Networking in the sport delivery system in South African Universities

  • C Burnett
Keywords: Universities, South Africa, networks, social capital.


The changing global and national sportscapes rely on entangled and overlapping sport delivery systems linked through processes of multi-layered networking and clustering of stakeholders. Higher education institutions form part of the relational interdependent sub-systems that have the potential of becoming a significant national resource through strategic alliances, collective actions and interconnectivity fostered through bonding, linking and bridging ties. Network theory, the cluster concept of Porter (1998) and the social capital paradigm inform the conceptual framework for case study analysis of 60 sport-related entities at the 23 public universities in South Africa. Thirty questionnaires, 38 focus groups and 28 interviews provided quantitative and descriptive data for projecting trends and reflecting contextual realities of networking. Sporting excellence and talent development attract sponsors and sport federations, with universities as brokers in linking them to schools and community clubs in the value chain of service provision. Regional clustering and personal ties (academics) provide additional linking capital, whilst competitive relationships (sport administration) and intra-institutional fragmentation weakens the potential of strategic alignment and collective leveraging for resources and relevance.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939