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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 Cunningham and Kimberly Mahoney

This study examined the impact of organizational commitment and valence on training motivation and, in turn, the impact of training motivation on posttraining self-efficacy. Data were collected from 264 part-time university athletic department employees both prior to and following a mandatory training session. Structural equation modeling indicated that organizational commitment (b = .53, p < .001) and valence (b = .26, p < .001) held positive associations with training motivation, accounting for 45% of the variance. Additionally, training motivation held a significant association with posttraining self-efficacy (b = .37, p < .001), accounting for 13% of the variance. The results demonstrate (a) salient antecedents of training motivation, and (b) the importance of training motivation in realizing training outcomes within the context of university athletic departments.

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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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Melanie Sartore and George Cunningham

The purpose of this inquiry was to explore the meanings and organizational implications of lesbianism and the lesbian label within the sport organization context. Fourteen faculty members from two health and kinesiology departments were asked how they, their colleagues, and their departments defined, responded to, coped with, and managed the lesbian label. First and foremost, the words of these faculty members identify the lesbian label as a component of a lesbian stigma at both the individual and departmental levels and within the field of health and kinesiology as a whole. The consequences of the stigma, however, varied by department suggesting the importance of departmental culture and atmosphere. Implications of these findings, as they pertain to sport managers, are discussed.

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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.