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Jules Woolf and Jess C. Dixon

Decision making is a crucial skill for sport management students to develop. However, we are all subject to cognitive biases that may influence our decision making. Groups are often offered as a remedy to address individual cognitive biases, the maxim being that two, or more, heads are better than one. Nevertheless, group dynamics may also accentuate cognitive biases resulting in suboptimal decision making. In this teaching simulation, students are tasked with selecting the best candidate to hire for a fictional sport organization. The simulation was designed using the hidden profile condition, such that students rarely identify the optimal candidate, when the task is performed either individually or in a group. Even when the full candidate profiles are revealed, a sizeable minority is still unable to identify the best candidate. This study explains the theoretical reasoning for these occurrences and provides a detailed account of the construction of the simulation, along with details on how to implement and debrief the exercise with students.

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Jacqueline L. Beres and Jess C. Dixon

Mentoring has typically been studied in business environments, with fewer studies focusing on academic contexts and even fewer in the field of sport management. This study examined the mentoring relationships, and specifically the mentoring functions that occurred among sport management doctoral dissertation advisors (mentors) and their doctoral students (protégés). Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with 13 individuals. Participants collectively described examples of all of Kram’s (1988) mentoring functions, with coaching, counseling, and exposure and visibility cited most frequently. Fewer instances of protection and direct sponsorship were mentioned, although there was evidence of considerable indirect sponsorship. Protégés provided more examples of role modeling as compared with their mentors, and the entire process of completing a doctoral degree can be viewed as a challenging assignment. A discussion of these findings within the context of the relevant previous academic literature and suggestions for future research are also provided.

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Jess C. Dixon, Laura Chittle, and Sean Horton

The relative age effect (RAE) has become a well-studied consequence of organizations utilizing a cutoff date to establish age cohorts. Within this case study, students will explore and learn how to perform various statistical analyses (i.e., chi-square, effect sizes, standardized residuals) to determine whether the RAE exists among those who competed in the 2011 and 2012 Little League World Series (LLWS). Students will learn about the mission and history of Little League Baseball (LLB) and discuss potential changes and/or strategies that could be used by the organization to make the LLWS more inclusive. Furthermore, students can use the knowledge gained from this case study to critically analyze the current status of various other sport organizations to help develop potential strategies to ensure fairness and equality for all participating athletes.

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Zachary C.T. Evans, Jess C. Dixon, and Terry Eddy

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Canadian Football League (CFL) commissioner Randy Ambrosie to cancel the League’s 2020 season, and given CFL teams’ financial dependence on gate and game-day revenues, the League had suffered substantial financial losses. The pandemic also caused the Xtreme Football League (XFL) to fold five games into its 2020 season; however, the XFL was purchased by an ownership group led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, with plans to resume play in 2022. Shortly thereafter, the CFL and XFL jointly announced that they would explore the possibility of partnering to grow the game of football and their respective leagues. This case challenges students to determine the best option for the CFL and commissioner Ambrosie moving forward by completing a Porter’s value chain analysis for both leagues. This analysis will help students to make an informed, evidence-based decision about how well the two leagues align with one another. While there are several benefits to a potential partnership, there are also challenges that must be overcome if some type of partnership with the XFL is to be considered.

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Michael L. Naraine, Jess C. Dixon, and Candice Horton

This case study explores the potential purchase of the Forzani Group Limited by the Canadian Tire Corporation. Students take on the role of Sara Brown, a new member of Canadian Tire’s board of directors. With an emergency meeting scheduled for the following morning to decide the fate of the proposed acquisition, Brown has been called upon to provide input to the board given her aptitude for corporate acquisitions and mergers. The case profiles both companies and details the state of the retail sport industry in Canada. Notably, there is emphasis on company product offerings (e.g., merchandise), financials (e.g., balance sheets), and goodwill (e.g., charities) to provide students with pertinent information to develop their argument(s) for and/or against the acquisition. Primary learning objectives include engaging in environmental scanning exercises (e.g., SWOT analyses) and evaluating market forces present in the retail sporting goods industry.

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Frederik Ehlen, Jess C. Dixon, and Todd M. Loughead

Richard Peddie is the former president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto Football Club, among other assets. In this interview, Peddie reflects on his career, which started in the consumer packaged goods industry and concluded with leading one of the most successful sport organizations in the world. While emphasizing the importance of leadership skills, he advocates meritocracy, and the application of vision and values and strategic planning to increase enterprise value. Sport management students, scholars, and practitioners can benefit from the experiences and insights that Peddie openly shares in this interview.

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Erin P. Jackson, Stefania Ciulla, Frederik Ehlen, Ayobami Ogunlana, and Jess C. Dixon

In August of 2015, Felix Farmer received notice that he would be inheriting a large sum of money from his great-uncle’s will. Farmer is contemplating investing $50,000 CAD ($38,251 USD) of his inheritance in the parent company of his favorite hockey brand, Bauer. Performance Sports Group (PSG) is a leading manufacturer in the global sporting goods industry that is publicly traded on both the Toronto and New York Stock exchanges, and the parent of such highly successful brands as Bauer and Easton. This case study challenges students to calculate financial ratios, apply various other financial analyses to understand the financial performance of PSG, and complete a Porter’s (2008) Five Forces industry analysis as a means of deciding whether Farmer should invest a portion of his inheritance with PSG.

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Jules Woolf, Jess C. Dixon, B. Christine Green, and Patrick J. Hill

Christiaan Jacobs is the new Dean of Student Affairs at the University of South Central Ontario, which puts him in charge of the Department of Athletics and Recreation. Jacobs has learned that the hypercompetitive environment established by the athletic director, Nathan Scott, has been causing friction in many areas of the department, potentially resulting in the resignation of several long-term employees. As part of an organizational audit, he interviewed many employees and had them complete the Competing Values Framework questionnaire, the results of which were troubling. How should Jacobs lead this department forward and can he count on Scott to be supportive of the direction that he wants it to go? The purpose of this case is to introduce students to the importance of organizational culture and challenges to organizational change. Students will learn about the Competing Values Framework, change management, and have the opportunity to analyze qualitative and quantitative data in formulating responses to the case-guiding questions. This decision-focused case is suitable for use with upper division undergraduate and graduate sport management students in courses such as Organizational Behavior, Strategic Management, Collegiate Athletics Administration, and Critical Issues in Sport.

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Justin Peters, Jared Garon, Dale A. Bellaire, Shaun Smith, Derek Marshall, and Jess C. Dixon

This case is based on the 2020 merger between Callaway Golf Company, a leader in the golf equipment and apparel industry, and Topgolf Entertainment Group, the top entertainment brand in the golf industry. Mergers have been known to provide greater efficiency and profitability, but they can also initiate a clash of corporate cultures, creating conflict which may result in a loss of employee satisfaction and brand equity. Along with reviewing the industry and potential outcomes, students will analyze the viability of this merger by conducting a value chain analysis of both companies to look for product alignment. This decision-based case asks students to play the role of Callaway Golf board member Sophia Berckman, who is preparing to make a statement on the prospective merger of the two companies at an emergency board meeting. As such, students will be expected to formulate a recommendation to the board of directors on whether this is a wise business decision using the information provided.

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Ketra Armstrong, George B. Cunningham, Jess C. Dixon, and Anita Moorman

Edited by Carol A. Barr