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Matthew Katz and Bob Heere

The authors explore the formation of a new brand community to increase our understanding of the development of particular social networks within this overall new community. An ethnographic study was conducted among four tailgating groups of a new college team during its inaugural season. The method was chosen to gain insight into how individual consumers interacted with each other and how these early interactions contributed to the development of a brand community. To examine these interactions, social network theory was used to examine the relationships between the individuals within a larger group setting. Adopting this theoretical approach allowed the authors to observe that newly created groups follow the principles of scale-free networks, where some consumers act as leaders and others as followers. The implications for both highly committed leaders and noncommittal followers within each social network are discussed.

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Matthew Katz and Bob Heere

The authors examined the longitudinal development of team identification among stakeholders of a newly formed intercollegiate football team to empirically measure the impact of a new football team on university identification. Using a multidimensional approach to identification, data were collected over a 3-year period and analyzed using growth curve analysis to determine the changes and trajectories of the individual dimensions of identification related to both the new football team and the larger university. Conditional growth models were used to determine the percentage of change in university identification explained by changes in team identification—to test whether new team identification drives identification with the larger university. The presented findings allow for an improved understanding of the psychological impact of a new football team for the university community by using growth curve analysis, which provides a more detailed and accurate empirical examination of identification, rather than traditional two-wave cross-lagged designs. Implications of the longitudinal nature of identification and the psychological value of a new football team for the university are discussed.

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Matthew Katz, Thomas A. Baker III and Hui Du

In this brand community analysis, the authors utilized both the social identity approach and network theory to examine the multiple identities and patterns of interactions among members of an official soccer supporters club. Based on the Multiple In-Group Identity Framework and the brand community triad, the authors differentiated between team and supporter club identity to explore how each affects consumption behaviors. Furthermore, the authors explored the nature of fan relationships based on network principles of multiplexity and homophily as they relate to consumption and socializing ties among fan club members. They also explored the network structure of the brand community. Using both network theory and network methodologies, the authors examined how the multiple identities and many relationships within the brand community affect the consumption behaviors of fan club members. Theoretical and practical implications were considered as they relate to sport consumer behavior and sport marketing.

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Matthew Katz, Nefertiti A. Walker and Lauren C. Hindman

The purpose of this study is to examine and compare the informal networks of both senior woman administrators (SWAs) and athletic directors (ADs) within National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institutions. Drawing on extant literature citing the underrepresentation of women in sport leadership positions, we incorporate a network approach to build and analyze affiliation networks of SWAs and ADs. Guided by the framework of Leadership in Networks, we argue that the social structures within which ADs and SWAs operate impact opportunities for leader emergence and leadership outcomes. By comparing the AD and SWA affiliation networks, we illustrate the differences in informal networks among men and women leaders in sport, highlighting how informal networks may contribute to the lack of women in sport leadership positions. Previous scholars have long cited an “old boys’ club” as a barrier to women achieving leadership positions, but we argue these studies have largely relied on dispositional evidence rather than methodological and analytical strategies designed specifically to examine relationships and the corresponding network structures. Our results indicate that the SWA network is far less cohesive than the AD networks, and the few women in the AD networks are largely located outside the center of the affiliation networks. Implications regarding the impact of informal networks on the underrepresented nature of women in leadership positions are discussed.