Toward a Working Model of Leadership in Nonprofit Sport Governance

in Journal of Sport Management
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The aim of this study is to explore leadership within nonprofit sport governance. As an outcome, the authors present a preliminary working model of leadership in nonprofit sport governance based on existing literature and our new empirical evidence. Leadership in nonprofit sport governance has received limited attention to date in scholarly discourse. The authors adopt a case study approach involving three organizations and 16 participant interviews from board members and Chief Executive Officers within the golf network in Australia to uncover key leadership issues in this domain. Interviews were analyzed using an interpretive process, and a thematic structure relating to leadership in the nonprofit sport governance context was developed. Leadership ambiguity, distribution of leadership, leadership skills and development, and leadership and volunteerism emerged as the key themes in the research. These themes, combined with existing literature, are integrated into a preliminary working model of leadership in nonprofit sport governance that helps to shape the issues and challenges embedded within this emerging area of inquiry. The authors offer a number of suggestions for future research to refine, test, critique, and elaborate on our proposed working model.

O’Boyle is with the School of Management, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. Shilbury is with Sport Management Program, Deakin Business School, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Ferkins is with AUT Millennium, Auckland, New Zealand.

Address author correspondence to Ian O’Boyle at Ian.o’boyle@unisa.edu.au.
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