Examining Social Capital Development Among Volunteers of a Multinational Sport-for-Development Event

in Journal of Sport Management

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Jon Welty PeacheyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Jennifer BrueningUniversity of Connecticut

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Alexis LyrasGeorgetown University

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Adam CohenTexas Tech University

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George B. CunninghamTexas A&M University

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Much sport-for-development (SFD) research has focused on the impact initiatives have on participants, and not on other stakeholders such as volunteers. Some research suggests volunteerism enables social capital gains, while other scholars have been skeptical, with even less known about how volunteers are impacted by working for SFD events rather than for ongoing programs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate how, if at all, a large, multinational SFD event contributed to social capital development of volunteers. Findings revealed volunteers experienced social capital development through building relationships, learning, and enhanced motivation to work for social change and reciprocity. As very little research has examined the efficacy of SFD events in contributing to social capital development, the findings extend the literature on SFD events. It would be prudent for SFD events to target programming to impact the experience of volunteers to retain them and contribute to social capital development.

Jon Welty Peachey is with the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois. Jennifer Bruening is with the Department of Educational Leadership, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut. Alexis Lyras is with the Department of Government, Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Adam Cohen is with the Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. George B. Cunningham is with the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Address author correspondence to Jon Welty Peachey at jwpeach@illinois.edu.

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