Organizational Culture Beyond Consensus and Clarity: Narratives From Elite Sport

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Liverpool John Moores University
  • 2 Keystone College
  • 3 University of Jyväskylä
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In sport psychology, organizational culture is usually depicted as shared, consistent, and clear—the glue that holds people together so they can achieve success. There is, however, growing discontent in sport psychology with this idea of culture and extensive critiques in other academic domains that suggest this perspective is limited. Accordingly, the authors draw on narrative interviews with participants (n = 7) from different areas of sport and use Martin and Meyerson’s three perspective (integration, differentiation, and fragmentation) approach to culture alongside thematic analysis to reconstruct three “ideal cases” that exemplify each perspective. The findings emphasize a different pattern of meaning in each actors’ narrative and suggest the need to develop a broader, more inclusive concept of culture, so as not to minimize or dismiss cultural content that is not obviously shared, clear, or created by leadership; a course of action that can enhance both research and practice in the area.

McDougall, Richardson, Littlewood, and Nesti are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom. McDougall is also with the Turock School of Arts & Sciences, Keystone College, La Plume, PA, USA. Ronkainen is with the Dept. of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyvaskyla, Finland.

McDougall (michael.mcdougall@keystone.edu) is corresponding author.
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