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Kathy Babiak and Stacy-Lynn Sant

Professional athletes are increasingly engaged in social impact efforts via charitable endeavors. Despite seemingly good intentions in these efforts, the media’s representation of athlete philanthropy varies widely. This study examines how discourses of athlete charity are represented in U.S. media coverage. Over 100 newspaper articles were obtained for the period of 2005–2017. The authors conducted a qualitative analysis which consisted of attribute coding for basic article characteristics, identification of both framing and reasoning devices, and deductive coding to identify generic media frames. The authors present an adapted frame matrix highlighting the salient frames in media coverage of athlete philanthropy. Our results show that athlete charitable efforts are related to a personal or emotional connection or linked to an economic perspective around philanthropy. A third frame reflected a moral underpinning to athletes’ charitable work. The authors discuss managerial implications for teams and leagues that provide support for athletes’ charitable work, as well as for the athletes themselves.

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Landy Di Lu and Kathryn L. Heinze

New sport policies often prompt organizations in the field to alter their structures and processes. Little is known, however, about the tactics of those leading institutional change around sport policy. To address this gap, the authors draw on the concept of institutional entrepreneurship—the activities of actors who leverage resources to create institutional change. Using a qualitative case study approach, the authors examine how two coalitions that served as institutional entrepreneurs in Washington and Oregon created and passed the first youth sport concussion legislation in the United States. The analysis of this study reveals that these coalitions (including victims’ families, sport organizations, advocacy groups, and concussion specialists) engaged in political, technical, and cultural activities through the use of specific tactics that allowed them to harness expertise and resources and generate support for the legislation. Furthermore, the findings of this study suggest a sequencing to these activities, captured in a model of institutional entrepreneurship around sport policy.

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Sonja Utz, Felix Otto and Tim Pawlowski

Using social media for crisis communication has been proposed as an effective strategy because it allows teams to build parasocial relationships with fans. The authors focused on the early elimination of Germany during the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup to examine the effects of (crisis) communication on Facebook. The authors compared the Facebook posts of the German team, captain Manuel Neuer, and team member Thomas Müller and examined the emoji reactions each received. Although Neuer posted text identical to that of the team, his post received a smaller proportion of angry emoji reactions. Müller received fewer angry reactions than the team, but more than Neuer. The authors also used data from a two-wave panel to study changes in evaluation and parasocial relationships and perceived authenticity as potential mediators. Only the team was evaluated more negatively after the elimination than before. Parasocial relationships mediated the effect of exposure to social media posts on evaluation.

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Joshua D. Vadeboncoeur, Trevor Bopp and John N. Singer

In this article, the authors drew from the epistemological and methodological considerations of neighboring social science fields (i.e., counseling psychology, education, sociology, and women’s studies), which suggest a reevaluation of reflexive research practice(s). In discussing the implications this reevaluation may have for future sport management research, the authors contend that such dialogue may encourage scholars to understand that, while adopting a reflexive approach is good research practice, it may also mean taking a closer look at how our biases, epistemologies, identities, and values are shaped by whiteness and dominant ways of knowing and, in turn, serve to affect our research practice. Thus, this may allow all researchers, with explicit consideration for those in positions of conceptual, empirical, and methodological, as well as cultural and racial, power, to acknowledge and work toward a more meaningful point of consciousness in conducting sport management research.

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Robert Turick, Anthony Weems, Nicholas Swim, Trevor Bopp and John N. Singer

One prominent, well-debated issue in the American higher education system is whether university officials should remove the names of individuals with racist pasts from campus buildings/structures that bear their namesake. The purpose of this study was to analyze basketball and football facilities at Division I Football Bowl Subdivision institutions to explore the racialized history of the people whom these facilities are named after. Utilizing a collective case study approach, the authors identified 18 facilities that were named after athletic administrators, coaches, and philanthropists who engaged in racist activities or harbored racist views. The authors argue, using critical race theory and systemic racism theory as interpretative lenses, that naming buildings after racist persons legitimizes their legacies, rationalizes systemic racism, and continues to unjustly enrich this particular group.

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Mohsen Behnam, Mikihiro Sato, Bradley J. Baker, Vahid Delshab and Mathieu Winand

Despite the increasing importance of customer knowledge management (CKM) as a strategic resource for sport service organizations, little sport management research has examined the link between CKM and consumers’ intention to use sport services. Using the psychological continuum model as the theoretical framework, this study examines whether CKM predicts consumers’ intention to use sport services. Participants (N = 686) were recruited from nonprofit sports clubs in Urmia, Iran. Structural equation modeling results revealed positive relationships between CKM, psychological involvement, perceived value, commitment, and intention to use. Furthermore, both CKM and psychological involvement had positive indirect effects on intention to use through perceived value and commitment. Findings from this study highlight the importance of psychological involvement and perceived value in promoting intention to use sport services at nonprofit sports clubs and CKM’s role as a key antecedent.

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Marissa Banu-Lawrence, Stephen Frawley and Larena Hoeber

There has been growing interest in gender diversity and the leadership development of women in recent years within the broader field of management studies. Understanding leadership development processes is important for the sport industry, in which organizations are becoming increasingly professional and commercially focused. Despite the increased attention on gender diversity and leadership development within the sport industry to date, the scope and application of organizational gender and leadership development theory within an Australian sport context has been limited. As such, the purpose of this study was to explore the leadership development practices adopted by key stakeholders of the Australian sports industry, with the intention to uncover how they impact the role of women in different organizations. Specifically, the research investigated the practices of three organizations that have a major stake in Australian professional sport.

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Yuhei Inoue, Mikihiro Sato and Kevin Filo

The performance of sport organizations has been traditionally examined from the perspective of attaining strategic and operational goals (e.g., profitability, sporting performance). However, contemporary examples point to a need to expand sport organizations’ goals through consideration of their contributions to well-being outcomes. The current special issue addresses this need by advancing the theoretical and empirical understanding of transformative sport service research (TSSR), which seeks to understand how personal and collective well-being can be improved through a range of services offered in the sport industry. This introduction article clarifies the scope of TSSR scholarship and then provides a synthesis of findings and implications from the eight articles included in the special issue. The overview concludes with a call for collective efforts to establish a focused body of knowledge that leads sport organizations to integrate the goal of optimizing consumer and employee well-being into the core of their operations.

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Rob Millington, Lyndsay M.C. Hayhurst, Audrey R. Giles and Steven Rynne

Over the past two decades, significant policy shifts within Canada have urged corporations from all sectors, including the extractives industry, to fund and support sport for development (SFD) programming in Indigenous communities, often through corporate social responsibility strategies. The idea that sport is an appropriate tool of development for Indigenous communities in Canada and that the extractives industry is a suitable partner to implement development programs highlight profound tensions regarding ongoing histories of resource extraction and settler colonialism. To explore these tensions, in this paper, the authors drew on interviews conducted with extractives industry representatives of four companies that fund and implement such SFD programs. From these interviews, three overarching discourses emerged in relation to the extractives industry’s role in promoting development through sport: SFD is a catalyst to positive relationships between industry and community, SFD is a contributor to “social good” in Indigenous communities, and extractives industry funding of SFD is “socially responsible.”