Dimensions of Power: A Question of Sport or Gender?

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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Organizational power can be defined as access to and ability to mobilize resources such as supplies, support, and information (Kanter, 1977). Differences in organizational power in athletic departments can be seen as a function of sport (whether one coaches a revenue or nonrevenue sport) or of gender. This study examined the extent to which sport or gender best explained differences in the degree of organizational power that Division I college coaches hold in athletic departments. The sample consisted of 947 coaches who responded to a questionnaire that included items dealing with their access to supplies, support, and information. The results indicated that the nature of the intersection of sport and gender varied across the three dimensions of power. Consistently, however, female coaches of nonrevenue sports were most limited in their access to critical resources while male coaches of revenue sports had the most power. This led to the conclusion that an analysis on the distribution of power should examine it in the context of both gender and sport.

The first three authors are with the Dept. of Health and Physical Education, and the fourth author is with the Dept. of Counseling, Education Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University. Request reprints from Annelies Knoppers, 138 IM Sports Circle, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI 48824.

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