفعان در مناقصه برای مجوز فرانشیز (فرانچایز) ورزش حرفه ای
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Sport Management Review, Volume 13, Issue 3, August 2010, Pages 255–268
This paper examines an application for a franchise license in Australia's professional rugby league competition, the National Rugby League (NRL). Frooman's (1999) typology of stakeholder influence strategies is used to analyse the negotiation of resource relationships between a Gold Coast franchise bid team and its key stakeholders. Primary data came from 12 interviews with nine key actors in the bid process; these were buttressed by secondary data. Frooman's typology provided a useful heuristic, but did not fully account for the critical role of firm legitimacy in stakeholders’ choice of influence strategies. The bid team negotiated stakeholders’ initial direct withholding strategies by creating access to the intangible resource of legitimacy. This subsequently provided access to material resources such as finance, a new stadium, and, ultimately, a franchise license. The findings are of note to practitioners and scholars interested professional sport and stakeholder theory.
In 1995, the introduction of pay-TV in Australia sparked a divisive battle between media companies for the broadcast rights of Australian rugby league (Rowe, 1997). By 1998, the conflicting parties reached agreement and the National Rugby League (NRL) was formed as a joint venture between the media conglomerate, News Limited, and the Australian Rugby League (ARL), the code's national governing body in Australia. Presently, the NRL is one of Australia's most popular professional sport leagues, and is comprised of franchises from across the eastern states of Australia, plus one from Auckland, New Zealand (McGaughey & Liesch, 2002). This study explores how a consortium from Queensland's Gold Coast negotiated resource relationships with its key stakeholders in its successful bid for an NRL franchise license. The NRL is one of five major professional sport leagues in Australia. The other leagues are the Australian Football League (AFL), Super 14 Rugby Union, A-League Soccer, and the National Basketball League. All four of Australia's football codes have expanded their national leagues over the last two decades. Complementing this growth, an increasing number of cities and regions have sought representation in national leagues. The economic and tourism impacts of professional sport franchises on cities have been explored elsewhere (cf., Higham and Hinch, 2003 and Leonard, 1998). Meanwhile, Shropshire (1995) discusses the social benefits that being perceived as a “big league city” can bestow; and Sparvero and Chalip (2007) propose a model by which a host community can leverage the presence of a professional sport franchise for economic and social benefit. Meanwhile, Rascher and Rascher (2004), Dickson, Arnold, & Chalip (2005), and Dickson, Cousens, & O’Brien (2005) explore league expansion issues in professional sport. And interestingly, Dickson, Arnold, et al. (2005) and Dickson, Cousens, et al. (2005) examine the expansion of the Victorian Football League (VFL) in the 1980s. The authors address the nature of interorganisational power relationships between the league's governing body and clubs seeking to join the league—the VFL's key stakeholders during the expansion process. The term “stakeholder” refers to, “any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of organizational objectives” (Freeman, 1984, p. 25). This somewhat broad definition has since been refined. Clarkson (1995) distinguishes a primary stakeholder as, “one without whose continuing participation the corporation cannot survive as a going concern” (p. 106). Thus, a consortium seeking inclusion in a professional sport league, referred to in this study as a “franchise bid team,” is dependent on primary stakeholders for the resources it needs to achieve entry into the focal league. This resource dependency suggests the influence of power relationships in the franchise bid process. In this context, power is, “structurally determined in the sense that the nature of the relationship – that is, who is dependent on whom and how much – determines who has power” (Frooman, 1999, p. 196). From this perspective, power is thought of as a characteristic of the relationship between actors, not as a trait of the actors themselves (Frooman, 1999). Researchers such as Clarkson (1995) and Mitchell, Agle, & Wood (1997) examine power within stakeholder relationships. However, like Freeman's (1984) seminal work, most stakeholder research addresses managerial behaviour taken in response to stakeholders, rather than the behaviours of the stakeholders themselves. This prompted Frooman (1999) to propose a working heuristic to address stakeholders’ strategic behaviours, rather than the firm's. He argues that, knowing how stakeholders may try to influence a firm is critical knowledge for any manager. After all, for managers to act