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Fading configurations in inter‐organizational relationships: a case study in the context of cultural sponsorship

Rami Olkkonen (Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland)
Pekka Tuominen (University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 14 March 2008




The purpose of this study is to describe, analyze, and understand the fading configurations in inter‐organizational relationships in the context of cultural sponsorship.


A dyadic case study investigates a long‐term cultural‐sponsorship relationship between a business sponsor and a sponsored museum.


The triggers of relationship fading are broadly elaborated into structural and situational triggers. These triggers are further categorized into negative and positive structural triggers and into negative and positive situational triggers. Negative triggers accelerate the fading of cultural‐sponsorship relationships, whereas positive triggers hinder such fading.

Research limitations/implications

The perceptions of the business sponsor and the sponsored museum are combined into a configuration matrix of relationship fading in cultural‐sponsorships relationships. The configuration matrix can be used to analyze the composition and the dynamics of perceptions during relationship fading. The configuration matrix offers a powerful and flexible tool that allows conflicting views in the cultural‐sponsorship relationship to be revealed and described.

Practical implications

The analytical framework facilitates managerial identification of potential structural and situational triggers of fading in cultural‐sponsorship relationships. To manage such relationships effectively, the interacting actors have to take into account the probable fading of cultural‐sponsorships relationships, and the reasons for this.


The triggers of relationship fading can emanate from both the structural context in which this time‐bound cultural‐sponsorship relationship is embedded and the situational process itself. Consequently, the triggers of fading can be both structural with relatively high permanence and situational with single critical events and incidents occurring in the relationship.



Olkkonen, R. and Tuominen, P. (2008), "Fading configurations in inter‐organizational relationships: a case study in the context of cultural sponsorship", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 203-212.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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