Competitor interactions A qualitative study on how Swedish football clubs engage in multiple boundary work
Historically, rivals have interacted to achieve common goals, whereas previous research shows examples of several types of competitor interactions. However, in the modern corporate world, the perception of fierce competition has been more normalized, and interactions between rivals pose a sensitivity to them. Thus, this paper examines how rival organizations interact with each other and how different relationships can unfold in the process, with the purpose of creating further understanding and knowledge on competitive relations between organizations. The research uses boundary work as a theoretical framework to investigate the phenomenon and applies the case of the Swedish football league, Allsvenskan. The empirical data is based on both primary and secondary data connected to the Swedish football league, Allsvenskan, gathered through interviews and documentary analysis. The most common interactions between the football clubs were informal collaboration and collaboration through a third-party organization. Competition-oriented interactions were also found when the different football clubs actively tried to frame their identity and highlight the differences between one another. Purely collaborative interactions aligned with the framework were the rarest, with only two matching findings: collaboration during crises. These results have two main contributions. Firstly, it shows the possibility for organizations to simultaneously exercise multiple types of boundary work, which has not been discussed previously. Secondly, it proves that boundary work is adequate as an analytic lens of interactions since it explains how different interactions lead to different relationships.
MSc in Management