strategically and plan their actions…presupposes that they have some idea of how others in their environment will act (Frooman, 1999, p. 203). Therefore, Frooman (1999) proposes a typology of stakeholder influence strategies, which forms the core of this study's theoretical underpinnings. The study's purpose was to understand the negotiation of resource relationships between a professional sport franchise bid team and its key stakeholders. In so doing, the study places stakeholder theory in a specific and under-researched context—professional sports league expansion. This makes a contribution to stakeholder theory, and builds on the work of Dickson, Arnold, et al. (2005) and Dickson, Cousens, et al. (2005). In the next section, the study's research context is presented.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In the professional sport setting, previous studies have explored sport league expansion decisions (Dickson et al., 2005a, Dickson et al., 2005b and Rascher and Rascher, 2004), the impacts of professional sport franchises on host regions (Higham and Hinch, 2003 and Sparvero and Chalip, 2007), and issues related to the public funding of facilities (Leonard, 1998). This study builds on this literature by analysing some of the strategic processes involved in actually securing a professional sport franchise license. And, complementing earlier work by Amis et al. (2004), and O’Brien and Slack (2004) on sport organisations’ strategic responses to external pressures, this research explored how some of these external pressures are actually created. As Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) argued, all organisations are dependent for survival on external actors that control critical resources. The focus of this study was on analysing the relationships that evolve as a result of these dependencies. Understanding the nature of firm–stakeholder resource relationships is a critical component of strategic management. The centrality of resources in the relationships explored in this study was unquestionable. Obviously, the dynamics of particular bid processes in different sports and countries will be idiosyncratic. Nonetheless, although this case focuses on a professional rugby league context in Australia, understanding the complexities of stakeholders’ strategic behaviour has applications across any number of sport contexts. A key aspect of this study was the negotiation of asymmetrical resource relationships. As Table 4 indicates, the GCBT commenced the bid process with no influence on any of its key stakeholders. Each stakeholder, therefore, had the ability to withhold critical resources and exert direct influence on the bid team's behaviour and, invariably, each implemented that strategy in the early stages of the bid. However, largely through the strategic lobbying of these stakeholders, which led to favourable press and community support, the Gold Coast bid ultimately achieved legitimacy. At this point, the supply of critical material resources such as land and stadium funding became politically irresistible, particularly for the Queensland State Government. The role of the Australian Federal Government was of note here. Its relationship with the bid team remained one of stakeholder power, which Frooman would suggest should result in direct withholding strategies. However, the Federal Government's provision of public support for the bid helped facilitate legitimacy, and was more characteristic of direct usage, which suggests high interdependence. This behaviour departs from Frooman's typology, and may be better explained by Rowley and Moldoveanu (2003) who contend that stakeholders are not merely driven by interests, but also by the desire to express an identity. Having the Gold Coast-based Federal Minister on the bid team was a conduit that drove the GCBT's agenda at the Federal level. Ultimately, the relationships built by the bid team with the NRL, the GCCC and the Australian Federal Government, combined with the momentum of community support and media interest, enhanced the overall legitimacy of the bid. Ultimately, this legitimacy led to extreme pressure on the Queensland State Government for stadium funding. The behaviour of the Queensland State Government was an interesting illustration of how stakeholder influence can shift in a resource relationship. At the outset, the State Government used what Frooman (1999) describes as direct withholding, and ultimately, shifted to indirect usage strategies. Unlike the GCCC, the State Government did not enter into any sort of lobbying relationship with the bid team. Indeed, it was only after the bid team had established a legitimate claim and the license seemed a likely outcome that the Queensland State Government finally committed to its condition-laden stadium funding decision: the NRL had to grant the Gold Coast a franchise license in a timely manner, and GCCC had to provide land for a stadium. For the State Government to have “walked away” at this point was