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Success factors in university sport partnerships: a case study

Mário Franco (Department of Management and Economics, CEFAGE-UBI Research Center, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal)
Heiko Haase (Department of Business Administration, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Jena, Germany)

EuroMed Journal of Business

ISSN: 1450-2194

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




From a resource-based perspective, the purpose of this paper is to analyse the key success factors underlying inter-organisational partnerships in the university sport sector.


To attain this objective, the paper uses a qualitative approach, performing an exploratory case study in a Portuguese higher education institution. Four interviews with key informants and documentary analysis served for data collection.


Based on the case evidence, five generic success factors emerged: relationships, partner selection, complementarity, sporting performance and organisation, which are likely to determine the success of partnerships in the field of university sport.

Practical implications

University sport managers and other actors in the field should bear the major success factors in mind when taking strategic decisions. Specifically, relational capital and the complementarity of resources seem to be important in initiating and managing sport partnerships.


This exploratory study contributes to advancing knowledge of inter-organisational partnerships in a particular area: sport in higher education. More precisely, this research outlines which success factors are relevant in sport partnerships and deserve further investigation with other research designs.



The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments that contributed to the development of this paper. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from FCT and FEDER/COMPETE through grant PEst-C/EGE/UI4007/2013.


Franco, M. and Haase, H. (2017), "Success factors in university sport partnerships: a case study", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 87-102.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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