Understanding the Diversity-Related Change Process: A Field Study

in Journal of Sport Management

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George B. CunninghamTexas A&M University

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The purpose of this study was to examine the diversity-related change process a university athletic department was undertaking. A comprehensive model was developed by drawing from full integration theory and institutional theory. Following an organizational diagnosis perspective, data were collected through semistructured interviews, internal documents from the athletic department and university culture centers, associated websites, and press releases. Results indicate that political, functional, and social pressures for change influenced the implementation of various diversity initiatives. Despite these efforts, two primary groups of factors served to impede the progress: organizational factors, in the form of top management support and systemic integration, and perceptual processes, in the form of social processes and utility. Results suggest that for diversity-related change to be successful, it is important to consider how diversity impacts the entire sport organization, internal and external stakeholders’ perceptions, and the meaningful influence of organizational factors.

Cunningham is with the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport in the Dept. of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4243.

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