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Toward a Sport Ecosystem Logic

Markus Buser, Herbert Woratschek, Geoff Dickson, and Jan Schönberner

Network approaches in sport management are mainly guided by the logic of sport products, where firms produce value that is used-up by consumers. This logic neglects the collaborative nature of sport. On the contrary, the logic of value co-creation provides a perspective where actors collaborate to co-create value in sport networks. Thus, this purely conceptual research aims to examine approaches to value co-creation in sport ecosystems to offer a holistic perspective on the interconnectedness of actors and engagement platforms. Using the concepts of value co-creation, engagement platforms, and sport network approaches, this paper conceptualizes the Sport Ecosystem Logic as a general theory to promote innovative research. Comprising five fundamental premises, the Sport Ecosystem Logic explains how actors’ shared interests in sporting activities evolve into an entire sport ecosystem. The Sport Ecosystem Logic advances our understanding of actors’ resource integration on sport engagement platforms and how these platforms are interconnected in a sport ecosystem.

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The Digital World of Sport: The Impact of Emerging Media on Sports News, Information, and Journalism

Katja Sonkeng

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Refereeing as a Postathletic Career Option

Vanessa Bright, Stacy Warner, and Claire Zvosec

Athletes may be especially primed to become referees; yet, we do not know what former athletes think about this career choice. To address the worldwide referee shortage, it is important to better understand athletes’ perceptions of refereeing. From a Career Contingency Model framework, it is evident athletes’ perception would influence their decision to consider refereeing. This study’s aim was to examine athletes’ perceptions of the refereeing environment (RQ1) and identify referee recruitment barriers (RQ2). Utilizing a descriptive phenomenological approach, 23 current and former athletes took part in semistructured interviews based on their lived experience as an athlete. The participants identified the officiating environment as a high-stress environment with financial instability, while time and lack of knowledge and support were identified as recruitment barriers. The results contributed to the burgeoning line of research attempting to address the global referee shortage and provide both theoretical and practical implications for sport managers.

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Privileging Practice in Sport Leadership: Applying Relational Reflexivity

Zack J. Damon, Sarah Leberman, Janelle E. Wells, Laura Burton, Lesley Ferkins, Jim Weese, and Jon Welty Peachey

Hibbert et al.’s relationally reflexive practice framework guided the authors to develop a new sport leadership generative partnership model emphasizing privileging practice and the sport sector as it relates to researching, teaching, and practicing sport leadership. The 2019 North American Society for Sport Management symposium on sport leadership, titled “The Changing Face of Leadership Within Sport: What Does the Future Hold?” acted as a springboard for deep, reflexive conversations among the authors. Through the development of our model, we purposely highlight the process of a relationally reflexive journey making sense of our lived experiences, engaging with learnings from the symposium, and arguing that sport leadership and followership research and teaching ultimately should be about improving the sport sector within specific cultural contexts. We offer critically conscious considerations for privileging and embedding practice as part of sport management teaching, research, and service.

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Volume 36 (2022): Issue 1 (Jan 2022)

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The Political Economy of Mass Sport Participation Legacies From Large-Scale Sport Events: A Conceptual Paper

Alana Thomson, Kristine Toohey, and Simon Darcy

Sport event studies have demonstrated that relevant stakeholders must share objectives and coordinate efforts to leverage a large-scale sport event to secure positive legacies. However, the challenging and complex task of collaboration between networks of diverse organizational stakeholders to secure legacies has received little scholarly attention. In this conceptual paper, the authors explore, through a political economy lens, differences between the political economies of sports and sport events pertaining to mass sport participation legacies. The authors focus on the mesolevel and consider how divergences in political economy elements—structure and context, stakeholders and ideas/incentives, and bargaining processes—influence the likelihood of mass sport participation legacies from large-scale sport events. The authors suggest a need for event legacy stakeholders to engage more meaningfully with the complexities surrounding securing mass sport participation legacies. In addition, they provide pragmatic, actionable implications for policy and practice to assist stakeholders in addressing the challenges they face to maximize legacy outcomes.

