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George B. Cunningham

In this paper, from the Dr. Earle F. Zeigler Award Lecture presented in Austin, Texas, the author proposes that all persons have an obligation to ensure sport is inclusive and socially just. Works from a variety of disciplines, including religion, sociology, and social psychology, support the thesis. The author calls for collective action among sport management academicians, coalesced around teaching, research, and service to promote change. The final sections address potential counter narratives and provide an overview of the outcomes associated with an inclusive and socially just sport environment.

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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to understand (a) how participants conceptualized lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) inclusiveness in their athletic departments, (b) the antecedents of such workplace environments, and (c) the outcomes associated with inclusion. To do so, the author conducted a collective case study of two college athletic departments located in the U.S. Northeast. Data sources included individual interviews with coaches and administrators (n = 17), a reflexive journal, websites, university materials, and external publications. Participants described the athletic departments as characterized by community and cohesion, respect and inclusion, and success oriented. Various antecedents contributed to these workplace environments, including those at the individual level, leader behaviors, inclusive organizational policies, and macro-level influences. Finally, while some negative outcomes were identified, LGBT inclusion was predominantly associated with a host of positive outcomes for the employees, athletes, and organizations as a whole.

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George B. Cunningham

Previous research on diversity has been criticized for failing to include intervening and process variables. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the influence of two intervening variables, perceived group diversity and a common in-group identity, on the relationship between group diversity and group outcomes. Data were collected from 45 track-and-field coaching staffs (N = 175 participants). Hierarchical-regression analysis revealed that actual diversity was positively related to perceptions of such differences, and, in turn, perceptions of diversity were related to a common in-group identity. Finally, a common in-group identity was negatively related to organizational turnover intentions of the group and positively related to two measures of group effectiveness. Theoretical contributions and implications for diverse groups are discussed.

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George B Cunningham

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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of demographic dissimilarity from others on subsequent perceptions of differences and affective reactions toward physical activity classes. Students (N = 384) from a large southern university participated in the study. Structural equation modeling indicated that actual demographic dissimilarity from others in the class was positively related to perceptions of such differences. In addition, perceived demographic dissimilarity was positively associated with perceived deep-level differences (i.e., differences based on values, attitudes, and personality), which in turn negatively impacted affective reactions toward the class. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical contributions and implications for teaching physical activity classes.

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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to examine the diversity-related change process a university athletic department was undertaking. A comprehensive model was developed by drawing from full integration theory and institutional theory. Following an organizational diagnosis perspective, data were collected through semistructured interviews, internal documents from the athletic department and university culture centers, associated websites, and press releases. Results indicate that political, functional, and social pressures for change influenced the implementation of various diversity initiatives. Despite these efforts, two primary groups of factors served to impede the progress: organizational factors, in the form of top management support and systemic integration, and perceptual processes, in the form of social processes and utility. Results suggest that for diversity-related change to be successful, it is important to consider how diversity impacts the entire sport organization, internal and external stakeholders’ perceptions, and the meaningful influence of organizational factors.

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George B. Cunningham

The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence, antecedents, and outcomes of diversity training in intercollegiate athletics. Data were collected from senior level administrators and aggregated to the department level for NCAA Division I (n = 239), Division II (n = 205), and Division III (n = 231) athletic departments. Only 53% of the athletic departments offered training. Logistic regression indicated that gender diversity, sexual orientation diversity, divisional affiliation, and the presence of a proactive diversity culture were all predictive of whether the department offered training. Additional analysis indicated that sensitivity to individual needs and understanding different cultures were the topics most covered in the training. Finally, the motivation for training (either compliance- or effectiveness-based) and the degree to which the training was systematically integrated were predictive of transfer of training, with the latter variable holding the strongest association. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

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Melanie Sartore and George B. Cunningham

The purpose of the current study was to explore how a relatively overlooked population of sport-related professionals, female faculty members in health and kinesiology departments in the United States, have interpreted and navigated the cultural fields of gender, sport, and education. Employing qualitative methodology and coupling Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity with Bourdieu’s concepts of practice, habitus, field, capital, and agency, ten female faculty members from two health and kinesiology departments discussed sport, in relation to gender, as being both empowering and limiting during their respective lifetimes. Despite these two very different effects, gender, sport and sport participation were significant in shaping these women, both personally and professionally. The implications of the findings and suggestions for future works are provided.

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George B. Cunningham and Nicole Melton

In drawing from Herek’s (2007, 2009) sexual stigma and prejudice theory, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among prejudice toward sexual minority coaches, religious fundamentalism, sexism, and sexual prejudice and to determine whether race affected these relationships. The authors collected data from 238 parents. Results indicated that Asians expressed greater sexual prejudice than Latinos and Whites, while African Americans expressed more religious fundamentalism than did Whites. There were also differences in the associations among the variables. For African Americans, sexism held the strongest association with prejudice toward sexual minority coaches. While for Asians and Whites, religious fundamentalism held the strongest association, contact with lesbian and gay friends was a significant predictor of prejudice for Asians, but not for the other groups. For Latinos, both religious fundamentalism and sexism were associated with sexual prejudice. The authors discuss the results in terms of theoretical and practical implications.

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George B. Cunningham and Michael Sagas

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of age, ethnic, and organizational tenure diversity on occupational commitment and occupational turnover intent among coaching staffs. Data were gathered via questionnaire from coaches in 48 NCAA Division IA football coaching staffs (235 coaches). Hierarchical regression analyses, controlling for the success of the team and the number of respondents per team, indicated that the block of diversity variables accounted for 18% (p < .05) of the variance in occupational commitment and 16% (p < .05) of the variance in occupational turnover intentions. Tenure and ethnic diversity were significant predictors in both analyses, although age diversity was not. Implications are discussed in relation to the complexity of diversity and strategies to mitigate the negative effects of group diversity on group-level outcomes.