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    Time to stop playing games with industrial policy? What government and business might learn from Team GB

    Konzelmann, Sue and Fovargue-Davies, M. (2017) Time to stop playing games with industrial policy? What government and business might learn from Team GB. Working Paper. University of Cambridge Centre for Business Research, Cambridge, UK.

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    This paper investigates the degree to which the British elite sport policy model might inform a strategy for building international competiveness in UK industry. The methodology is qualitative, based on in-depth interviews with key figures in the British elite sport system, including UK Sport’s CEO, Performance Directors of National Sport Governing Bodies whose athletes competed in London 2012 and Rio 2016 and Olympic athletes. The analysis also draws upon detailed case studies of sectors that are currently competing successfully in international markets – despite decades of ill-informed industrial policy, if not neglect. Areas standing out as key to the UK elite sport policy model’s success include: an institutional structure to provide strategic leadership, identify talent and support the development of internationally competitive athletes and teams, whilst at the same time insulating them from interference by short-term political (and sporting) interests; an enabling competitive environment with access to a reliable source of finance; and an institutional system that encourages learning, innovation and responsiveness to opportunities and constraints. Taken together, these – if available to British businesses, clusters and sectors – would likely facilitate improvement in the UK’s industrial performance. The significance of the elite sport case is that not only was it developed and successfully implemented in the British cultural, institutional and political context, in many respects elite sport can be considered a high performance industrial sector. It therefore offers a starting point for evolving strategy for building international competitiveness in comparable sectors of British industry.


    Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Sue Konzelmann
    Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2023 12:44
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:00


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