Networking As A Cornerstone Within The Practice Of Social Entrepreneurship In Sport
Research question: The aim of this study is to understand and discuss how networking can be manifested in a sport organisation characterised by social entrepreneurship.
Research methods: The qualitative data on which this study rests consists of seven semi-structured interviews (totally, ca. 600 minutes). Some interviewees were members of the organisation in question, while others represent various partner organisations. Supplementary data was added in the form of various written sources (e.g. annual reports).
Results and Findings: The social entrepreneurial sports organisation’s networks encompass many actors from all societal sectors, and the networks themselves may assume many forms (e.g. social, institutional and reputational), as may the character of the cooperation involved. The study shows that several of the networks are characterised not only by a common desire to attain a win-win situation but also by mutual dependency. Through its use of networks, the organisation has reduced its dependence on financial support, a dependency which otherwise tends to burden social entrepreneurial organisations. Thus, the networks enable the organisation to continuously develop its social ambition to improve people’s social values through participation in a wide range of sporting and outdoor activities.
Implications: This study contributes to a broader understanding of the significance of networks. The results indicate that it is necessary to consider other network types than solely social networks. Besides this, practitioners can transfer a number of the networks described to their own organisations. Consequently, the study constitutes a potential source of inspiration for sports organisations.