Ongoing debates about appropriate foci and growth of sport management research, application, theory, and training are evidence of the field’s growing pains. These growing pains also occur in other fields in which they function as a means to expand and elaborate the paradigms through which fields of inquiry grow and mature. In this study, a panel of 17 leading sport management scholars from around the globe responded to three iterations of a Delphi questionnaire probing their views about the status and future of the field. Panelists agreed that stronger research, additional cross-disciplinary research, a stronger link between theory and practice, enhanced infrastructure, and improved doctoral training are desirable objectives. They disagreed, however, about the appropriate academic home for sport management, what constitutes quality research, the roles of qualitative vs. quantitative research, and the relative value of basic vs. applied research. The results show that by actively engaging in debates over the issues identified in this study, sport management scholars can explore new ways of perceiving, thinking, and valuing that could enable proficient and constructive development of the field.
The author is with the Sport Management Program, University of Texas at Austin, Bellmont Hall 222 D3700, Austin, TX, 78712