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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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Jules Woolf, Rajiv N. Rimal and Pooja Sripad

Understanding what influences adolescent athletes is important for managers designing anti-doping initiatives. It is commonly assumed that elite athletes who dope influence adolescent athletes to similarly dope. Using the theory of normative social behavior, the effect of norms on adolescent athletes’ intentions to use steroids was examined. The social distance between respondents and the source of normative information was systematically varied to include four separate levels (friends, teammates, college athletes, professional athletes). Data were collected from 404 male adolescent athletes. Participants indicated their intentions to use steroids and their perceptions of descriptive and injunctive norms of referent others. Descriptive and injunctive norms were predictive of intentions to use steroids with the magnitude of explained variance greater with more proximal referents. Adolescent athletes’ intentions to use steroids are influenced by social norms. Moreover, the social distance of referents is consequential. Interventions strategies should incorporate teammates and friends, rather than professional athletes.

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Jules Woolf, Bob Heere and Matthew Walker

Given the ubiquity of charitable organizations and the events used to solicit donations for a cause, many charity-based organizations are continually looking for ways to expand their fundraising efforts. In this quest, many have added endurance sport events to their fundraising portfolios. Anecdotally, we know that building long-term and meaningful relationships with current (and potential) donors is critical for a nonprofit organization’s success. However, there is a paucity of research regarding whether these charity sport events serve as relationship-building mechanisms (i.e., ‘brandfests’) to assist in developing attachments to the charity. The purpose of this mixed-methods investigation was to explore to what extent a charity sport event served as a brandfest to foster a sense of identity with the charity. For this particular case study, the charity event had little effect on participants’ relationship with the charity.

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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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Jules Woolf, Brennan K. Berg, Brianna L. Newland and B. Christine Green

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a rapidly growing combat sport with unique development procedures unlike most traditional sports. In this study the development processes at an exemplar MMA gym were examined. Institutional work theory was used to understand how and why the sport is being developed in this setting. The results provide a microlevel account of the processes and operation of the sport as it develops, and indicate that traditional sport development models may not adequately represent all sports. Subcultural values reflecting what it takes to be a fighter along with a fighter’s duty to the gym influence recruitment, retention, and transition strategies of athletes. Two forms of institutional work, refinement and barrier work, were identified as simultaneously aiding and hindering the development of the sport. Along with furthering institutional theory research, this study contributes to the discourse on alternative ways of sport development for MMA and emergent sports.