Manchester United Football Club: developing a Network Orchestration Model
Duncan R Shaw
European Journal of Information Systems, 16, 2007: 628–642
«This paper investigates a particular type of coordination role called 'network orchestration'. It uses a revelatory case study of the very large network orchestrated by Manchester United Football Club, a global sporting and entertainment brand that is partnered by some of the most successful consumer brands in the world and has an estimated 70 million fans (MUFC, 2007). We use business process modelling and systems theoretical concepts to investigate the complex horizontal and vertical relationships between partner firms and then develop a multi-level model of network operation, sustainability and governance. Inter-organisational networks are open systems that are sustained far from equilibrium by the constant flow of materials, energy and information that we have called a 'value flow system'. Here we model the flow of commercial 'value' through the network that sustains it in a far from equilibrium state. The contribution for managers of orchestrator firms is an architectural model of the properties and mechanisms of network orchestration that aids value flow for network building and maintenance. The implication for coordination researchers is a development of Malone and Crowston's coordination theory (1994) via the novel introduction of Hierarchy Theory to this domain.»


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