Leading Culture Change in Public Recreation

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 High Point University
  • | 2 Trinity University
  • | 3 The University of Texas at Austin
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This study examined the planning, design, and implementation of a culture change program in a major North American public sport organization. Using interview data from 67 participants, the authors offer a rare, in-depth account of organizational culture change and discuss in particular how the change agent in charge of the initiative was able to manage employee concerns and resistance. At the heart of this successful transformation was a careful and intentional willingness of the change agent to consistently revisit, reinforce and recommunicate culture change along with all its facets and to connect all steps of the process to the ritualistic expression of the organization’s identity. This research offers a counter-perspective to technocratic imaginations of organizational culture change as neatly programmed, stepwise activity. Instead, the authors highlight the importance of attending to the continuous, local, and heterogeneous reframing activities underpinning organizational change efforts.

Hemme is with High Point University, High Point University, NC, USA. Morais is with Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, USA. Bowers and Todd are with The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.

Hemme (fhemme@highpoint.edu) is corresponding author.
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