When a Ban Is Not a Ban: Institutional Work and the Russian Doping Scandal

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • | 2 College of Business, The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • | 3 School of Business, Portland State University, Portland, OR, United States
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There are fewer cases of such blatant acts to defy and subsequent heroic efforts to rearrange institutional norms than the Russian doping scandal. In adopting a neo-institutional perspective, the authors theorize the scandal as a case of attempted but failed institutional disruption. More specifically, the authors draw upon the institutional change literature and the institutional work perspective to explain the key events surrounding actors’ response to the scandal. The analysis utilized Gioia’s methodological approach to examine secondary empirical data. Findings reveal how stakeholders circumvented traditional governance structures in an attempt to disrupt institutional arrangements, but despite this, much of the preexisting institutional infrastructure has remained intact. The authors explain this outcome, in part, as a consequence of the counter-institutional work of key governing agencies and other actors to maintain the status quo within international sport.

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