The level of participation and degree of excellence attained within a given sport is dependent, at least in part, on how that sport is organized. Sport has traditionally been organized in an ad hoc way, relying on volunteers who were committed to the particular sport. It is now clear that to encourage higher levels of participation and international excellence, new ideas about organizing need to be diffused to those involved in the management of sport. The literature from the business environment demonstrates that the process of innovation requires, first, that new ideas be diffused to organizations and, second, that these ideas then be translated via a process of organizational change within the adopting organization so that their usage is appropriate. This literature demonstrates that these processes of diffusion and appropriation are problematic and heavily dependent on the contextual features of the adopting organization. This paper presents a framework for understanding these diffusion and appropriation processes within sportorganizations and emphasizes the importance of inter organizational networks.
Sue Newell and Jacky Swan are with the Warwick Business School, Warwick University, Coventry, England CV4 7AL.