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Scholars have recognized the importance of leadership in the sport industry; early sport leadership studies emerged in the 1970s. To date, however, there has been no comprehensive review of the scholarly leadership studies in sport management. Thus, the purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive synthesis of the sport management leadership literature from the 1970s to the present day, to outline what has been learned, and then, drawing from this synthesis, to articulate a preliminary conceptual model capturing how leadership operates in sport management. A number of clear themes in sport management leadership research and conceptual thinking have emerged, with the proposed conceptual model advancing several leadership antecedents and processes unique to sport. Intriguing directions for sport management leadership scholarship are also illuminated. Although progress has been made, many questions and gaps remain that require focused attention from sport management leadership scholars.
Jon Welty Peachey and Yilun Zhou are with the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL. Zack J. Damon is with the Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. Laura J. Burton is with the Department of Educational Leadership, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.