politically untenable, which highlights a fundamental shift in its resource relationship with the GCBT. The strategic standoff between the State Government, the NRL and GCCC was ultimately in the bid team's interests, and amply demonstrates Rowley's (1997) contention that stakeholder relationships are seldom dyadic in nature. Thus, while Frooman's (1999) typology provided a useful heuristic to analyse the influence strategies adopted by the GCBT's stakeholders, incorporating the work of Rowley (1997) and Rowley and Moldoveanu (2003) helps explain the fact that pressures from stakeholders’ influence strategies more typically emerge from multiple stakeholders simultaneously. The contributions of this work are threefold. First, a theoretical analysis of a franchise bid process builds on our tacit knowledge of this under-explored aspect of professional sport. The critical role of building legitimacy and what Phillips (2003) calls its “multidimensional character” (p. 38), in particular, warrants further research. This point is elaborated upon below, but leads to a second contribution: Frooman's typology was shown to provide a useful, though limited, heuristic to enhance our understanding of the complexity of stakeholders’ strategic behaviour in a sport context. This complements earlier work by Amis et al. (2004), and O’Brien and Slack (2004) who took the corollary perspective of investigating how focal sport organisations strategically respond to stakeholders. As with all typologies, our collective understanding of the organisational behaviours they depict is best developed through empirical applications. With this in mind, a third contribution of this work is an advancement of Frooman's typology to incorporate the role of firm legitimacy in stakeholders’ choice of influence strategy and the management of firm–stakeholder resource relationships. It was demonstrated that when a firm lacks legitimacy, its stakeholders will employ direct withholding strategies and maintain resource controls. With strategic networking, relationship development and prudent use of media, legitimacy was built and the influence pathways chosen by stakeholders became more indirect, increasing the symmetry in resource relationships and the GCBT's access to critical resources. This highlights a second deficiency in Frooman's typology, in its failure to adequately account for the fact that firm–stakeholder relationships go through a lifecycle and are subject to change. As highlighted in Table 4, in each of the relationships explored, both the choice of influence strategy and the nature of relationship symmetry changed to varying degrees throughout the bid process. These changes, as argued above, were largely the result of the increasing legitimacy of the Gold Coast bid, and stakeholders’ subsequent strategic responses to that legitimacy. This suggests that, at least in the context of professional sport franchise bid processes, bid teams should, first and foremost, conceive of their bid as a process of establishing legitimacy. Without the intangible resource of legitimacy, the tangible resources of funding, land, facilities and ultimately, a franchise license, were not forthcoming. Rowley (1997) contends that the continued development of stakeholder theory depends upon researchers moving beyond dyadic conceptions of firm–stakeholder relationships, and recognising the multiple and simultaneous nature of stakeholder influences. Therefore, while Frooman's typology provided a useful heuristic, incorporating the work of Rowley (1997) and Rowley and Moldoveanu (2003) affords a more complete understanding. Indeed, what finally got the bid “over the line” was when its accrued legitimacy led to a simultaneous interplay of influence among key stakeholders, where resource relationships were shown to be anything but static, dyadic or unidirectional. Analyses such as this one are useful for putting empirical flesh on theoretical skeletons, and for allowing researchers, practitioners and students to better understand the organisational behaviours depicted by complex typologies. However, this initial work highlights the need for more studies that investigate stakeholders’ strategic behaviours. In particular, more case study work in different sport contexts will engender better understanding of future organisation–stakeholder relationships and their associated strategic behaviours. Interestingly, within 2 years of the Gold Coast Titans’ NRL inclusion, Gold Coast bids for inclusion in Australia's professional basketball, soccer, and Australian rules football leagues proved successful. On the back of the NRL's move into the Gold Coast, this apparent race by other professional sport leagues to create a Gold Coast presence is an interesting phenomenon. At the very least, it raises avenues for further research regarding how a city's national league representation in one professional sport influences the strategic activities of other national and regional level sport stakeholders.