Mitä ”Sport Cluster” tarkoittaa?

Olen kirjoittanut käsitteestä ”Cluster art and Art of Clusters” manifestin sekä avannut käsitteitä ”Cluster Policy”, ”Ecological Cluster and innovation policy” myös väitöskirjassani sekä klusterianalyysiä tieteen välineenä. EU tukee klusteriohjelmia ja alan yrittäjyyttä. Olemme edistäneet Suomessa etenkin ekologisen klusterin yrittäjyyttä yhdessä yrittäjien, hallinnon ja alan tutkimuksen sekä koulutuksen keinoin. Meillä on parikymmentä merkittävämpää klusteria joista 11 on Itä- ja Pohjois-Suomessa.

Nyt olympialaisten kääntyessä loppusuoralle on syytä vielä avata yksi klusteri. Se liittyy luonnollisesti urheiluun. Me kun kaipaamme yläsavolaisten ja Vieremäläisten rohkaisemana sellaista järjestäytynyttä yhteistä kansallista liikunnan ja huippu-urheilun klusteria, jonka tulokset näkyvät kyllä jo nyt vaikkapa Norjassa. Toki myös monessa muussa nyt menestyneessä urheilunsa klusteroineessa talousalueen mitalisaaliissa tai koko kansakunnan omassa ”Sport Cluster” ohjelmassa. Tässä yksi esimerkki mitä sillä tarkoitetaan. Se voi olla Suomessa toki hiven tästä poikkeavakin:

Sport Cluster

“A sport cluster is a geographical concentrations of interconnected organisations including companies providing different products or services related to a sport, professional and amateur sport entities, education and research institutes linked to those, and governing bodies that exert control or influence over the aforementioned organisations.”

All these organisations are regarded as sport cluster organisations. The terms cluster member or cluster stakeholder are also used to describe cluster organisations. Cluster organisations can be affiliated with a cluster governing body and are linked through different types of interorganisational linkages and behaviours. Sport clusters emerge from certain conditional location-specific factors that are examined in this thesis. In other words a sport cluster includes all organisations with an interest as seller or buyer in a sport (Shilbury, 2000).

The term sport cluster consists of two elements, sport and cluster. While Oakley and Rhys (2008) distinguish between leisure, sport, recreation, and physical activity, the European Council takes an integrated approach. They define sport as ‘all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels’ (Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, 2001, Art. 2). To clarify, the United States Department of Health and Humans Services (1996, p. 20) defines ‘physical activity as bodily movement […] above the basal level’. A useful definition from the sport management literature defines sport as ‘physical activity that is competitive, requires skill and exertion and is governed by institutionalised rules’ (Trenberth, 2012, p. 3). All these definitions are inclusive, meaning that they include recreational, competitive, professional, and amateur sport. Depending on research questions and empirical contexts, scholars can utilise a more exclusive definition of sport.

The sport cluster concept is based on Porter’s (1998) cluster concept. He defines clusters as ‘geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialised suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions’ (Porter, 2008a, p. 215). A cluster is a ‘system of interconnected firms and institutions whose value as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ (Porter, 2008a, p. 229). Cluster well-being reflects cluster members’ well-being. Simultaneous competition and cooperation is typical within clusters (Porter, 2008a).

“The key distinction between sport clusters and non-sport clusters is the inclusion of sport-specific actors, i.e. professional and amateur sport entities. Compared to non-sport clusters, sport clusters have another dimension of interorganisational interaction – the on-field competition. This interaction influences interorganisational linkages and behaviours between all cluster organisations. Sport-related location-specific factors are another distinguishing characteristic of cluster from sport cluster.”

Interorganisational links are also key concepts in this research. Bilateral interorganisational links are defined as interorganisational relationships. An interorganisational relationship refers to ‘voluntary, close, long-term, planned strategic action between two organizations with the objective of serving mutual beneficial purposes in a problem domain.’ (Babiak, 2007, p. 339). An organisation’s environment is characterised by other organisations. Interorganisational relationships are therefore ‘the way in which organisations interact with their environment’ (Dickson, Arnold, & Chalip, 2005, p. 147). A network is a group of at least three organisations that are connected in ways that facilitate the achievement of a common goal (Provan, Fish, & Sydow, 2007). Networks are essentially multilateral interorganisational links.

There are a number of interorganisational behaviours relevant to this research. Previous research on clusters has focussed on competition, cooperation, and coopetition as interorganisational behaviours. Competition is the rivalry amongst organisations for customers, suppliers, and towards potential entrants and suppliers of substitute products (Porter, 2008a, 2008c). Cooperative behaviour means providing assistance towards a common goal, however there is not necessarily a joint action (Tuomela, 1993). It has been referred to as strategy aiming at systematically interorganisational rent-generating processes (Dyer & Singh, 1998). Coopetition – simultaneous cooperation and competition – is a distinct behavioural dimension amongst cluster organisations (Bengtsson & Kock, 2000). This thesis differentiates negative interorganisational behaviours from positive interorganisational behaviours. Negative interorganisational behaviours contain notions of competition and include competitive and coopetive behaviour (e.g. hostile take-overs, aggressive marketing) while positive interorganisational behaviours include cooperation, collaboration, and citizenship behaviour (e.g. product collaboration, joint marketing campaigns) (Autry, Skinner, & Lamb, 2008; Bengtsson & Kock, 2000; Porter, 2008a). Collaboration is ‘the process of co-producing knowledge’ (Clarke et al., 2013, p. 94). The difference between cooperation and collaboration can be summarised as cooperation is two or more organisations working independently towards a common goal while collaboration means working jointly towards a common goal (Clarke et al., 2013; Tuomela, 1993).

Interorganisational citizenship behaviour is a concept that has been adopted from organisational behaviour theory and transferred into the interorganisational context of supplier-buyer relationships (Autry et al., 2008; Skinner, Autry, & Lamb, 2009).

“Within the cluster context, interorganisational citizenship behaviours are interorganisational behavioural tactics, generally enacted by cluster organisations’ boundary personnel, that are discretionary, not directly or explicitly included in formal agreements, and that in the aggregate promote the effective functioning of the cluster (Autry et al., 2008).”

By Matti Luostarinen

Prof, PhD, ScD Matti Luostarinen (natural and human sciences) birth: 100751, adress: Finland, 30100 Forssa, Uhrilähteenkatu 1 Publications: Monographs: about one hundred, see monographs, Cluster Articles: about two thousand, see all publications, Cluster Art: Cluster art (manifest in 2005), see Art, Cluster CV, see Cluster Blog: see blog, Cluster (


Related Posts