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Working in the Sport Industry: A Classification of Human Capital Archetypes

Erianne A. Weight, Elizabeth Taylor, Matt R. Huml, and Marlene A. Dixon

As thousands of professionals are drawn to work in the sport industry known for celebrity, action, and excitement, a growing body of literature on the industry’s culture describes a field fraught with burnout, stress, and difficulty balancing work–family responsibilities. Given this contradiction, there is a need to better understand employee experiences. Thus, the authors utilized a human capital framework to develop employee archetypes. Results from a latent cluster analysis of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics department employees (N = 4,324) revealed five distinct employee archetypes utilizing inputs related to human capital development and work experiences (e.g., work–family interface, work engagement, age). Consistent with creative nonfiction methodology, results are presented as composite narratives. Archetypes follow a career arc from early-career support staff to late-career senior leaders and portray an industry culture wherein the human capital is largely overworked, underpaid, and replete with personal sacrifice and regret.

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A Longitudinal Study of Power Relations in a British Olympic Sport Organization

Niels B. Feddersen, Robert Morris, Louise K. Storm, Martin A. Littlewood, and David J. Richardson

The purpose was to examine the power relations during a change of culture in an Olympic sports organization in the United Kingdom. The authors conducted a 16-month longitudinal study combining action research and grounded theory. The data collection included ethnography and a focus group discussion (n = 10) with athletes, coaches, parents, and the national governing body. The authors supplemented these with 26 interviews with stakeholders, and we analyzed the data using grounded theory. The core concept found was that power relations were further divided into systemic power and informational power. Systemic power (e.g., formal authority to reward or punish) denotes how the national governing bodies sought to implement change from the top-down and impose new strategies on the organization. The informational power (e.g., tacit feeling of oneness and belonging) represented how individuals and subunits mobilized coalitions to support or obstruct the sports organization’s agenda. Olympic sports organizations should consider the influence of power when undertaking a change of culture.

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“Something Seriously Wrong With U.S. Soccer”: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Consumers’ Twitter Responses to U.S. Soccer’s Girls’ Apparel Promotion

Katherine Sveinson and Rachel Allison

In September 2020, U.S. Soccer Federation posted a promotional tweet for girls’ fan clothing which included feminized aesthetics. Within 48 hr, the tweet was deleted. Previous work has shown that sport fan clothing are important organizational artifacts that contain symbolic meanings. This study extends this insight by exploring consumer responses to material items. Three hundred and seven tweets responding to the original post were collected. Through critical discourse analysis, findings illustrate that responses were embedded in gender discourses, with overwhelming dislike for hyperfeminized items marketed to women and girls. The stereotypical gender norms in marketing resulted in consumers’ suggesting organizational culture issues within U.S. Soccer Federation. Furthermore, this strategy was perceived as a transgression by creating material items that do not align with consumers’ values. This study illustrates that the meanings associated with fan clothing go beyond consumer preferences in that apparel can represent a material manifestation of organizational culture.

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Becoming an Occupation? A Research Agenda Into the Professionalization of the Sport for Development and Peace Sector

Mitchell McSweeney, Rob Millington, Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst, and Simon Darnell

Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) has transformed from what some termed a “social movement” to an institutionalized sector with numerous organizations and practitioners involved, resulting in trends that point toward SDP becoming a recognized category of work through professional training. The purpose of this paper is to utilize theories of professions and institutional isomorphism to advance the significance and importance of thinking about SDP as a profession. Three emerging trends that point to the professionalization of SDP are reviewed: (a) increasing opportunities to attain SDP certifications and training, (b) the growing number of SDP-specific academic degrees, and (c) the creation of a SDP knowledge base, particularly in relation to monitoring and evaluation. To conclude, theoretical and practical implications of the professionalization of SDP are discussed and a research agenda is outlined for future research on the continued institutionalization, and professionalization, of the SDP sector.