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How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy?

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par Eric Bailly
Staffordshire University (UK) - M.Sc. in European Management Strategy 2003

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3.3.3. Sample selection

To conduct face-to-face interview is costly, so the sample had to be quite narrow but representative. This confirmed the case study approach. To have a representative sample, important and less important clubs had to be studied as well as French and English ones. So the simplest sample was to select two French clubs (one important and one less important) added to two English representatives. According to the budget needed, the geographically closest clubs (from the author's home) were favoured, what Saunders (2002) calls a convenience sample. Another element has been taken in account was the availability of the managers. Some managers were too busy to meet students. Stoke City F.C. and Liverpool F.C. were chosen as English representatives. They had the characteristics required. Mr Fuller, managing director of Stoke City F.C., was available. Mr Weathley, financial director of Liverpool F.C., was difficult to convince but accepted to give an interview. Paris S.G. was first chosen for the French part of the sample, but the president and most of the club's staff has been fired at the end of May 2002. Because of this event, R.C. Lens

How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003

was picked up with Amiens S.C. Mr Bigeard, marketing manager of R.C. Lens and MrBuquet, president of Amiens S.C. welcomed this interview.A sample of four clubs was the minimum to give a pertinent view of football clubs'stakeholders' management and to compare French and English systems.

3.3.4. Interview preparation

These four interviews were realized in a short period: between April and July 2003. It was very important to conduct them at the same time to catch the managers' methods at this moment. As football is a changing sector, this way of collecting data made them comparable. It was important to prepare some questions to guide the interviewees to answer this research's problematic. Only open questions were asked in order to lead managers to develop their answers. It was also required to learn the right vocabulary because these interviews have been done in two different languages: English and French. Thanks to the analysis of secondary data, the interviewer had a solid knowledge about the situation in each club studied. The clubs had to talk about the twelve stakeholders' groups retained by Polonsky (1995). The first question was to ask who were considered as the three groups with most interest in the club. Then, for each chosen group, the managers had to explain how they can influence their club's strategy and where their source of power came from. Concrete examples of this influence were also asked to illustrate the research and to confirm this power on clubs. A last question was how and how often the club communicate with those chosen groups. After the three most important stakeholders' groups were studied, the same questions were asked about the nine other stakeholders' groups. As face-to-face interviews are time consuming, the explanation about these nine groups could not be as developed as the three main groups have been. Then, these data were typed and analysed.

3.4. Method for analysis

The data collected from the four interviews were analysed through a reflection process. The basic theoretical framework came from Polonsky (1995) and Archer's (1995) models which allowed the author to develop theories. Data were used to answer the different objectives. An explanation approach has been used to explain how football clubs managed their stakeholders. This approach is linked to the case study method of analysis. To increase this study reliability, primary data were compared to secondary data, to find chains of evidence that justified what emerged from the interviews. The last step was to compare the results between important and less important clubs from the same county, then to compare similar clubs from different countries (France and England). This method highlighted the differences between the clubs composing the sample. This last step allowed the author to find some similar elements and to evaluate if football management is converging or not between those two countries.

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