This investigation examined how a network of knowledge-based professionals—the Canadian Sport for Life Leadership Team (CS4LLT)—as a newly emerging organizational form was able to influence the Canadian sport policy and governance process in an attempt to reshape Canadian sport. The analysis draws upon the epistemic community approach (Haas, 1992; Haas & Adler, 1992) and empirical data collected as part of an in-depth case study examination into the leadership team and senior Sport Canada officials. The findings support the notion that the CS4LLT, as a network of knowledge-based professionals with legitimated and authoritative and policy-relevant expertise (epistemic community), was able to influence the Canadian sport policy process through (i) influencing key governmental actors by (re)framing policy-relevant issues and (ii) establishing knowledge/truth claims surrounding athlete development, which, in turn, enabled direct and indirect involvement in and influence over the sport policy renewal process. More broadly, the study draws attention to the potential role and importance of knowledge-based professional networks as a fluid, dynamic, and responsive approach to organizing and managing sport that can reframe policy debates, insert ideas, and enable policy learning.
Calvin Nite and Marvin Washington
The effective management of innovation is important for sport organizations seeking to maintain dominance within their respective fields. However, innovation can be problematic as it threatens to alter institutional arrangements. This study examined how technological innovation impacted institutional arrangements within U.S. intercollegiate athletics. Adopting the institutional work framework, we studied the emergence of television and the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) struggle to maintain centralized control of television regulations. We drew from historical data that discussed the NCAA’s regulation of television from the 1940s until the mid-1980s. We found that disparate perceptions of the impact of live televising of college football games and the NCAA’s protracted regulations resulted in tensions among its members. This led to large universities forming strategic alliances and openly defying NCAA regulations. The tensions culminated when universities sued the NCAA in a case that was ultimately ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court. This resulted in substantial institutional change that saw the NCAA losing regulative authority of college football television contracts. The findings of this study have implications beyond the context of U.S. intercollegiate athletics.
Richard Wolfe and Marvin Washington
Mathew Dowling, Spencer Harris, and Marvin Washington
There are fewer cases of such blatant acts to defy and subsequent heroic efforts to rearrange institutional norms than the Russian doping scandal. In adopting a neo-institutional perspective, the authors theorize the scandal as a case of attempted but failed institutional disruption. More specifically, the authors draw upon the institutional change literature and the institutional work perspective to explain the key events surrounding actors’ response to the scandal. The analysis utilized Gioia’s methodological approach to examine secondary empirical data. Findings reveal how stakeholders circumvented traditional governance structures in an attempt to disrupt institutional arrangements, but despite this, much of the preexisting institutional infrastructure has remained intact. The authors explain this outcome, in part, as a consequence of the counter-institutional work of key governing agencies and other actors to maintain the status quo within international sport.
Marvin Washington and Richard Wolfe
Marvin Washington and Marc J. Ventresca
The prominence of collegiate athletics in amateur athletics is a historically specific outcome. Research in institutional theory is extended by developing an institutional-conflict-based approach to studying institutional changes of U.S. collegiate athletics. Available secondary sources and extensive original data demonstrate how the NCAA came to dominate the governance structure of U.S. amateur basketball. Discourse about the NCAA came to represent the dominant discourse in amateur basketball, and colleges and universities eliminated the noncolleges and nonuniversities from their play schedules. The NCAA developed a set of institutional strategies aimed at increasing its power in U.S. basketball. An institutional-conflict-based approach is useful for analyzing changes in the institutional structure of sports and demonstrates how governance systems and institutional conflicts impact organizational actions. Sport policy makers and managers should consider the historical context and institutional environment of their sport when making decisions.
Brian P. Soebbing and Marvin Washington
If the team changes the coach, does the team’s performance change? From the literature on leadership succession and organizational performance, three perspectives have emerged that seek to answer this question: common sense, vicious cycle, and ritual scapegoat. We extend these leadership perspectives by drawing on organizational theory to explain leadership succession and organizational performance in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division Football Bowl Subdivision football. We develop a model and use the Arellano and Bond (1991) linear dynamic panel data estimator to examine this relationship from the 1950–1951 season to the 2008–2009 season. Our results show that organizational performance decreases initially following a leadership change. However, as a coach’s tenure increases at the university, organizational performance improves. This offers some support for vicious cycle theory and suggests that sport managers should do a better job of managing performance expectations following a coaching change as our results show that coaching changes lead to a drop in performance.
Jonathon R. Edwards and Marvin Washington
National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I schools compete with the Canadian Hockey League for top Canadian youth minor hockey players (ages 14–18). To address the challenges of adhering to NCAA’s eligibility and recruitment regulations, the NCAA commissioners created College Hockey Inc. (CHI). One challenge facing new institutions such as CHI is establishing legitimacy as a means of penetrating a crowded organizational field. In this paper we examine what forces, actions, and events contributed to the creation of CHI and what forces, actions, or events contribute to maintaining CHI’s relevance in their attempt to leverage NCAA Division I hockey with Canadian players and parents. Educational Opportunities, Student Life Experiences, Player Development, and Professional Hockey Opportunities were found to be discursive strategies used by CHI to gain pragmatic legitimacy and maintain the institution. Exploration of these strategies makes a number of practical and theoretical contributions to the field of sport management.
Daniel S. Mason, Marvin Washington, and Ernest A.N. Buist
Status and reputation have become increasingly important to cities seeking to differentiate themselves in a competitive global marketplace; sports events, franchises, and infrastructure have become a critical means to contest this. This article takes a grounded theory approach and develops a series of propositions on the basis of a single case study, making several important contributions to the literature. Although others have argued for an affiliation effect, this study sheds new light on how the affiliation mechanism works by including both positive and negative affiliations. In doing so, we reveal how cities are actively managed, how sports facilities emerge as status signals on the policy agenda of entrepreneurial cities, and how notions of status are articulated and mobilized by managers.
Jonathan Robertson, Mathew Dowling, Marvin Washington, Becca Leopkey, Dana Lee Ellis, and Lee Smith
Institutional theory has generated considerable insight into fundamental issues within sport. This study seeks to advance Washington and Patterson’s review by providing an empirical review of institutional theory in sport. We follow Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping review protocol to identify 188 sport-related institutional studies between 1979 and 2019. Our review provides evidence regarding the state of institutional scholarship within sport via an analysis of authorship, year, journal, methodology, method, study population, and use of institutional constructs (legitimacy, isomorphism, change, logics, fields, and work). Rather than a hostile takeover or a joint venture proposed in Washington and Patterson’s review, the relationship between fields is more aptly described as a diffusion of ideas. By developing an empirical review of institutional studies in sport, we hope to expedite the diffusion of ideas between the two fields and work toward realizing the collective benefits any future joint venture may bring.