The aim of this study is to explore leadership within nonprofit sport governance. As an outcome, the authors present a preliminary working model of leadership in nonprofit sport governance based on existing literature and our new empirical evidence. Leadership in nonprofit sport governance has received limited attention to date in scholarly discourse. The authors adopt a case study approach involving three organizations and 16 participant interviews from board members and Chief Executive Officers within the golf network in Australia to uncover key leadership issues in this domain. Interviews were analyzed using an interpretive process, and a thematic structure relating to leadership in the nonprofit sport governance context was developed. Leadership ambiguity, distribution of leadership, leadership skills and development, and leadership and volunteerism emerged as the key themes in the research. These themes, combined with existing literature, are integrated into a preliminary working model of leadership in nonprofit sport governance that helps to shape the issues and challenges embedded within this emerging area of inquiry. The authors offer a number of suggestions for future research to refine, test, critique, and elaborate on our proposed working model.
Ian O’Boyle, David Shilbury and Lesley Ferkins
Elizabeth B. Delia
Team identification has frequently been associated with positive outcomes; however, team identification is also associated with negative outcomes such as identity threat. Team identity threat has been studied from the perspective that fans enduring identity threat employ emotion-focused coping rather than problem-focused coping strategies because they lack the authority to change team-related stressors. In this study, the author examined fan reaction to team identity threat, wherein fans ultimately used both problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping strategies. The particular instance examined involved fans of a National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball team reacting to an identity threat caused by program scandal. Through the use of unobtrusive digital observation, fan reaction was analyzed via comments from three online sources. The study highlights how fans used problem-focused coping to preserve identity meaning, creating their own reality in the process. Theoretical and managerial implications of the research are discussed.
Heather J. Lawrence, Andy J. Fodor, Chris L. Ullrich, Nick R. Kopka and Peter J. Titlebaum
While exciting and energizing, adding sport programs is a major undertaking for any college athletic department. A broad overview of considerations associated with National Collegiate Athletic Association sport offerings is outlined in this case using reinstatement of football as the context. The case is intended to introduce students to the costs, benefits, risks, and complexity of institutional decisions in one area of collegiate athletics. Students are assigned a role and challenged to complete an operating budget, determine the financial viability of football, consider a variety of nonfinancial factors, and make a decision about whether Gridiron University should reinstate football. Although football is the sport in this scenario, the principles identified in the case apply to other sports and vary by degree not type.
Ashley N. Weingartz and Stacy Warner
This case addresses a timely problem many non-profit sport organizations face: social media management. Due to a lack of resources and technical skills, many organizations fail to effectively utilize social media. This case focuses on the challenges of social media integration in Greenville Little Leagues (GLL), a chartered member of Little League International. Little League International is a global non-profit sports organization comprised of local league members such as GLL. This case focuses on a dilemma an intern with GLL must solve regarding social media and its annual tournament. The case outlines the organizational details regarding GLL’s operation and annual tournament, as well as their current social media strategy. This case provides an opportunity for students to: 1) examine effective tactics for using social media to develop community, 2) develop strategies non-profit sport organizations could use to promote community building, 3) identify cost-effective social media tactics for engaging a rapidly changing audience, and 4) articulate how to effectively utilize volunteers to share social media responsibilities. The case is intended for use in event management, organizational behavior, and/or marketing courses and provides an opportunity to highlight how research can and should inform practice.
Ryan K. Zapalac, John J. Miller and Kelsey C. Miller
Julie Tyler was recently hired as President of the Sacramento River Cats, a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. With a little over one month on the job, Julie encounters a situation she has never had to deal with when an earthquake strikes her facility. The River Cats are not severely impacted by the earthquake, but a rival organization (the Fresno Grizzlies; Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros) experiences some fairly serious damage and injuries. Julie has to decide whether to modify the schedule to meet the needs of the Grizzlies, to appease some of her other stakeholders with varying interests, and/or pursue a competitive advantage for her organization. Julie makes the decision to review a similar situation for guidance on her decision. The situation she decides to employ is a series relocation that the Houston Astros had to make to Tampa, Florida following the devastation created by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Her decision has to be made expeditiously as their next series with the Grizzlies takes place in four days.
