Governance in Sport: A Scoping Review

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Mathew Dowling Anglia Ruskin University

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Becca Leopkey University of Georgia

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Lee Smith Anglia Ruskin University

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This article examines the current state of sport governance research within the field of sport management. In adopting Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, a scoping review was conducted involving a comprehensive search of all published literature between 1980 and 2016. The process involved searching four electronic databases and a manual search of sport management journals. The search identified (N = 243) journal articles that examined sport governance–related issues. Findings are presented as a frequency and thematic analysis. The frequency analysis reveals a notable increase in sport governance research in recent years with a large number of nonempirical studies focused on the not-for-profit sector. The thematic analysis draws upon and extends Henry and Lee’s three notions of governance and identifies sport governance–related topics, research contexts, and social issues. Findings indicate that all three forms of governance (organizational, systemic, and political) have contributed to our understanding of sport governance, but more empirical and theoretically driven research is needed.

Dowling and Smith are with Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom. Leopkey is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Address author correspondence to Mathew Dowling at mathew.dowling@anglia.ac.uk.

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