Institutional Theory in Sport: A Scoping Review

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Deakin Business School, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia
  • | 2 Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • | 3 School of Business Administration, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA
  • | 4 Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
  • | 5 School of Sports Administration, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada
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Institutional theory has generated considerable insight into fundamental issues within sport. This study seeks to advance Washington and Patterson’s review by providing an empirical review of institutional theory in sport. We follow Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping review protocol to identify 188 sport-related institutional studies between 1979 and 2019. Our review provides evidence regarding the state of institutional scholarship within sport via an analysis of authorship, year, journal, methodology, method, study population, and use of institutional constructs (legitimacy, isomorphism, change, logics, fields, and work). Rather than a hostile takeover or a joint venture proposed in Washington and Patterson’s review, the relationship between fields is more aptly described as a diffusion of ideas. By developing an empirical review of institutional studies in sport, we hope to expedite the diffusion of ideas between the two fields and work toward realizing the collective benefits any future joint venture may bring.

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