Nadège Levallet, Norm O’Reilly, Elizabeth Wanless, Michael Naraine, Ethan Alkon and Wade Longmire
While live sport event attendance remains a pervasive and progressing issue for university athletic programs, athletic directors should consider strategies to boost perceptions of stadium innovativeness. Professional sport leagues have pursued the adoption of Wi-Fi capabilities much more aggressively than their collegiate sport counterparts. This case introduces the Wi-Fi adoption issue for collegiate sport including a conversation surrounding the foundational technical aspects of Wi-Fi and cellular data for sport venues, the current status of Wi-Fi for collegiate athletics in comparison with professional leagues, and the benefits and drawbacks of Wi-Fi adoption. Case participants are asked to evaluate the merits of Wi-Fi adoption for a “Power Five” institution from the position of the athletic director. Participants will address adopting functional technology for the rise in college esports, Wi-Fi inclusion for indoor and outdoor venues, and comparative analyses among connected and disconnected stadiums.
Jeffrey Graham, Allison Smith and Sylvia Trendafilova
Craig Johnson is an associate athletic director for marketing and promotions in an athletic department at the collegiate level. Through conversation, he has recently realized that the graduate students working in his department as interns and graduate assistants feel that balancing work, school, and a personal life is impossible. As a mentor for working in sport, as well as their direct manager, he feels something must be done to assist these graduate students in managing the work–life interface, but is unsure where to start. Drawing from research in sport management and from the general management literature, the case gives insight into the issues, outcomes, and theories that inform the work–life interface. Undergraduate and graduate students in human resource management or organizational behavior courses who work through this case will have an opportunity to contemplate, discuss, and develop strategies for managing the issues surrounding balancing work and a personal life.
Laura Misener, Kerri Bodin and Marika Kay
This case follows Katie, a sport manager, as she researches Swimming Canada, an early adopter of integration (governing both able-bodied and para-swimming within one organization). The case demonstrates the organizational challenges and opportunities of integrating parasport and the able-bodied counterpart into one national sport governing body. While philosophically integration seems to be a good direction, the case of Swimming Canada demonstrates some of the key issues that need to be considered around access and inclusion, human capital resources for sport delivery, governance mechanisms, and the structure of sport that is influenced by many different social constructs. This case is particularly useful for addressing how sport policy and politics impact organizational change, inclusion, equity, and sport governance. The case is appropriate for use at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Jamee A. Pelcher and Brian P. McCullough
Sport organizations have begun to widely implement environmental sustainability into their daily operations, but more needs to be done to properly plan and implement these initiatives to ensure their long-term success. Specifically, college athletic departments struggle to be proactive in their approach to environmental sustainability despite the vast resources available to leverage in order to deeply commit to being an environmentally sustainable department on campus. This case study examines the strategic planning of sustainability initiatives in the Smallville University Athletic Department. This case provides students with an opportunity to (a) explore the importance of sustainability in sport, (b) analyze the role of stakeholders in a sports organization, (c) investigate common barriers to implementing sustainability in college athletics, and (d) consider creative options for implementing sustainable initiatives.
Lynley Ingerson and Michael L. Naraine
In early 2018, Cricket Australia, the national governing body for cricket in Australia, experienced a critical incident when men’s national test athletes were caught in a ball tampering scandal known as “Sandpaper-gate.” As the “custodians of the game,” integrity and culture are extremely important, and the incident was the catalyst for the organization to hire a new Integrity Manager. This case study concentrates on the story of Patrick Murphy, the new, fictitious hire at Cricket Australia tasked with helping to rebuild the organization’s ethical culture. After learning of Patrick’s past sport experiences, the narrative reveals additional non-fictitious elements that have emanated over the course of the past few years, which are affecting the organization’s present culture. After learning about the doping, human resource management, sex and diversity, and athlete management issues, Patrick is tasked with performing a culture audit and reporting back to his superiors. This case study offers a contemporary context in which to discuss ethics and culture in sport, notably from a large, non-North American sport organization.