Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pushing mass collaboration further: owning a soccer club

With the development of the Internet came a new phenomenon, mass collaboration. Some call it Web 2.0, but it was present even before that. By mass collaboration, we describe a phenomenon where a large number of participant collaborate towards the creation of a public good. Open source software, Wikipedia, or , closer to home, RePEc are examples. Now mass collaboration seems to have entered sports management.

MyFootballClub, a collective with 28,000 members, has purchased Ebbsfleet United, a fifth division English football team. Some of the bigger English teams are traded on the Stock Exchange, so collective ownership is not new per se. The difference here is that this team will have no manager picking who plays. This would be a game-day decision by the collective, through vote.

It will be interesting to see how this works out. I have my doubts, but if you believe this could work, membership is £35 a year.

PS: And if you are more into amusements parks, here are a few odd ones.


RM Daza said...

The soccer club can persist as long as there exists homogeneity in the interests or desired ends of its members. Sanctioning, exclusion, and enforcement methods may spontaneously arise viz. norm entrepreneurs which embed competitively to an ESState.

Success of this club depends on its success of victory. Based on that end, adaptation to meet it is necessary. I wonder if an evolutionary stable strategy can spontaneously meet the homogenous victory demand which is supplied exogenously (the club cannot vote victory). Decision making is very costly (Buchan. & Tullock, Calculus of Consent).

Since the clubs existence is based on exogenous factors, I think it likely that members will vote for a manager.

JUST A NOTE: Kanter's thesis (Rosabeth, 1968, 1972)theory of commitment states that for social clubs (Buchanan "Economic Theory of Clubs" Economica 1965) to persist, the institutional arrangements must make roles for its members. In other words, no PD game social dilemmas, rather an decentralized or anarchial self-policing cooperative game based on incentive synonyms such as solidarity, cohesion, cooperation, trust, etc. Exclusion, sanction, monitoring, publicity are all necessary components. Here, size does matter.

Vilfredo said...

rm daza, i am not sure I understand what you seem to be writing. From the website, it appears they will not chose a manager. I agree it may make sense, as it is the case in a shareholder company, where shareholders vote for management to represent them in daily decisions. In fact, several soccer clubs hold elections about membership for various management positions, but I am not aware of that for coaches.

To me, this looks like a project where folks who always dreamed to be a coach can now have a shot at it. They would prefer to do that at Arsenal, but it is a start...