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Mathew Dowling and Marvin Washington

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.

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Mathew Dowling and Jimmy Smith

This investigation examined how Own the Podium (OTP) has contributed to the ongoing development of highperformance sport in Canada. In adopting an institutional work perspective, we contend that OTP’s continuance has not been the sole product of Canada’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games or lobbying efforts to secure additional funding. Rather, OTP’s permanence can also be explained as the by-product of the activities and actions of OTP itself and its supporting stakeholders to embed and institutionalize both the organization specifically and high-performance sport more generally in the Canadian sport landscape. In short, OTP’s continued existence can, in part, be explained by ongoing institutional work. To support our contentions, we draw on and analyze documentation that was either produced by, or significant to the development of, OTP. Our analysis identifies a number of OTP-related practices (e.g., tiering, hiring of high-performance advisors, and the creation and support of new high-performance sport programs) that have further institutionalized OTP and the norms, routines, and practices associated with high-performance sport. More broadly, our investigation draws attention to the importance of individual and collective actors in shaping institutional settings in sport.

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Mathew Dowling, Becca Leopkey and Lee Smith

This article examines the current state of sport governance research within the field of sport management. In adopting Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, a scoping review was conducted involving a comprehensive search of all published literature between 1980 and 2016. The process involved searching four electronic databases and a manual search of sport management journals. The search identified (N = 243) journal articles that examined sport governance–related issues. Findings are presented as a frequency and thematic analysis. The frequency analysis reveals a notable increase in sport governance research in recent years with a large number of nonempirical studies focused on the not-for-profit sector. The thematic analysis draws upon and extends Henry and Lee’s three notions of governance and identifies sport governance–related topics, research contexts, and social issues. Findings indicate that all three forms of governance (organizational, systemic, and political) have contributed to our understanding of sport governance, but more empirical and theoretically driven research is needed.