Oceania Football Confederation: the impact of affiliate disaffiliation on the inter-organizational dynamics of a federated network
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The purpose of this research is to examine the impact of member disaffiliation on the inter-organizational dynamics of a network. To date the impact of an environmental disturbance such as member disaffiliation on the inter-organizational dynamics of a network has had minor academic interest. On January 1, 2006, the governing body of football in Australia completed their quest for a greater and more lucrative market by affiliating to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). For this movement to occur Australia first had to disaffiliate from the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). In football, a Confederation is a continental specific coordinator of football activities which operate under the auspices of the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA). At a theoretical level, this is a unique context to explore the impact of disaffiliation on the inter-organizational dynamics of a network. The research is based on a single case study approach, and involved 12 semi-structured interviews that were conducted with informants from within the OFC network, with secondary data being organizational documents. The informants were either the President or General Secretary of the members affiliated to the OFC. Dynamics that were explored included the impact on the legitimacy of the network, financial implications, and how the distribution of power has changed. The findings of the research indicated that for now, the perception is that the organization is still legitimate. However, if the Confederation does not improve from both a playing and administrative perspective, it may well become illegitimate. The redistribution of power within the network has shifted strongly in favour of the two French speaking nations, New Caledonia and Tahiti, which were both previously considered minor players within the network. It is unclear if this is due to their connection with France. The key conclusion from this research is that disaffiliation provides a ‘wake-up call’ to the remaining members, and forces them to stand on their own two feet and take responsibility for their actions.