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Mapping Research on Interorganizational Relationships in Sport Management: Current Landscape and Future Research Prospects

Kathy Babiak, Lucie Thibault, and Annick Willem

This article reviewed, synthesized, and analyzed the research published on interorganizational relationships (IORs) in sport and sport-related contexts. In total, 162 articles were analyzed along the dimensions of publication rate and outlet, geographical scope, disciplinary domain, methods used, levels of analysis, setting, and theoretical framing. Results revealed an increased emphasis on composition, structure, and process dimensions of IORs. Overall, the diverse perspectives, questions, and contexts explored not only contributed to the richness of the field, but also underscored a lack of consensus in theories, concepts, and frameworks useful to assess IORs among sport organizations. Based on the gaps found, research prospects are identified including a focus on network and individual levels of analysis, comparative and cross-cultural studies, understanding the impact and outcomes of IORs and their value for innovation and organizational learning, and examining how the interconnected nature of IOR domains affect their success or failure. These are areas in the context of sport that have been largely overlooked but which could make substantial contributions to further understand IORs in sport management and its respective parent disciplines.

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Coach Ethical Leadership in Soccer Clubs: An Analysis of Its Influence on Ethical Behavior

Bram Constandt, Els De Waegeneer, and Annick Willem

Nonprofessional (amateur) soccer is continuously confronted with a wide range of ethical issues. As coaches are believed to be potentially effective in counteracting unethical behavior, this study analyzes the influence of coach ethical leadership on a sample of nonprofessional soccer players (n = 436). As ethical behavior contains two dimensions, namely an inhibitive one and a prosocial one, this study examines how player-perceived coach ethical leadership affects both dimensions, by respectively assessing its influence on the player-perceived ethical climate of the club and on the affective organizational commitment of the player. Results indicate that the influence of player-perceived coach ethical leadership on the player’s affective organizational commitment is partially mediated by the player-perceived ethical climate of the club. Furthermore, the affective organizational commitment of the players is also slightly affected by their organizational tenure. Finally, these findings are discussed, next to the formulation of suggestions for practice.

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What Does Entrepreneurship Add to the Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility Management in Sport?

Cleo Schyvinck, Kathy Babiak, Bram Constandt, and Annick Willem

Despite the widespread growth of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in sport, the majority of professional sport teams still manage social engagement in an opportunistic manner. Tactical attempts toward CSR management can provide discrete and short-term benefits, but lack the ability to create lasting social and economic impacts. This study uses an entrepreneurship perspective to study CSR management in sport. More specifically, it builds on the concept of corporate social entrepreneurship (CSE) to study the transition toward more strategic CSR approaches. Through an in-depth study of a single professional soccer case in Belgium, the drivers of CSE and their relation to strategic CSR development and implementation were explored. The findings indicate the importance of having an intrapreneur, an enabling organization, and, to some extent, stakeholder alliances. Challenges, however, arise at the level of organizational culture and aiming for shared value creation.

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The Importance of the Leaders’ and Coaches’ Motivating Style for Sports Club Members’ Motivation to Participate in Organized Sports: Study of Trickle-Down Effects

Tom De Clerck, Annick Willem, Sofie Morbée, Delfien Van Dyck, and Leen Haerens

A considerable amount of research based on self-determination theory has provided evidence for the pivotal role of the coaches’ motivating style in predicting sports club members’ motivation to participate in organized sports. This study also investigated the importance of the sports club leaders’ motivating style for members’ motivation. Specifically, it focused on the relation between the leaders’ motivating style and members’ motivation via the coaches’ motivating style (i.e., trickle-down effect), hereby relying on the perceptions of sports club members (N = 210). Results pointed to the existence of a trickle-down effect, showing that the leaders’ motivating style was reflected in the coaches’ motivating style, which in turn related positively to members’ autonomous motivation and negatively to members’ amotivation. This study provides a proof of principle of the trickle-down effect in sports clubs, urging researchers to further explore this effect in the sports context.