This paper presents a novel theoretical conceptualization of football clubs and empirical evidence as to how supporter groups, owners, and others engaged to resolve threats to their club. We use boundary theory to understand the evolution of two football clubs’ ownership, financing, and governance structures and demonstrate how the blurring of club boundaries was linked to engagements in interface areas between the club and other social groups. We argue that the appropriateness of different combinations of ownership, financing, and governance practices should be evaluated in terms of how they support effective engagement spaces that negotiate relationships with codependent social groups. Conceptualizing football clubs as boundary objects provides some specific insights into changes observed in Scottish football clubs. However, this approach is relevant to other situations in which club success is dependent on cooperative engagements with multiple social groups that have both convergent and divergent interests in the club.
Adams, A., Morrow, S., & Thomson, I. (2017). Changing boundaries and evolving organizational forms in football: Novelty and variety among Scottish clubs. Journal of Sport Management, 31(2), 161-175. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsm.2016-0286